This Shoe Can Grow Five Sizes Bigger

Photo: Courtesy of The Shoe That Grows.

It’s been nearly 10 years since TOMS launched its
one-for-one campaign as a way to provide shoes to those in need all over
the world. And, while the brand is still going strong (and has even inspired
other "buy one, donate one" brands like Warby Parker), another company has dreamed up an entirely different approach to the same pressing problem. Rather than provide a pair of new shoes for a child who'll swiftly out-grow them, The Shoe that Grows expands, too. In fact, it adjusts five whole sizes, so that a child can wear the same pair for years.

After founder Kenton Lee witnessed children in Nairobi wearing shoes too small for their feet (or often no shoes at all), he launched The Shoe that Grows in 2007 with the aim of helping the two billion people suffering from soil-transmitted diseases by providing one pair they don't have to replace. These sturdy, lightweight sandals are made of leather, rubber, and snaps, which allow them to expand along with a growing child's foot. The designs also come in two sizes: small (for children in kindergarten through fourth grade), and large (for fifth graders and above). According to the brand's website, 300 million children in the world do not have access to shoes. But, by distributing shoes to organizations based in impoverished locations like Haiti, Ghana, and Kenya, The Shoe that Grows is taking steps (literally, that is) to help. And, because it costs just $10 to donate one pair, almost anyone can get involved. As Lee says in a promotional video: “We believe in creating innovative products that can help people living in extreme poverty around the world, helping them in really simple, practical ways.” Clearly, it's working, because the shoes are currently sold out. The site should be restocked soon, but in the mean time, find out more about the footwear innovation here.

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