Ways to save on TOMS Shoes and why I love them

Note about the TOMS charity model: I don’t give a squat about this. A better explanation is seen at the end of this post if you are interested.

I have five pairs of TOMS shoes that I wear all the time. I also bought a few pairs for family and friends.

toms4 toms3 toms2 IMG_20141023_010323

These are what I own so far (all pictured above):

  • Purple and yellow Campus Classics
  • Pink Daisy prints
  • Petal grosgrain
  • Black glitter shoes
  • Red and blue plaid pattern (Toms Exclusive)

They’re very comfortable and, so far, have not fallen apart on me yet. I also bought a few pairs for friends and family members:

  • Navy lace-ups for my husband (pictured above)
  • Red and black Campus Classics for my mom (pictured here)
  • Blue biminis for my sister, Sofia (pictured here)
  • Red canvas classics for my friend, Kamille (link to site)

In addition, I also bought shoes for my wedding next year. Our vow renewal ceremony on a beautiful white sand beach has, aside from the bride and groom, only four other guests: my parents and two siblings. Because of all the sand, high heels are out of the question. So I decided to have all of us wear TOMS shoes and still have awesome looking footwear. The pic below shows mine (gold glitter), my mom’s (red glitter), and my sister’s (pink and silver metallic). The men’s footwear have been ordered but have not arrived yet. I didn’t include them in the lists above since they won’t be used for another year.

IMG_20141023_010704

Now, on to the most important part, which I am sure most TOMS fans would appreciate! WAYS TO SAVE ON TOMS SHOES:

  • Never pay list price! Wait for a sale. And I mean a BIG sale. TOMS periodically has sales like $10 to $15 dollars off select shoes, 25% off select shoes, and 35% – 45% off stock that they need to get rid of. Just to name a few examples. They have a site, Toms Surprise Sale, that sometimes houses shoes with the older styles with huge markdowns like the recently concluded 35-45% discount. If you’re a fan, I encourage going to that page and sign-up for promotional announcements.
  • Use coupons! Sites like Retail Me Not, Groupon and Coupon.com have awesome coupon codes. The most common ones are $5 off $25 purchase, $10 off $50 purchase, and $15 off $100 purchase. Amounts could differ based on availability.
  • Take advantage of the Refer a Friend program. After signing up and buying your first pair of shoes, look at the View Accounts page. At the end are instructions for the refer a friend program, which allows you to send links via email or social media. If your friend clicks on that link and makes a purchase, he or she will get $20 off and you will get a $20 store credit after around a couple of weeks. And if you’re like me who has no close friends that like TOMS, I just referred myself. I sent the link to my husband’s email. I clicked it and purchased two pairs of shoes as him. Important note: When using the refer a friend link as a first time buyer, do NOT set up an account until after you’ve already made your purchase. If you set up an account during checkout you will lose the $20 discount. Checkout as a guest instead. As soon as you get the store credit in your original account, it will be deducted every time you make a purchase. The refer a friend program will need the first time buyer to spend at least $75. If you don’t want to spend that much, get a friend or two to shop along with you and you can just split the bill.
  • If you’re a woman with an average foot size, shop in the youth section. Shoes for kids are about $10 cheaper even at list price. The size conversion for TOMS shoes is simple: subtract two from your regular size to find out your shoe size. I’m a 7.5 women’s and a 5.5 youth’s fit me perfectly. Three of my shoes above (petal grosgrain, red and blue plaid and pink daisies) are youth sizes. There is, however, a style difference. Classic youth shoes are wider at the front and have thicker rubber soles just like my red and blue plaid and daisy prints. They’re great if you walk a lot since the children’s shoes are made to be sturdier. But if that’s not to your taste, there are youth shoe styles that share the same streamlined, slim look as the women’s shoes like my petal grosgrain, my sister’s blue biminis and all the shoes from their Wedding Collection. All the shoes I bought for my wedding are from the youth section and they look exactly like the much more expensive women’s shoes.
  • You know what’s even more awesome than the tips above? It’s combining all four! Buy a marked down shoe from the youth section using your store credit and a coupon code. There was a 25% off sale going and I had a $20 store credit with a $5-off-$25 coupon code. The red and blue plaid print pair (pictured above) was marked down from $38 to $28.50. At this time, TOMS was offering free shipping for purchases over $25. I only paid a grand total of $3.50 for a pretty pair of TOMS. Not bad, eh?
  • The last is not a discount. But if you have something like Paypal Credit, which allows you to pay for 6 months at no interest (minimum $25 monthly payments), even a $100 shopping bill is very manageable if spread over four months.
  • Note about the TOMS flag. They used to give you a drawstring bag for each shoe purchase. The size is perfect for transporting or storing your pair of shoes. The company recently discontinued these bags and give you a little flag the size of a postcard. The good thing about buying the marked down old stock is that these boxes still have the old drawstring bag! However, don’t expect to see them when buying the latest styles.

Hope that helped! Remember, do not overshop. Spend within your limits. Now go and get those shoes!

*****

On the charity model:

To reiterate what I said in a previous post, I’m not really interested in TOMS Shoes’ One for One dogma. They say that they donate one pair of shoes to a child in need when you buy a pair. A lot of TOMS Shoes are made in China. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2009, average hourly wages of factory workers in rural China is  $1.15 and $2.85 in urban areas. It’s now 2014 and TOMS claims to pay their workers a fair wage so let’s be generous and assume that their factory workers are being paid $4 per hour. Still not much. Most people in the US think of US-minimum wage amounts when they hear about fair wages so the statement can be misleading without being wrong. Even if I’m theoretically buying for two people, $48-$54 per pair of women’s shoes seem a bit steep.

Besides, I come from the Philippines and trust me, shoes are definitely important but a lot of our poor can benefit better from structures like sturdy houses — less damage and casualties during super typhoons — and more modern bathrooms in squatter areas to improve sanitation. Not shoes that are not exactly waterproof (it rains a lot in the Phils) and can be sold by the child’s parent so he or she can buy enough flip-flops for a family of four and food for 3 days. Just saying. So, charity-wise, I’d rather donate to charities like Gawad Kalinga, which builds homes for our poor for free.

But TOMS is a private business, not a non-profit charity, and businesses are there to make money so I don’t begrudge them that. In fact, I applaud them for the whole concept. Clever marketing ploy.

The point of this post is not to discredit TOMs. I’m writing this to say that I love TOMS Shoes not because of its “charity” but because I like the look and comfort of their classic slip-ons.

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