TOMS Discovers That Gun Control Doesn’t Sell Shoes

By Joe Bartozzi

TOMS Shoes is getting a lesson in Business 101. The anti-gun corporate virtue signaling they have been deeply entrenched in doesn’t pay the bills.

According to recent news, the Los Angeles-based company’s creditors are taking over TOMS in exchange for restructuring its debt. In a letter to employees, TOMS CEO, Jim Alling apparently shared the news that the deal will help the company deal with a $300 million loan due next year and will mean a new $35 million investment in the company from the new owners.

Two Left Feet

Last year at this time, TOMS was making news for its new gun control campaign, centered on getting Congress to approve flawed Universal Background Check legislation.

In addition to direct lobbying, the campaign also involved a $5 million corporate contribution to gun control advocacy groups, a cross-country tour culminating in a rally and efforts to promote grassroots lobbying among customers.

One year later, we know that enough members of Congress were brave enough to reject the emotionally-charged legislation, which would have had no effect on criminal misuse of firearms.

TOMS campaign failed. Customers didn’t run out to buy TOMS products in response to their corporate support for gun control. Unfortunately for TOMS, the business is now struggling.

It’s easy to see why any company, especially one based on social activism like TOMS, would want to weigh in on issues in our country and be seen as a virtuous member of society. The firearms and ammunition industry shares the goal reducing the criminal misuse of firearms, and has created a number of programs over the years to help address unauthorized access to firearms and to promote safe handling and storage practices.

A Mile in Our Shoes

(AP Photo/,HO)

The firearms and ammunition industry prides itself on high rates of safety and regulatory compliance. Our voluntary programs, often in partnership with state and federal government agencies, help to curtail the actual problem of guns getting into the wrong hands. We work to make sure states are submitting all prohibiting records to NICS.

We provide millions of free gun locks and educational materials in all states. We train firearms retailers to spot straw purchasers, to comply with all laws, to use discretion when making transactions, and in how to keep their inventory secure. We work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help address the tragedy of suicides in our country.

In short, we know it’s time for Real Solutions. Safer Communities.SM to help continue the trend of reducing both violence and firearms accidents in our country. The firearms industry welcomes other companies in whatever industry to join us in our efforts.

So, instead of lobbying for ineffective, irrational gun control policies, perhaps TOMS management should focus on selling shoes.


Joe Bartozzi is the president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. 


  1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

    Apparently they don’t know Dick(s)

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:


    2. avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Now that there’s funny no matter who ya all are! 😉

      1. avatar eagle10 says:

        We just need Harry & Davids to join their dumb ideas.

        Then we would have every Tom, Dick, and Harry with stupid people control ideas!

        1. avatar M1Lou says:

          No! I like their cheap junk food. It also reminds me of home.

    3. avatar Thixotropic says:

      I see what you did there…

    4. avatar frank speak says:

      Too bad…so sad…(sic.)

  2. avatar Rick the Bear says:

    Too bad. So sad. Or not.

  3. avatar Dude says:

    Isn’t this the same company that hurt hard working African entrepreneurs by sending over free shoes? It’s hard to compete with free.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      It’s also hard to stay in business if you push products for free. Duh.

  4. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    frumpy ass insubstantial cloth weenie slippers. my kid did these for awhile. now he wants van’s and he made the mistake of sending his maw a pic of the discontinued disney nightmare before christmas versions. she wanted a couple different styles, price gouging cost me some.
    but they happy.
    i need a hillary mag.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Man, I hope I never need a ‘Hillary’ *anything*…

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        you saw jr.’s prison pmag, no? the only tolerable way to view “it’s” visage involves superimposed vertical bars.

      2. avatar P(gee)G(ee)T(wo) says:

        Hilary wants mandatory vaccines…and probably at gunpoint….just like you. You have more in common with her than you have the balls to admit.

  5. avatar Knobbytire says:

    You can’t get a better “grey man” clothing line than a t-shirt that says “End Gun Violence Together” from TOMS. But for $28, nahhhh, no sense supporting their regressive cause.

    1. avatar Dude says:

      Are they okay with fist violence? Knife violence? What about gang violence?

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Dude get woke it’s not about gang violence. (Getting old enough where this barely makes sense)

      2. avatar Knobbytire says:

        I agree. Violence is violence. Murder is murder. Dead is dead.

