And being barefoot in all sorts of weather and terrain puts these children at risk for diseases and infections that could be prevented if they simply had shoes on their feet.
In 2006, American Blake Mycoskie was biking in Argentina and witnessed this problem firsthand.
Wanting to help get shoes on the feet of children in need, he created TOMS Shoes. TOMS' business model is unique: For every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair of new shoes to a child in need.
Today is TOMS' annual, international event, "One Day Without Shoes." According to its website, TOMS has asked people to pledge to go barefoot today to raise awareness for "those people who don't have a choice." It's also challenging community groups, schools and corporations to sign up as many members of their organization as possible to take the pledge to go barefoot today.
AOL is one of the major corporations that pledged to go barefoot in support of One Day Without Shoes.
"Here at AOL, we're going barefoot so kids don't have to," Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO of AOL, says in a video statement in which he is standing barefoot along with Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of AOL's Huffington Post Media Group.
"We are challenging you on April 5 to go barefoot to raise awareness, get conversations going and change the world together," Huffington says.
For more information about the challenge, visit One Day Without Shoes.