It’s easy to get Toms and Bobs shoes mixed up with each other. If you already have some in your closet, you may not remember which came from which company without looking at the label.
Toms and Bobs have evolved over the years. We’ll look more closely at their history, comfort, quality, styles, prices, sizing, and community and environmental impact for each company to help differentiate Toms vs. Bobs shoes.
What Are Toms Shoes All About?
Toms shoes are not just comfortable; they started a trend of shoes that serve a greater cause.
Blake Mycoskie began making Toms shoes in 2006. Toms’ alpargata shoe and One for One business model launched their initial fame.
Under the One for One program, Blake Mycoskie started out by giving one pair of shoes to those in need for every shoe he sold. He gave away over 95 million pairs of shoes before encountering too many problems with that business model.
Toms nearly went bankrupt in 2019, but its debtholders took over the company instead. The new management overhauled their product design and instituted a new business model. They still operate with a mission to give to the community through profits going to grassroots projects.
Toms claims that they have positively impacted over 100 million lives since 2006.
Their most comfortable shoes are:
- Those with a CloudBound sole: CloudBound shoes have comfortable 10 mm soles and use OrthoLite Eco LT Hybrid insoles that conform to the foot.
- The Mallow Puff: Mallow Puffs have plush, supersized soles and lightweight OrthoLite EcoLT Hybrid insoles for extra cushioning.
Many styles are also slip-ons, making them easy to take on and off. Some feature elastic gore panels that make the shoes stretch for an easier fit.
Those who purchase shoes from Toms often become repeat customers because they know that it’s a brand that they can trust to contain high-quality materials. Many of the materials are eco-friendly and recycled or plant-derived.
However, if you wear your Toms often, they tend to wear out within months rather than years.
- Alpargatas: Alpargatas are casual slip-on shoes that originated as everyday shoes in Argentina. Toms has alpargatas in all sizes.
- Boots: Toms has a variety of boots, including slip-ons, hiking boots, snow boots, and fashionable styles. They have boots in all sizes.
- Booties: Toms has ankle-length booties available in women’s and children’s sizes.
- Slip-Ons: Toms’ slip-ons include alpargatas and other styles that slip on with no need for laces. They come in all sizes.
- Sneakers: Toms has traditional sneakers with laces as well as slip-on sneakers in a variety of heights and styles. They have sneaker sizes for everyone.
- Mallow Puffs: The Mallow Puff is a comfy Toms exclusive with oversized soles and cushioned quilted tops. They are only available in women’s sizes.
- Slippers: Toms’ slippers are warm shoes for wearing around the house. They have a fuzzy inside and come with varying heel traction types. Slippers are not available in children’s sizes.
- Flats: Toms’ flats are classy shoes appropriate for dressy occasions. However, they’re only available in women’s sizes.
- Espadrilles: Espadrilles traditionally include a braided jute sole. Toms uses jute for its midsole and has a rubber outsole. Toms’ espadrilles come in both alpargata and wedge styles. Espadrilles are not available in children’s sizes.
- Dress shoes: Toms dress shoes include twill or leather uppers and white treaded outsoles for dressier occasions. Dress shoes are only available in men’s sizes.
- Exclusives: Toms always has limited edition shoes with designs (often from famous designers) that are exclusive to Toms. Exclusives are only available in women’s sizes.
The average cost for Toms shoes is around $55. You might find some on sale for as low as $25, and a few of the dressier women’s boots can be as high as $140. However, the average shoe hovers around the $50-something range.
Toms come in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes, each available in whole and half sizes. However, they only come in medium widths.
The company suggests buying your standard size for casual or dress shoes. However, they recommend choosing the smaller size if you’re between sizes. Since their shoes are flexible, it’s best to rely on the shoes stretching as you break them in rather than to buy ones that are too big for your feet.
Community and Environmental Impact
Toms has B Corp certification, meaning that they have high social and environmental standards for their corporation. In 2021, they scored in the top 5% for their community efforts.
