There are millions of children around the world that have no shoes to wear, or whose shoes don’t fit them.
The result is going barefoot, and susceptible to injuries as well as parasites that can be sustained by the feet.
Even if shoes are donated in bulk, over time the feet outgrow them, much faster so in the case of children, who are constantly developing and growing.
That’s when a simple guy named Kenton Lee had an idea, having had no previous experience or clue about shoes or design. He thought, “what if we made one shoe that just grows along with the foot over the years?”
And that was all it took. The idea soon became The Shoe That Grows, a sandal that is designed in such a way so it can grow five shoe sizes within five years.
The sandals come in small and large sizes, making it much easier to find proper size, and saving the trouble of the multi-sized system widely used when looking for shoes. While you can buy your own pair, the product’s site promotes packages that make it possible to send shoes that grow to impoverished countries, in large quantities.
In an interview, Kenton Lee talks about the journey of The Show that Grows:
“We found a shoe development company called Proof of Concept in Portland, Oregon. They were the perfect partner to help design our shoes.”
Lee also underlines the emphasis that was put on the utility and durability of the shoes, as well as on the ease they would provide. The main concern, he says, was function and quality, and not aesthetics:
“We are confident in the durability of our shoes because we designed the first and foremost for function and not fashion. In fact, we didn’t care at all what they looked like (even though we are happy with how they turned out).
We just wanted to make the longest-lasting shoe possible. Purely functional. We did not cut any corners with the materials that we used. The sole is compressed rubber – very similar to tire rubber. The rest of the shoe is high-quality leather. Just quality, solid, long-lasting materials.”
The Shoe that Grows has already started making a change for thousands of children around the world: “We are sold out of our first batch of 3,000 pairs of shoes. And we have 5,000 pairs coming in July. Right now our shoes are in Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, Vietnam, and Laos. Most shoes are in Kenya. ”
This is not just a real change, but also an inspiration for people who want to help others worldwide, and a true cause to support.
“We have just been overwhelmed by all the support and publicity. This has been amazing. We are a very small organization, but we are growing and excited about the future!”