Price Pondering: Toms Shoes

A few days ago, I got a request from Bestie Al to talk about the newest craze to hit her school in Oregon:  TOMS shoes.  You have probably seen them.  They seem to be the latest and greatest craze even amongst brides for their weddings, which surprises me because of their canvas looks but not so much because of how much more comfortable they must be compared to sky-high heels.  Al wanted to know what the deal was, and since she happens to be falling under their soles spell, she wanted to know if there were any similar items with lower prices.  To the research!

If you are new to the TOMS shoe brand, the original canvas shoes looked like this:

{Source} ($44)

They come in a variety of colors, and have recently come out with different textures, like lace, embroidery, and crochet.  The original shoe style was/is… well… kind of odd looking.  I still don’t quite get it.  I know it’s just the way it’s made, but I don’t know if I care for the square toe box.  They do look better in lace and different patterns and colors, but I’m still not completely sold on the look of them.

{Source} ($58)

The newest additions suit my taste a lot better.  They have recently come out with a line of sneaker-esque shoes (they call them cordones – which looks like “condoms” to me…), wedges, and ballerina flats.  I must say, they are pretty cute… but pretty expensive for a cheap girl like me.

{Source} ($74){Source} ($69){Source} ($69){Source} ($69){Source} ($79){Source} ($79)

So why are so many people all about TOMS?  It’s the mission behind the company.  To make a long inspirational story short, the creator of the company (whose name is strangely not Tom) went on a trip to Argentina and saw how many children didn’t have shoes to protect their feet.  He then came up with the TOMS company with a mission:  for every pair of shoes he sold, he would ship one to the children who needed them in another poverty-stricken country.  I can support a man with a humanity mission like that.  See, B?  Shoes DO make the world better!  I told you!  We need bigger closets now, okay?

Even with the great mission, it can be hard to afford these shoes when you have a super tight budget like many of us beginning teachers have.  So what can we do if you like the look but don’t like forking out tons of cash?  Check out these options from Sketchers and Wanted for wedges.  While they don’t come in as many colors as TOMS, they do offer the same look for less.

{Source} ($27.50){Source} ($39.95)

For the ballerina flats lovers, I like the comparable looks from Target and DSW.

{Source} ($24.99){Source} ($24.94)

And finally, if you like the look of the originals, maybe these will work for you.  They seem to be as similar as I can find (and if you can find something even better, let me know in the comments!).

{Source} ($16.99)

{Source} ($14.99)

So what do you think?  Would you rather pay the higher fee to support the idea behind the brand, or would you rather save money for the same look?  Have these types of shoes grown on you, too?  If you are interested in seeing other fashion options for less, let me know!

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