If you haven’t heard of TOMS, you’ve really been missing out. The insanely comfy slip-ons were brought to life in 2006, after Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina and met many children who were without shoes and constantly barefoot. Aiming to make a difference, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that for every pair of purchased shoes would also donate a pair to a child in need. A pair for a pair, if you will. It only took a year for Blake to return to Argentina with 10,000 pairs of shoes in tow. The company has grown leaps and bounds over the past 7 years, adding in eyewear and several different styles of shoes including trends for women and men, youth and baby.
Up until fairly recently, TOMS prided itself on its simple design. The comfy flats are slip-ons, made in many colors and textures. But that was about it. Heavily designed shoes were rare (and special edition) and thusly the shoes themselves probably didn’t endear themselves much to the flashier, more artsy types who like louder stuff. Me included! Someone (and there’s no real way to know who started this craze) started hand painting designs on basic TOMS and selling them online. It grew slowly but surely, and you can now find hundreds of various designs both on Etsy and elsewhere online. Everything from bridal inspired design to college athletics to cute birds or flowers can be found painted on a pair of TOMS. They’re all the rage! And it seems the company took notice, since they recently launched a limited edition artist series that features hand done designs as well, though the pickings are pretty slim.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite handpainted designs from the web, in hopes that you might get inspired to create your own custom TOMS! A little fabric paint and gentle care (don’t wear ‘em out in the rain, duh!) will have you looking stylish and individual in no time.
Perfect for the girlie girl – “Crazy Daisy”, customizable colors from Purple Lizard Studios.
Get inspired to shoutout your hometown with this awesome “welcome to Raleighwood” (that’s Raleigh, NC) pair. From The Matt Butler.
I can totally validate the awesomeness of these sparrow and palm tree slip-ons (with customizable quote on the inner sides) because I bought them for myself last year on my birthday. From B Street Shoes.