In 2007, Kenton Lee was living in Nairobi, Kenya. One day he noticed a little girl wearing shoes that were way too small for her feet. Lee wondered, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand, so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?” And “The Shoe That Grows” was born.
Children walking barefoot face many dangers. They are vulnerable to soil-transmitted diseases and parasites that can cause illness. Children who get sick miss school and can’t help their families. In fact, if shoes are required to attend school, children without shoes may have gaps in their education.
But children’s feet grow quickly, so they often outgrow donated shoes within a year, leaving them again exposed to social and physical ills. In response, The Shoe That Grows has designed a pair of shoes for children living in extreme poverty.
The organization worked with industry experts to create a simple design using compressed rubber (similar to that of a car tire), antibacterial synthetic, and high-grade, tactical Velcro®. The shoes have no mechanical parts, are relatively easy to clean, and are available in three sizes, each able to grow five sizes. The cost for each is just $15.
The Shoe That Grows is the first project of Because International, a nonprofit headquartered in Nampa, Idaho, which is committed to practical compassion.