Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The Men’s Rover Shoe is Only the Smallest Change Toms is Making


This isn’t a Toms shoe, is it? I mean, if you squint, it kind of looks like the company’s famous alpargata silhouette, of which it has sold more than 100 million pairs since its founding in 2006. (And how do we know that number? Because of its famous “one for one” model, by which it donated a pair of shoes to those in need in emerging-world countries around the globe for every pair it sells. It’s easy math.) But the above is a Toms shoe, if admittedly much different than what most people have grown accustomed to. It’s a fitting symbol for a brand that has over the last year scrapped one of its hallmark philanthropic commitments to focus on new areas of giving based on the next generation. What began in 2020 continues with the release of its Rover men’s shoe, which is being released on Thursday, July 15.

“Sneakerizing is key,” Toms CEO Magnus Wedhammar tells The Manual. “We’re not saying we’re going to make a performance sneaker, but [the Rover] has all the DNA of Toms in a modern execution.”

The Rover represents the second half of a departure for what many consider a heritage brand. The women’s Mallow, released in April, was the first, and like the Rover, it stitched the company’s upper shape onto a pillowtop of EVA foam, creating an everyday shoe that you could literally wear every day. (Ever wear a pair of Toms’ traditional alpargatas on concrete? “Footsore,” redefined.) Granted, there are other, smaller differences, including more coverage over the foot, pull tabs, and a rib-knit collar for easy on-offs. It’s not the company’s classic shoe, and yet it shares plenty of similarities. The heritage alpargata, with all of the colors and collaborations, remains, but Toms’ latest two releases are an expansion into new territory and for a new demographic: Gen-Z.

Related Guides


“The alpargata was what made Toms what it is today,” says Wedhammar. But the reason we’re speaking with Wedhammar is because the old way simply wasn’t working any longer. In January 2020 following some real Succession-level corporate intrigue, the 48-year-old was brought aboard to right the listing ship. With senior positions at Sanuk, Sperry, and Converse in his past, Wedhammar knows sneakers and he knows shoes, bringing that know-how to Toms in an effort to connect it with the next generation.

But styles are only skin-deep, and Wedhammar implemented a seismic shift in the Toms philanthropic efforts in his first year. Its one-for-one giving model, which has been copied by scores of other companies, including MiiR, Bombas, Warby Parker, and others, was cut so quickly that it didn’t have time to bleed.

And here’s something else you’re not going to want to hear, even if it’s true: “What kids today care about is not giving shoes to kids in other countries that they don’t really know about,” Wedhammar says. “What they care about is mental health, they care about gun violence, they care about equity and inclusion.”


Its cutting of the one-for-one program is not to say that Toms no longer has a philanthropic cornerstone to its culture. In fact, Wedhammar says that the company continues to donate the same percentage of its profits since it shifted the model. But where and to whom, based on the polling of its targeted demo, has markedly shifted.

Rather than launching its shoes into far-off climes, its giving stays much more local, and it now focuses on three core areas, including mental health, gun control, and equity and inclusion. Wedhammar himself feels that the company’s investment in mental health will have the greatest impact, as it feeds into the other areas. “I think [mental health] is going to be the cause of our time,” he says.

So far, the feedback on both its first shoe, the Mallow, and its revamped giving model has been positive. The Rover hopes to further establish this new direction, breathing fresh air into a shape that the next generation grew accustomed to seeing on the feet of their moms. “I saw what Toms did, and I saw how it pioneered a whole new way of doing business that has been relocated across businesses around the world,” Wedhammar says. “But change happens on the ground. Change happens in local communities.”

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Gugala
Features Writer
Jon Gugala is a freelance writer and photographer based in Nashville, Tenn. A former gear editor for Outside Magazine, his…
YY Nation — Stylish Shoes Looking To Stomp Their Environmental Impact
YY Nation's Spectra Merino Shoe in yellow.

YY Nation's Spectra Merino Shoe in yellow. YY Nation

Looking to step up your style without impacting the environment? Look no further than YY Nation's, the maker of the world's lowest carbon footprint sneaker.

Read more
Pinterest Launches PinterestTV With Christian Siriano
pinterest launches tv christian siriano and team from instagram page

Pinterest is the social media choice for those of us who think visually. It’s a great way to share and combine ideas, especially when we live in the "picture is worth a thousand words” world of the internet. Planning the interior of your new camper van? Start a board, follow a few Pinners, add some pins of your own, and you’ll be headed cross-country in no time. Creating a mood board for a graphics project at work? Planning a holiday menu? Pinterest is the place to be. It has also become a great way to shop for some of the specific things that may catch your interest on somebody else’s board. 

On November 8, Pinterest launched its latest project, Pinterest TV.  Like many of those pins, it’s also shoppable; but similar to your favorite self-improvement/do-it-yourself cable network, this is a series of live, original episodes, each around half an hour, that features creators and influencers like Olympic diver Tom Daley, Apartment Bartender Elliott Clark, and 2008 Project Runway winner and Council of Fashion Designers of America member, designer Christian Siriano. Siriano is hosting an exclusive, shoppable series titled Christian On. Each week, he’ll choose a phrase from a list of the most searched fashion terms on Pinterest and show viewers the tools they need to bring them to life. The live show, where Siriano gets to show the world what he loves about fashion, interior design, and style, airs on Pinterest every Monday at 6:00 pm.
Christian’s first two episodes have already aired. The first, on November 8, discussed his plans for the segment, as well as what inspires him for the fall season as he’s creating his collection from colors to trends to personalities. (His second episode segment was about wedding gowns: Maybe not our particular interest, but it was fun to watch him interact with friends and viewers via the channel’s chat.)

Read more
The Most Stylish Stitch Fix Men’s Outfits You Can Buy Today
The best Stitch Fix reviews for men.

We know: You're a busy guy, with plenty of things to do and not a lot of time in which to knock out your to-do list. That's where
Stitch Fix
comes into play, and that's where the best outfits from Stitch Fix can make your life a lot easier (and more stylish). Think of Stitch Fix like your personalized styling service, one that takes into account your preferences and dressing habits from its Stitch Fix Style Quiz. Each month, or more frequently than that, the site's stylists select the gear they think you'll love, and it shows up at your door. From there, you only pay for what you keep. Not bad at all, right?

This makes it easy to stock up on men's style essentials without missing a beat. Stitch Fix also gives you the chance to shop its Freestyle program, a shop that's curated just for you and available on-demand, no need to order a box. If you're also wondering how much Stitch Fix costs, the answer is that it's up to you: If you keep every item in your monthly shipment, you'll pay more.

Read more