On one of his missionary visits to Nairobi, Kenya, a young fellow named Kenton Lee saw a little girl in a white dress wearing shoes so small for her feet, her toes were sticking out. He thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand — so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?”
Et voila! The Shoe That Grows was born.
According to Kenton Lee, the man who invented the Shoe that Grows, “Many poor children wear makeshift shoes/ slippers that clearly don’t fit, and some don’t at all. With no shoes, it’s easy for them to get cuts on the soles of their feet, and contract infections and parasites, which puts them further in poverty.”
You might think that Kenton is some sort of an architect or a designer, but he isn’t one. “The design process was interesting because I am not a designer, and I knew nothing about shoes. I was just a normal guy with an idea.”
As soon as his idea for the Shoe that Grows were finalized, he looked out for a trusted manufacturer. “We found a shoe development company called Proof of Concept in Portland, Oregon. They were the perfect partner to help design our shoes.”
Each pair grows 5 sizes and can last 5 years; they come in two sizes: small (from kindergarten to 4th grade) and large (from 5th grade to 9th grade).
Here’s how it works or grows…
To increase the size and length of the shoe, you only need to adjust the buttons and leather straps around it. It’s practically easier than tying your shoe laces right!
“I used to think shoes weren’t a big deal. If kids didn’t have shoes, they’re just running around barefoot, and they’re happy and they’re fine. But when they’re running around without shoes or with shoes that don’t fit, they’re at risk of getting sick…and when they do, they miss school, they can’t help their families. A lot of their opportunities are lost,” Lee said.
(via Tano Buzz)
Indeed, change need not be a grand thing at all. Even with just a small step, millions of lives can be transformed for the better. Good job, Kenton!
Listen to his story here: