Nike’s newest shoe inspired by disabled college student

Nike’s newest shoe, the Zoom Solider 8 Flyease, features a wrap around system inspired by Matthew Walzer, a college sophomore who has cerebral palsey.

The Florida teen loves basketball and LeBron James. However, Walzer’s condition has left him with flexibility in one hand, making it hard to accomplish simple tasks including lacing up his shoes. In 2012, Walzer penned an open letter to Nike CEO Mark Parker asking for a shoe that he could put on by himself. The letter led to a four-year project to create a shoe that can be easily opened with one hand.

According to a company video, the Flyease’s design builds on a shoe that was originally created for Nike’s first employee Jeff Johnson. Johnson had suffered a stroke that left one side of his body nearly paralyzed.

Both shoe designs open and close at the heel. However, the Flyease features a zipper tab that can “peel open” for easy entry.

Nike Designer Tobie Hatfield said, “The main thing was about him getting in the shoes, adjusting the shoes, closing the shoes and then be able to get out of the shoes all by himself and we gave it to him.”

“I’ll never forget that night, taking them out of the box and putting them on,” Walzer recalled. “I just felt this wave of independence that I never got to experience before.”

Once the company made a shoe just for Walzer, it wanted to make that shoe available to the public.

The Flyease will go on sale tomorrow, according to ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell. The Huffington Post said the shoe will be available in limited qualities in North America.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit toNike

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