For some people with disabilities that leave them with limited mobility, tying shoe laces can be really tricky. That’s a problem Nike is attempting to help with their new shoe, called the “Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease.” Despite a ridiculous name, the shoe is pretty cool. Instead of regular laces, the sneaker has a zipper around the back, allowing it to be put on and secured using one hand. Nike has been working on the design of the shoe for years, but it really got going when Tobie Hatfield, Nike’s senior director of athlete innovation, received a letter from a teenager with cerebral palsy. The teen, Matthew Walzer, wrote that with flexibility in only one of his hands, he was able to completely dress himself and has to have someone else tie his basketball sneakers (that provide the ankle support he needs to walk). Hatfield got in touch with Walzer, and the two started working together to develop the shoe. Now, the shoes are available to consumers and Nike plans to send them to basketball teams participating in this year’s Special Olympics. Very cool, Nike.
Dargan is a former RELEVANT editor turned freelancer. Find her online at darganthompson.com or follow her extremely random train of thought on Twitter @darganthompson.