When a teenager with cerebral palsy wrote to Nike requesting a shoe he could put on himself, the company decided to ‘Just Do It’.
When he was 16 years old, Matthew Walzer asked the athletic apparel company to develop a shoe for people like him with disabilities, who have trouble tying shoelaces.
To his surprise, a 23-year-old Nike product manager called, saying that he, too, has cerebral palsy and a passion for sports. As GNN reported in 2012, Nike’s designers were inspired by the young man’s letter, and worked with Matthew for the next few years on a lace-free prototype that he could easily slide on and off. The footwear features a wrap-around enclosure that opens the back of the shoe for those with limited hand function.
“When I put the shoes on every morning, they give the greatest sense of independence and accomplishment I have ever felt in my life,” Matthew replied to Nike.
Later this month, Nike will outfit U.S. basketball teams participating in the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games with the new Zoom Soldier 8 FLYEASE shoes.
The shoes hit the market mid-July, just in time for Matthew to bring multiple pairs of the kicks back to his friends at college.
(WATCH the video below) – Photos: YouTube, Nike
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