        The chowderheaded management at TOMS seem to be misguided in this topic, though.

        1. avatar Someone says:

          You got it all wrong. Only gun violence matters. Even suicide matters as a violence – if gun was used. Any other way, it’s all right.
          Only that which helps us to achieve the second to main goal (public disarmament) matters. Next step, the main goal – socialism. But first we need to disarm those stubborn conservatives, they will not stand still for it if they are still able to actually do something against it.
          Your leftist

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Socialism just costs too much, unless you have control of all the guns, so you can kill off any crowds forming at the Free Stuff Distribution Center, which keeps costs down.

  6. avatar Mjd says:

    Remember correlation does not equal causation.
    They were crappy shoes.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      So free even quality could not control them.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      True. But one imagines that the 5 million they blew on virtue signalling might have been better invested.

  7. avatar B says:

    Those are some ugly ass slippers.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Don’t be non inclusive they are aesthetically asymmetric.

    2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Don’t disrespect them. They’re “special”.

      1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Vic, WTF is it with women and those nasty-ass dirty house slippers they like to wear at the grocery store?


    3. avatar napresto says:

      No idea if these were Tom’s or something else, but one of my women students and I were laughing about “dad shoes” one day, and she pulled up a pic of a contemporary, cool kind of shoe. I was like, “yeah, but that’s a women’s shoe.”

      Turns out: no, it wasn’t.


  8. avatar Biatec says:

    I am sick of reading this anti gun garbage. That is the NSSF shit. You are anti gun. Stop pretending you support rights. You support privileges.

    1. avatar riker says:

      | That is the NSSF shit. You are anti gun.
      | Stop pretending you support rights. You
      | support privileges.

      Well said. As Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy said, “The enemy of my enemy… is also my enemy.” The NSSF is, at best, a true neutral in this fight, not a friend of gun owners and 2A advocates.

      1. avatar Mercury says:

        Your enemy’s enemy is necessarily also your enemy? How do you figure? The enemy of your enemy is, to you, your enemy’s enemy. Nothing more, nothing less.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      Unlike the NRA, the NSSA never pretended to be a human rights organization. It is a industry lobbying group (the very thing the media accuse the NRA of being), so they do what they consider best for the gun industry.

      1. avatar Red in CO says:

        Exactly. While I may disagree with, and fight hard against, some of the crap they support at least they’re honest. They’ve never claimed to be anything but an industry lobbying group. I’ll take the NSSF over the traitorous pieces of shit at the NRA any day of the week

  9. avatar LifeSavor says:

    So, aside from a household slipper, for what purpose would I wear that shoe? Hiking? No. Exercise? No. Office? No. Shooting? No. Hanging out at the bar? Not any bar I go to. Going out for a double mocha frappuccino with whipped cream and a rolled-up cookie. Definately. So, Tom’s footwear seems highly specialized.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Ugg boots platonic companion?

      1. avatar LifeSavor says:

        That’s two!! You are on a roll!!

        1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Needed a comedy break from this year’s Governor agenda.

      2. avatar DaveL says:

        Ugg boots are verboten for the woke, ever since they found out that sheepskin is the skin of a sheep. This apparently took several years to come to light.

        1. avatar Someone says:

          These super educated woke snowflakes sure do figure out everything.

        2. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

          Guessing they are not comfortable in their own skin.

        3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:


  10. avatar The Rookie says:

    Know I’m preaching to the choir on this point, but I really really hate the term “gun violence.”

    There is simply violence, perpetrated by violent people. There’s no need for a modifier because it doesn’t matter one fracking bit if they use a gun, or a knife, or a pressure cooker.

    1. avatar Knobbytire says:

      No doubt. A murderer is a murderer/

    2. avatar Biatec says:

      On their website

      “Gun deaths in the US today are suicides; it’s a national problem that the firearms industry is addressing at the local level with retailers and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.”

      Better they use rope?

      “The increase in the number of disqualifying records submitted to the background check system since NSSF launched FixNICS in 2013.”

      Their website is like Mom’s demand action lite.

      1. avatar Southern Cross says:

        And no mention of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and other countries which have the highest suicide rates and almost exclusively don’t use firearms?

        1. avatar Biatec says:

          I didn’t see mention of it. You are right it is way worse in a lot of other 1st world countries. Suicide is a not an issue in America. Even if it was a bigger issue why would it be a firearms industry issue?

