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June 6, 2007
Fun - and funds - for feet

Pink_Patch.jpgI'm an espadrille gal from waaay back, i.e., college days, when I sported pink and green ones, stripes and plaids. Uber-preppy, if you please.

However, it's hard to find those same shoes decades later. If you've been looking for a pair in the traditional sense - that is, flat, slip-ons minus the wedge - a Santa Monica company called Tom's Shoes offers a version modeled after the Argentinian "alpargatas," an espadrille with a lightweight canvas top and soft sole.

Madam Butterfly in Pavilions called to say they just got an order in. Owner Denise Masunaga says "they're cute and comfortable in solid white canvas, nautical navy canvas and a plaid picnic print."

They come in full and half sizes and retail at Madam Butterfly for $45.

I checked the line's Web site and learned that Tom's Shoes is also on a mission.

Here's the story: L.A. designer Blake Mycoskie spent three weeks in South America, in particular Argentina. While there, he noticed all the folks wearing a version of the rope-soled soles. At the time, he was about to launch a shoe company. Then, a sort of epiphany hit him.

Why not create shoes that people want and need, but can't afford? So Mycoskie called his shoes "Toms," or "shoes for tomorrow."

Denise adds that Toms Shoes will donate a pair of shoes to a child for every pair sold. And the first drop of free shoes will be to Argentina.

I tried on a pair and loved them! They're really comfortable, cute and actually more substantial than my original espadrilles. On the bottom of the shoe is a label that says "Your purchase today guarantees a child shoes for Tomorrow."

Mission accomplished.

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