TOMS Shoes began their One for One movement in 2006. With one million pairs of shoes donated as of Sept. 2010, the idea seems to have caught on in more ways than one. Other companies are now copying their business model and style of the shoes themselves.
In Sept. 2010, shoe giant Sketchers launched Bobs. This line of footwear features shoes nearly identical to TOMS, even the logo is a near match. With the tag line of “Helping the world,” Bobs borrowed the TOMS business model as well. For every pair of Bobs purchased Sketchers donates a pair to a child in need.
Rocket Dog introduced several shoes in their current fall line in a similar style to both TOMS and Bobs. The “Classics” have a close cousin in Rocket Dog’s “Clover” and “Dreamboat” shoes. Their “Walnut Terry Corduroy” boots are quite similar to TOMS’ “Botas.” Bobs was not exempt from this. Their “Ballerina,” a flat with elastic cris-crossing the top of the foot, has its own look-alike in Rocket Dog’s “Keeper Club” flat.
Soda Shoes has also jumped on the trend and is carrying a shoe called “Object.” There are several versions of “Object”: the original, “S” and “GS.” Their similarity to the TOMS “Classics” is striking. The “S” is a line of corduroy shoes, “GS” is a glitterly option and the original is available in patterned and solid colors.
While Sketchers copied the model of donating shoes, Rocket Dog and Soda have not.
These companies are not the only ones jumping on the TOMS bandwagon. Shoes that look similar to “Classics” are slipping onto feet everywhere.
“Personally I think TOMS already has a great thing going,” Gabby Garcia from Active Ride Shop, where TOMS are sold, said. “People who buy from them will probably keep buying TOMS versus going over to Bobs.”
The mission behind TOMS seems to be keeping their loyal customers coming back.
“I think people that are in it more so for the heart will stay. TOMS is more of a big organization where they do events whereas Bobs is just a line from Sketchers,” Garcia said. “I like both of them, they are all for a good cause, but I think TOMS is organized better. I think the whole cause behind it makes people buy them more than if there was nothing behind it”.
A testament to the popularity of TOMS is the rate at which they are featured in mainstream media. Their shoes and new line of sunglasses have been in People, Men’s Journal, USA Today, Marie Claire, Antenna Magazine, GQ, Teen Vogue, Bon Appétit blog and Glamour, all within the past five months.