        2. avatar Someone says:

          Suicide, relatively speaking is really not a huge problem in these USA. Still, it comprises about two thirds of the “gunviolence” deaths.
          It shows that the real gun murders are even smaller problem (about 1/3 of already not significant number).

          Since we can’t stop gun grabbers in media from blowing up the “gunviolence” numbers by counting suicides, maybe our gun organizations should start a new awareness program to lower the “gunviolence” numbers. Let’s call it “Jump, don’t shoot”. If we can convince gun owners at the end of their mortal coil to jump off tall buildings, under trains and trucks and off the chair with some sturdy neckwear, instead of shooting themselves, we could cut up to two thirds off the dreaded “gunviolence” deaths!

  11. avatar No one of consequence says:


    I think I’ll make a purchase from Combat Flip-Flops instead, thanks.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Combat flip-flops!! Now there is an idea whose time has come! Beachwear for warriors!! Have you called Kevin O’Leary, yet?


      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        Croc commandos may have the idea beat by a bit.

        1. avatar LifeSavor says:

          Perfect for amphibious assaults!

      2. avatar No one of consequence says:

        Not my idea … but I like it!

        1. avatar LifeSavor says:

          Wow!! That is a real thing!! Genius!

  12. avatar TXRabbit47 says:

    “They” SAY boycots don’t work. Well, maybe “NO” and maybe “YES”. In our circle’s case, we reserved spots on our NO GO list for both Dick’s and Toms as well as numerous others that chose to turn BLUE (loved visiting the west coast once upon a time; NO more). So, if all 2nd Amendment, freedom & liberty minded supporters would dedicate time & effort to constantly educate their friends & neighbors on the likes of Toms as well as make the commitment to never patronize the likes of Toms, the bankruptcy courts would be guaranteed on-going support. (pretty sure these courts would appreciate our looking after their welfare).

  13. avatar Rickster says:

    Funny , a shoe company that purports to know about guns , most obviously know’s nothing about foot fashion. Those are god awful ugly shoes , slippers whatever they are. figure out shoes before starting a gun grabbing scheme .

  14. Don’t include Harry and David.
    They are a good company.
    Instead include Harry, the razor company.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Hey! I use Harry’s razors! Is there something I should know?

    2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I just bought my husband Harry’s shave stuff for Christmas. What’s wrong with them?

      1. The shave gel stinks and is overpriced.
        The blades are too narrow.
        The metal in the blades is too soft.
        The blade falls off the handle too easily.
        You get what you pay for.

        1. avatar LifeSavor says:

          I am aghast!!

          I only shave 1-2 times a week because I work from home and like hearing my wife and daughter complain about how I look.

          Harry’s blades cut through a full week’s growth of hard, thick, stubborn whiskers with no trouble. Better than any other blade I have used.

          Instead of shaving cream, I use Alex Jones shampoo.
          Work great, and afterward, I feel like going on a tirade!! 🙂

        2. avatar WI Patriot says:

          Just because you don’t like their product doesn’t mean others should boycott them…try to be objective and NOT subjective in the future…

      2. avatar WI Patriot says:

        Nothing, just another crybaby thinking that all should boycott his(her?) dislikes…

  15. avatar Prndll says:

    Ministers of grace defend us

    Religious leaders have been trying to end or at least curb gun violence for a thousand years. Swords and knives for several thousand years before that. People are still killing each other. Likely always will.

    Truthfully though, we probably live in the least bloody time period in human history. People should study up on what the Roman’s did along before guns came on the world stage. We aren’t even engaged in world war like previous generations were.

    1. avatar UpInArms says:

      Guns didn’t show up until around the 13th or 14th century and were not popularly available for a number of centuries after that. Nobody’s been working on gun violence “for a thousand years.” Just thought I’d throw that in.

      1. avatar Prndll says:

        Thank you for the correction but it doesn’t change the point.

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    Get woke go broke…my son wears some weird looking slippers that bear a passing resemblance to these turds😃

  17. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

    How can a corporation promote “grassroots lobbying”? That’s the definition astro-turf. Goes hand in hand with paid protesters.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      So community activism?

    2. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Tom’s is not a publicly traded company, so their leadership can whatever it likes (within certain constraints). It burns me when publicly traded companies decide to risk shareholder value by taking sides in SJW controversy. That being said, Dick’s shares are careening toward all -time highs. I hate it. I will not invest in them.

