Until Kenton Lee looked down and saw a little shoeless girl standing next to him, he had no idea he wanted to be a designer. And yet, that’s where he got his big idea: shoes that can grow five sizes and last for at least five years, designed to help the poor children who don’t have the means to buy a new pair as soon as they outgrow their old ones.
After teaming up with Proof of Concept, an Oregon-based shoe development company, Lee released the first official batch of shoes in 2014. They came in two sizes: for kindergartners to 4th graders and for 5th to 9th graders. Each of the two versions can be adjusted at three places: straps on the toe, heel and either side. The shoes are made out of compressed rubber and high-quality leather.
Lee’s invention is proving popular in the impoverished nations like Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. As the ordinary donated shoes get quickly outgrown or worn out, more and more people start switching their focus to sandals that grow.
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