Nike Created An Amazing Shoe Specifically For People With Disabilities

by Sean Levinson

Nike unveiled an unparalleled kind of shoe specially designed for the physically disabled.

Florida's Matthew Walzer, 19, was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that inhibits the movements required to put on or tie his own shoes.

He told Huffington Post,

By the time you turn 16, it gets frustrating or embarrassing if you're out with your friends and your shoe comes untied and you have to ask your friend, 'Hey, can you bend down and tie my shoe for me?'

In 2012, Walzer sent a letter to Nike explaining his difficulties with footwear.

The letter was reviewed by Nike CEO Mark Parker and sent to Tobie Hatfield, Nike's senior director of athlete innovation.

Hatfield, who knew someone dear to him at Nike with a similar problem, was eager to answer Walzer's pleas.

In 2004, Nike's first employee, Jeff Johnson, had a stroke that robbed him of the use of the right side of his body. As a result, he could not put on or tie his shoes.

Hatfield also brainstormed ideas for cerebral palsy patients after the success of Nike Sole, a foam cover designed for amputees' prosthetic blades.

Fast forward to July 2015. Nike debuted its Flyease technology, Hatfield's solution to Johnson's and Walzer's issue.

The new technology allows shoes to have no laces, but they're still secure around the heel and offer tremendous comfort and stability.

He said,

[The shoes are] easy entry, easy access, easy adjustment, easy closure.

The first Flyease shoe is the Zoom Soldier 8, and it's an updated model of LeBron James' signature series.

Of the new shoe technology, Walzer said,

Up until working with Nike, when I needed a new pair of shoes, we had to go the mall and make a day out of it. We'd go to every store.

The Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease will be available in limited quantities beginning July 16, and according to Hatfield, Nike is currently developing a running shoe with the same technology.

Citations: Nike Launches Flyease Changing The Game For People With Disabilities (Huffington Post)