  18. avatar Kendahl says:

    I doubt that gun control killed Toms but it obviously didn’t save them.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Agree. None of us on this site were the target audience for shoes that seem designed for those whose diet consists primarily of of soy-based fake meat.

      Yeah…I went there.
      I am ashamed.

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        That’s Impossible ™

      2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Life Savor,

        There used to be a TOMS warehouse near my employer. You would shake your head in embarrassment at the caliber (see what I did there?) of patrons who frequented the place to buy from their outlet. As some sort of advertising ploy, their carry bags were clear, so everyone could see the shoes as the customers walked back to the bus stop. Absolutely ugliest shoes anyone could imagine.

        The warehouse closed up as the company consolidated. News article claimed it was due to lack of profitability. No kidding…none of us would take the shoes if you gave them for free.

        1. avatar LifeSavor says:


          “…caliber…” keeping it all about guns! Nice!

          My guess, the niche to which Tom’s was marketing was too small and not earning enough (writing for Buzzfeed) to load up on Tom’s products and give the company much trajectory.

    2. avatar Jim from LI says:

      Yeah, I’d love for POTG to be able to take credit for Toms’ downfall, but if that’s the kind of stuff they sell it was only a matter of time. I wouldn’t give that ugly ass thing to the dog to chew on.

  19. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Should stick to selling shoes…

    Get woke, go broke…

  20. avatar Shire-man says:

    Its not only the gin control stance. The fate of all companies who market on virtue signalling is rather than be a quality product people recognize they become this mixed pile of cause vomit and the public is quite fickle with their causes. Anyone who really identifies with a cause will just give to that cause and go buy better, real shoes that aren’t $60 slippers.

    Id hate to cheer business failures but all these virtue signalling businesses are built on a shaky foundation and very few if any will survive for any length of time.

  21. avatar rt66paul says:

    If you have a Chinatown in your city, there is a store with barrels of black shoes that are very similar to Tom’s shoes, the shoes that the people of China wear(and are featured on all Kung Fu movies) Save your money.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      they are crappy Bruce Lee shoes, but at least they are dirt cheap (or used to be).

  22. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Yea! I found my little violin!

  23. avatar Kyle says:

    I totally agree with Toms.

    End gun violence!

    of course, my solution would be to arm more people so that the gun violence crowd finds that their career path is unhealthy, but thats just me I guess.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Kyle such a solution would put thousands of (government) employees out of work. How could you support getting rid of (taxpayer funded) jobs that (barely) address the problem you allude to. Just what kind of radical (freedom loving) activist are you?

  24. avatar Officer Possum Malloy says:

    Tom discovered that if he points a gunm at you. You’ll buy , sale or give away anything he wants

  25. avatar Lawbob says:

    There was a software company called Baan that was the equal of oracle apps and sap at the time, and they chose to “invest” their profits in “do goodism” rather than itself (marketing and R&d).

    Companies do not exist to employ people or to be charitable in any social or political causes.

    They exist to make profit.

    If the shareholders can better decide where to donate the profits (as dividends).

    When a representative is elected, they are to vote for the wishes of their constituents. Not determine what’s “best” for their well being.

    Like modern Dems, companies that are social justice or whatever with shareholder profits seem determined to usurp SH wishes- by denying the SH the profit to do what they in turn would do with it.

    Baan went broke

  26. avatar Obama Sucks says:

    Since we are just making shit-statistics up apparently ….

    “98% of America want’ TOMS to go out of business”.

  27. avatar Craig in IA says:

    I’d like to hope Walmart and Chik-fil-A come under some of the same scrutiny due to their recent virtue-signaling. Businesses should sell their wares, if what they are making does not appeal to the general public they can just stop beating a dead horse with it. Virtu-signaling in either direction can eventually have its pitfalls- Chik-fil-A is Exhibit a in that regard.

  28. avatar Zach says:

    I almost bought some Toms a few months ago but then read about their anti gun efforts and noped right not of there.

  29. avatar Aaron says:

    Tom’s shoes look like something a raggedy-ass San Fran Sicko homeless bum would be wearing.

    Maybe if they spent less money virtue signaling and more on making good shoes, they wouldn’t be in bankruptcy.

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