Discover and share stories

of adventure, connection, and change making.

4 people think this is good

The most socially conscious shoemakers?

George Hiley

TOMS, soleRebels and Nisolo all aim to be social change agents, but whose business model is the most effective?

Most of you are familiar with the TOMS Shoes One for One business model: a promise that for every pair of TOMS shoes you buy, a free pair will be given to a child in need.

We love TOMS, like the millions of do-good fashionistas of the USA. But... is TOMS creating a valuable social impact or is this just a charity marketing ploy? Importantly, what are the alternatives?

Continue to



  1. {{}}
  1. {{fields.video_link.url}}

Ready to post! You’ve uploaded the maximum number of images.

Your video is ready to post!

Oops! Nice pic, but it’s just not our (file) type. Please try uploading a .jpg or .png image.

Well, this is embarrassing. Something went wrong when posting your comment. Care to try again?

That image is too large. Maximum size is 6MB.

Please enter a valid URL from YouTube or Vimeo.

Embedding has been disabled for this video.


Posting comment...

    • George Hiley

      Totally awesome! Thanks for the link. Indeed, Mohinders are another great example of an organisation building a business with an integrated social impact. Tastes good huh.

      My knowledge of shoe makers in India (Mohinders works with artisans in Kolkata) is not overly positive, due to the influx of cheap mass manufacturing, these generations old artisans are being pushed out of the market.

      I believe it is important to be pragmatic about industry and trades, that some trades will ultimately be overcome by better technology and more efficient solutions. That's fine. It is also fine, to redraw the playing field and see where we can better utilise. It's a balance.

      In the situation of footwear we have two major problems, a) an amazing, generations-old trade / craft is being lost (particularly in India) and b) it is being replaced with a product (eg. cheap foam or plastic thongs) that is grossly inferior and brings a cloud of negative social implications to boot.

      Bring on new business models and social enterprises. We can solve these real problems (without charity).

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        What do you think are the most creative business models out there that you've seen?