The Child’s Shoe that Grows for Five Years
We all know children outgrow their shoes incredibly fast – it’s tough on parents to keep up with the cost of new shoes with growth spurts from kids in developing nations being particularly stricken with the inability to keep shoes on their kid’s feet.
Enter, Kenton Lee . . . the inspiration for creating a shoe that grows and founder of the nonprofit “Because International”. Lee in partnership with the Portland, Oregon shoe development company Proof of Concept, built the shoe.
Throughout the process, Lee kept asking, “How can we create a pair of shoes that can grow as much as possible and last as long as possible, while costing as little as possible?”
Lee and his team launched their first official batch of 3,000 shoes in Fall, 2014 with other versions to follow. Currently, each pair looks like a sturdy sandal and is made of leather straps and compressed rubber soles, a material similar to the kind used in tires. They come in two sizes—small, for kindergarteners to fourth graders, and large, for fifth through ninth graders—adjusting in three places. Straps on the heel and toe control the length of the shoe, while two on either side allow for different widths. The shoes can expand up to five sizes and last for at least five years.
“My biggest motivation is that I want kids to be in the best possible position to succeed and to keep them a little bit happier and healthier,” says Lee, who feels his product could impact kids’ walks to school and time spent playing outside. “To see them lose some of these chances because of something as simple as a pair of shoes really breaks my heart.”