Toms spends ⅓ of their profits on community-driven grassroots efforts. They believe that focusing on community-led projects allows those closest to community problems to create more scalable and sustainable change.
They create a two-way partnership with communities, building meaningful, long-term relationships.
Tom seeks to help humanity thrive by creating areas of equity. They feel that equity rather than equality takes more individual circumstances into account and funds what people really need.
The three equity issues that Toms focuses on are:
- Promoting mental health
- Ending gun violence
- Providing increased access to opportunities
Toms works toward sustainability in their business practices. Some of their environmentally-friendly practices include:
- Working to reduce waste and energy use
- Exploring an end-of-use shoe program
- Planning to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2025
- Creating 100% of their packaging materials from sustainably-managed forests
- Making 80% of their packaging from recycled materials
- Measuring and improving their carbon footprint yearly
- Providing a transparent impact report
- Selling some shoes that are 100% vegan
All their shoes with earthwise™ label use earth-friendly materials for at least one of its main components:
- Organic cotton
- Recycled polyester
- Sustainably-sourced viscose
- Regenerated nylon
- Eco fibers like hemp, linen, and jute
- Natural plant dyes
- Eco-friendly sole materials like recycled rubber
What Are Bobs Shoes All About?
Bobs shoes combine the comfort of the Skechers brand with a community-driven business model.
Skechers has been around since 1992, but it wasn’t until four years after Blake Mycoskie’s success with Toms that they decided to launch Bobs. The first Bobs that came out in 2010 were alpargatas that looked very similar to Toms. And, like Toms, Bobs came with a promise of providing shoes for those in need with every purchase.
When you buy a pair of Bobs, you know they’re going to be comfortable. Bobs don’t require any breaking-in period and are comfortable from the moment you first put them on.
Most insoles contain cushioned Skechers memory foam that conforms to your feet immediately. The midsoles are shock-absorbing, which makes every step feel better.
The outer cloth for most Bobs also includes Stretch Fit, which is breathable and stretchy.
Bobs shoes are incredibly sturdy. Even if you wear them every day, you won’t need to replace them for a few years. If they need replacing, it’s usually because of user error, like wearing the sole down on one side from your walking habits.
- Sneakers: Bobs has sneakers in casual and sports styles. The Bobs Sport collection contains athleisure sneakers. Some of the more casual styles include Beach Bingos with stretchy heels that slip on.
- Slippers: Bobs’ slippers are fuzzy on the inside and great for keeping your feet warm on cold days.
- Skippers: Bobs’ Skippers are loafers that have more of a moccasin style. They also come in boot height.
- Slip-ons: The Bobs collection includes a variety of slip-on styles, including alpargatas, mules, moccasins, sneakers, and slippers.
- Plush: The original Bobs alpargata-style shoe comes under the Plush label.
- Flexpadrilles: Bobs calls their espadrilles “Flexpadrilles”. However, not all of their espadrille midsoles are traditional jute; some are merely decorative.
- Boots: Bobs’ boots come in various styles, including hiking, combat, snow, and rain boots.
- Sandals: Bobs’ sandals come in strappy and slip-on styles.
Bobs shoes range from sale-price shoes at $28 to hiking boots at $95. However, the average pair of Bobs shoes cost around $55. Within the same style, you might see a range of about $5-$10, depending on print or color.
While the Skechers website now only offers Bobs as a collection in their women’s shoe section, Bobs started out as a more unisex shoe option. While they still have many unisex styles, their sizes are all women’s.
Interestingly, while Bobs shoe sales help fund shoe donations to needy kids around the world, Bobs also don’t come in children’s sizes.
Community and Environmental Impact
Skechers takes its social and environmental responsibilities seriously.
Skechers operates under the philosophy of putting people first. Human rights are among their core values, which extend from their factories to their suppliers and employees.
