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How One Man Is Giving Poverty The Boot

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Samuel Bistrian is merging fashion and philanthropy with his socially conscious, buy-one-give-one boot company, Roma Boots. The charitable corporation—which gives away a pair of boots for every pair sold—launched in 2010 and now operates in 25 countries across five continents, bringing durable, colorful footwear to kids in need and promoting education in impoverished areas.

Last year alone, the company was able to hand out 30,000 boots to children in seven different countries.

For Bistrian, the gift of rubber boots has roots that reach into his own childhood in Romania.

When Bistrian was just six-years-old, he received his first pair of boots—faded orange and well-worn by his older siblings (he was ninth out of 11 children in his family), the rubber footwear meant he could help work the small plot of land his family depended on for food without worry of injury.

“I was just this excited kid with his first pair of rain boots,” Bistrian tells “They meant so much to me.”

When Bistrian was eight-years-old, his family migrated to the United States. Though his days of eating molded bread for dinner were gone, Bistrian’s new life in America was far from charmed.

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