The 10 Toms Shoes That Shook Up The Brand

What began with a simple Argentina-inspired slip-on turned into a line ranging from killer collabs and wedges to cool kids’ kicks.

FN asks VP of design Richard Ostell about the 10 styles that took Toms into new territory.

1. Toms x Tabitha Simmons
When Blake Mycoskie was introduced to the women’s designer at Footwear News’ CEO Summit in New York, it led to this fall ’13 collaboration. It was one of Toms’ first high-fashion moments.

2. The brogue
Introduced for fall ’13, the brogue proved the brand had something fashionable to offer men as well. Though it was a more casual dress shoe, it found fans right away. Toms continues to look for ways to give the style a modern interpretation — with its own DNA, of course.

Toms Brogue shoes
A Toms suede brogue.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

3. Sneakers
In the summer of 2013, Toms turned its famous alpargata silhouette into casual lifestyle sneakers, namely the Avalon, Paseo and Del Rey. The styles added some dimension and a little bit of sportiness to the collection.

Toms lace-up sneakers
A Toms laceup sneaker.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

4. Toms x ECI
Actor Ben Affleck and his Eastern Congo Initiative partnered with Toms in 2013 on limited-edition shoes aimed at raising funds to help strengthen community building in the region. The three styles, for men and women, used materials inspired by Congolese textiles.

Toms ECI Ben Affleck Collaboration
Toms x ECI (Eastern Congo Initiative)
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

5. Desert Wedge
For fall ’12, Toms made its first foray into more feminine and fashion-driven silhouettes. This new territory for the company, which had produced largely flats, paved the way for more variance in shoe styles.

Toms Desert Wedge shoes
The Toms Desert Wedge.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

6. Kids’ alpargatas
The original Argentina-inspired alpargata debuted in 2006, but after much success with adults, Toms reinterpreted the silhouette for kids five years later. Additionally, it introduced the one-for-one idea to a new, younger audience.

Toms Kids' Shoes
Toms Kids’ alpargata.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

7. Totes & backpacks
Working with supermodel-turned-activist Christy Turlington Burns’ Every Mother Counts advocacy group, Toms took on safe birth in places such as India, Haiti and Tanzania, among others. The totes and backpacks raised awareness and celebrated maternal health.

Toms Every Mother Counts Bags
Toms x Every Mother Counts tote & backpack.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

8. Toms x Keith Haring
In June, Toms will bring to life the work of Haring, the late purpose-driven artist known for his expression of New York street culture in the 1980s.

Toms Keith Haring Collection
Toms x Keith Haring collaboration.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

9. Toms x Charlize Theron
With several collaborations already under their belt, the company and actress will release in July the latest installment, which features the logo of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project on the uppers. The goal is to help keep African youth safe from HIV/AIDS.

Toms Charlize Theron Collaboration
Toms x Charlize Theron.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

10. Toms x Jonathan Adler
A potter and designer known for his use of vibrant colors — and creations both wild and whimsical — Adler partnered with Toms in 2013 on a lighthearted, print-driven collection of shoes and eyewear.

Toms Jonathan Adler Collection
Toms x Jonathan Adler collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

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