Nike’s new, first truly-hands free shoe, The Nike Go FlyEase, is a reality because in 2012 a teen with cerebral palsy didn’t want his classmates tying his shoes. Matthew Walzer, 16 at the time, wrote a letter to Nike outlining his needs for an easy-entry shoe and challenging the company to create a product line that worked for a wider range of bodies.
“If Nike would design and produce basketball and running shoes with moderate support and some kind of closure system that could be used by everyone, Nike could create a shoe line that attracts people that face the same physical challenges I did and still do, yet it could still be possible for anyone to wear them,” he wrote.
He posted his letter on his blog, Against All Odds, and it went viral. Ultimately it was shared with Nike, who got in touch and invited Walzer to help design what would become the first shoe in the FlyEase line.
“I talked with their designers and explained that aside from shoe-tying, I have a limited range of motion in both of my feet and I only have full dexterity in my left hand,” said Walzer. Hearing that, Nike sent him a modified basketball shoe with a zipper up the middle and a Velcro ankle strap.
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