Socks. I couldn’t be writing about a more mundane topic than socks. But, hey, I need a new pair. And so do people in homeless shelters.
Today, I bought a pair of socks on Bombas. Bombas is an online sock vendor. That’s all they do. Socks. But they also donate a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair of socks that you buy. It’s the buy one, give one model, just like Tom’s Shoes.
You may be aware of some criticism that Tom’s Shoes has come under, for giving away shoes. Mostly, there’s a fear that in the local markets where shoes are given, the free shoes undercut local shoemakers and thus depress economic development. Here’s a quick synopsis of some research from the Economist. I’m not so convinced that the research completely captures the social costs and benefits of a pair of shoes given. In any case, I also feel confident that giving a pair of socks to a homeless man or woman in the United States isn’t taking away the livelihood of a sockmaking neighbor.