I asked the brothers why they decided to walk barefoot through these urban streets.
"The whole idea of the walk was to try to find a way to unify our fans and put the message out by doing something simple," Taylor said. The symbolism of doing the walks barefoot is a variation on "walking a mile in someone’s shoes."
"Doesn't it hurt, though?" I asked.
"That's partly the point," Zac said. "Tay stepped on a piece of glass the other day. And you go, wow, if there's actually an element of fear to not having a pair of shoes..." Walking barefoot drives home the message: many children in Africa are so impoverished, they don't have basic necessities like shoes.
"A pair of shoes might not save the world," Taylor admitted, "but we want to take people from knowing about something to...tangible action. We've used our tools. We've used music. We've used the shoes. Maybe somebody else uses their time."
Hanson is returning to Africa in November with TOMS Shoes for the shoe drop. Taylor said the charity single and the walks are small efforts, but they’re something. Hanson and other indie artists have the freedom to use their pedestal to encourage passion and a connection with fans, and also use that pedestal to do something good.
Isaac added, "[Doing the walks] was also a way to take this passion that we're so lucky to have been a part of with our fans, to strengthen it in a way and give it a tangible focus. We may not change the world, but it's one step in the right direction."
See related article, Hanson takes 'The Walk' to independence.
Concert photo by Claire