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Walk A Mile... TOMS 'One Day Without Shoes' Event Sees Record Attendance

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By Katherine Peach/Special to LAist

To most Angelenos the idea of going without shoes means missing out on the latest design, not walking barefoot to reach necessary resources such as water or medical care. Tuesday, April 5 marked the annual One Day Without Shoes event where people around the world opted to go barefoot to raise awareness and funds for the millions of children that go without shoes every day.

For the 4th annual One Day Without Shoes TOMS partnered with Whole Foods to host walks around the city to get people to take off their shoes and talk. Although the prospect of walking without shoes in places like Hollywood or Venice might bring a cringe to many faces— for good reason. Shoes prevent infection and disease, a luxury that keeps children healthy and in school. An estimated 1 million people worldwide went without shoes for the day, up from more than 250,000 people who participated last year.

The day started with 100 TOMS employees leaving the Santa Monica headquarters and taking to the streets in search of their daily coffee. At a barefoot lunch-break, the public was invited to Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood for activities, cupcakes and collection. People walked that evening barefoot for one mile in West Hollywood starting from Plummer Park to the Whole Foods at Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax. Similar walks spanned five continents.

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TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie held a closing reception during the walk at Pier 59 Studios in Santa Monica. Mycoskie announced that the event was the number one trending topic on Twitter and number four searched term on Google thanks to the dedication of those who joined the cause to keep the conversation going. In an interview before the event, he explained, going without the basic necessity "keeps your mind focused on how thankful and grateful you are for what you have and what you can do to help others."

Passing the shoe valet at the door, participants embraced the concrete for the cause. L.A. band Hands performed for the event sans shoes on a fake-grass covered stage, giving employees one more reason to celebrate all without their dancing shoes.

One Day Without Shoes video from TOMS