Bobs has given over 16 million pairs of shoes to needy children around the world. They donate shoes to children who are experiencing poverty, homelessness, or disasters. Shoe donations recipients have included:
- Children affected by disasters like California fires and hurricanes in Houston and Puerto Rico
- Head Start programs
- Educational foundations
- Homeless shelters
- Non-profit organizations
The Skechers Foundation supports over 50 charities, including:
- Autism Speaks
- Operation Smile
- Steel Sports
- Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation
- Steel Sports
- MEB Foundation
- David Ortiz Children’s Fund
- Alliance for Housing and Healing
- United way
- Two Ten Footwear Foundation
Some Bob shoe styles contain an Our Planet Matters designation. These Bobs contain recycled materials to help reduce environmental impact.
Skechers has made a multi-year monetary commitment to The Nature Conservancy. They will contribute at least $800,000 toward protecting our lands and waters.
Skechers’ offices, facilities, and distribution centers incorporate the company’s earth-friendly philosophy into their design. These facility designs:
- Conserve energy,
- Use renewable energy
- Conserve water
- Reduce waste.
Skechers uses environmental considerations in their shipping and packaging practices as well:
- Shipping cartons, foot forms, and paper packaging are 100% recyclable
- They use soy-based or water-based ink
- Over 96% of shipping cartons come from 96-100% recycled materials
- 93% of shoeboxes are entirely recyclable
- 99% of shoeboxes meet FSC standards for coming from responsible sources
What Are the Similarities Between Toms and Bobs Shoes?
Both Bobs and Toms have a similar business model, are comfortable, have a similar price range, and take their community and environmental impact seriously.
It’s evident that Skechers copied Blake Mycoskie’s One for One business model for Toms when they created their Bobs shoe collection.
When Toms first came out, you almost felt obligated to buy a pair whether you liked the alpargata style or not because you knew the purchase would go toward providing free shoes for those in need. Bobs shoes create similar sentiments for consumers.
Both Bobs and Toms shoes are comfortable and require no breaking-in period. The insoles are cushy, and many options are slip-ons with stretchy uppers.
The average price for both Bobs and Toms is around $55. Toms’ boots sometimes reach higher prices than Bobs’ boots.
Community and Environmental Impact
The sale of both Toms and Bobs shoes goes toward funding community initiatives. They both started out with a One for One business model of providing free shoes to needy people through the profits of their shoe sales. Both have branched out to support other efforts.
Both Toms and Skechers have employed environmentally-friendly and sustainable business practices into their business model, facilities, and packaging. However, Toms is more concerned about the material sources for their shoes.
What Are the Differences Between Bobs and Toms Shoes?
The main differences between Bobs and Toms are in quality, styles, and sizes.
Toms focuses heavily on using eco-friendly, recycled, and plant-derived materials, while Bobs doesn’t have the same focus for their shoe materials.
Unfortunately, Toms tend to wear out in months rather than the years it takes to wear out Bobs shoes with daily wear.
Both Toms and Bobs started out selling unisex alpargatas, but they have branched out to other styles over time.
Toms has a wider variety of styles that cater to women, men, and children. Meanwhile, Bobs only come in women’s styles. However, some of Bobs’ styles are unisex, so they could potentially work for men with smaller feet.
Bobs has a line of sports sneakers, which Toms doesn’t have. However, Toms has more dressy shoe options than Bobs.
Toms come in womens’, mens’, and childrens’ sizes. However, Bobs only comes in women’s sizes.
Both Toms and Bobs run true to size. However, Toms suggests ordering down a size if you’re between sizes.
Toms doesn’t offer any wide-width shoes. However, some of Toms’ solid-colored alpargatas come in wide widths.
What’s the Verdict on Toms vs. Bobs Shoes?
There are more similarities than differences in Bobs shoes vs. Toms. Bobs and Toms have a similar business model, comfort level, price point, and desire to make an impact on the community and environment. However, they differ in quality, style, and size.
Bobs only come in women’s sizes, while Toms caters to men, women, and children. Toms also don’t tend to last as long as Bobs.
However, when you buy either shoe, money from your purchase goes toward good causes around the world, and you can rest assured that the creation of your shoe happened in an environmentally-friendly way.