Sometimes, the simplest invention can change millions of lives. That’s the goal of The Shoe That Grows, a leather sandal invented by inventor Kenton Lee that can adjust its size, allowing children in third world countries to grow up without having to go barefoot. The smart shoes, which come in catch-all Small and Large sizes, can grow five sizes and last at least five years.
According to The Shoe That Grows, “There are over 300 million children from poor families who do not have shoes. And countless more with shoes that do not fit.” Children without shoes are susceptible to injuries and parasites that infect humans through our feet. The problem with ordinary shoe donations is that they are soon outgrown, which is exactly the problem that these new shoes would fix.
While you can buy yourself a pair of shoes that grow, the site emphasizes packages that allow buyers to send shoes in bulk to the underdeveloped countries that need them the most. Read on for Kenton Lee’s interview with Bored Panda!
“The design process was interesting because I am not a designer,” Kenton Lee told Bored Panda. “And I knew nothing about shoes. I was just a normal guy with an idea”
“We found a shoe development company called Proof of Concept in Portland, Oregon. They were the perfect partner to help design our shoes”
“We are confident in the durability of our shoes because we designed them 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 a tire rubber. The rest of the shoe is a high quality leather. Just quality, solid, long-lasting materials”
“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. The most shoes are in Kenya”
“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 for the future”
Thank you, Kenton Lee, for answering Bored Panda’s questions about your amazing project!