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Nike Responds To Plea For Accessible Shoes


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After a letter to Nike from a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy went viral this past summer, the company connected with the teen to create special shoes he can manage independently.

Matthew Walzer wrote an open letter in August to Nike CEO Mark Parker asking him to make shoes that are more accessible for people with disabilities.

“Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body,” Walzer wrote. “As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes.”

Walzer said that he would like to be able to go to college in the coming years without worrying about who help him with his shoes.

The letter drew broad attention on social media under the hashtag #NikeLetter and ultimately made its way to Nike headquarters. Designers at the company reached out to the Parkland, Fla. teen and created a modified version of their Nike Hyperdunk basketball shoe for him that relies on Velcro and zippers rather than laces, reports The Oregonian. To read more click here.

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Comments (8 Responses)

  1. Tammy says:

    Are these Nikes available to the general public? I would like to get a pair or two for my son who has cerebral palsy.

  2. Lauri Robertson says:

    A simple accommodation that could have been implemented by any shoemaker or orthotics technician. He only needed to ask. I have velcro straps on all of my shoes – the orthotics place that makes my shoe-inserts and my wrist-splints puts the velcro straps and metal rings on my shoes so I can fasten them easily.

  3. AppleJ says:

    Thats pretty awesome! kuddos to Nike!

  4. Debbi says:

    My 28 yr old son has Down Syndrome and can’t tie his shoes. He insists on being “cool” and these shoes would be perfect. Are they commercially accessible?

  5. Cynthia Burger says:

    This article has brought to mind a similar issue. For many parents with disabled children the provision of shoes that are appropriate to their child’s personality and needs is made difficult because they are selecting for style shoes that will never touch the ground… that will never be worn out… but which their child will grow out of.

    My sister and her husband buy snazzy bright and colorful shoes and socks for Jillian my niece. In doing so, they make the choice of showing Jillian as a vibrant young woman… not a child… who should be treated according to her age and not ignored or seen only in terms of her disability. I am wondering if there is a way that companies such as clothing stores and shoe makers.. could collaborate with agencies or parents of children with disabilities… so that their clothing and shoes could be made available to growing children and passed on to other children who need them. These clothes and shoes, from what I have seen do not wear out…

  6. Ellen Vickers says:

    I have been looking for bibs that a 12yrs old can use because she has cerebal palsy and one thing that happens to her and other kids have a drooling problem and if they do not wear a bib her shirts gets so wet and the ones in stores are for babies as kids grow their necks get bigger and can’t wear the bibs cause they chock her I wish I could find some that would fit her she dosen’t like the ones that has baby sayings on them and I can’t blame her she is going to be a teenager and it embarrases her so we need some bibs made for kids that are getting bigger she can’t help the drooling and I don’t want her to be made fun of like I have heard other people say thinking we did not hear them.Please some clothing people make the bibs for older kids it would be so appreciated.
    Thank You,
    A proud grandmother of the best litle girl I know and she is so intellegent just because she can’t talj,walk,fed herself and from drooling on herself doesn’t mean she doesn’t understand things.If someone could help me please let me know at my address it is Ellen Vickers 1005 Linden Street,Richmond Kentucky 40475.It would help so many kids with cerebal palsy.

  7. Tonya says:

    My grandson has a clubbed foot and needs a special shoe. He has to wear boots because the stiffness of his foot. It would be awesome to have a Nike Tennis Shoe that is stiff like a boot and has a zipper because he is unable to tie due to Authrogryposis. His foot does not bend, so the zipper has to zip pretty low. If anyone can assist, please respond!

  8. Sheila Dennison says:

    My son is 11 and has cerebral palsy. He can’t tie his shoe’s either. He goes through two pairs of shoes a month. He walks on his toes. I found crocus that look like tenis shoes but now I can’t find them. They lasted him for 7 months.

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