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Common Ground Footwear Highlights Immigration, Gender Equality & Social Issues Through Design


You’ve heard the phrase to “walk in someone else’s shoes,” but for Common Ground, it’s become the foundation of their entire business.

CEO and founder, John Tawney, a veteran of Nike, has worked in footwear for over 25 years and is using his latest venture to inspire empathy and conversation.

Officially launched in November 2015, Common Ground was born during a time of political divisiveness, where police violence, gun control, and gender equality were on everyone’s mind. Yet rather than ignore someone’s opposing view, Tawney encourages us to be open to other opinions and perspectives. By finding a “common ground,” we can work together like two feet work together to take small steps forward.

The Portland-based company has tackled heavy-hitting issues like immigration, gay marriage and gender equality, with each shoe style designed specifically to spark a conversation.

Tawney said, “We wanted to create something that reminded the wearer every time they looked down to practice empathy. We also felt passionate about starting a conversation; if we’re going to make lasting social change, we need to talk about these issues and treat each other with respect.”

This post is sponsored by Common Ground Footwear, a sponsor of Miss COED 2017

Editor. Writer. Traveler. Shoe obsessed. While judging people on how they use "their" vs. "they're" on social media, she enjoys eating anything (literally anything) with Sriracha and binge-watching HGTV.