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.
For the music lover – big ‘ol headphones. Totally customizable, especially if you make them yourself! From Sole Reflections.
Perfect for the boho chick comes these aztec arrow TOMS from Shandke.
If you’re the romantic type – think bubble baths and a major Jane Austen collection, we think you might like this gorgeously updated white pair. From R to the Second Power.
The Vivid Color would love to put your favorite bible quote on these super vibrant feather TOMS.
Artistic Soles makes tons of customizable TOMS for different universities and sports teams. A personal favorite? Her amazing UAB slipons.
Morgans Disguise makes her super fun galaxy designs on Converse, Vans, Keds and TOMS. But we think you know our preference.
Hand painted Banksy graffiti. For the artsy-fartsy, does it get much better? From Shoe Trip.
A cause on a cause – something we can really get behind. From Something From the Sun.
The girlie-girl who still loves her Disney classics will have a joyous time perusing the work of Painted Lace Studios.
If the chevron trend is nowhere near over in your eyes, you’re sure to love Paper Hearts Apparel‘s line of looks.
Here at Care2, we don’t judge. So whether these are for your teenage daughter or, um, you… we think they’re super cute! From Elizabeth Picardi.
We can’t promise that these Wicked themed shoes will have you defying gravity, but they are super cute and comfy, which sounds pretty good to us! From X Brooke MX.
Whether you want them for your actual ceremony, for relief at the reception or solely for the honeymoon, these “just married” TOMS are gorgeous, sweet and an awesome momento from an awesome day. From Capslock Tuesday.
These One Tree Hill TOMS are inspired from a painting the character Peyton made and we think they’d make a perfect gift for your best friend, child, or love of your life. From Uniquely Soled Design.