It has been nearly a decade in the making, but Nike finally released a sneaker that can be put on completely hands-free. This is a game changer for countless people with disabilities, and it all started with a letter the company received back in 2012.
At the time, Matthew Walzer was 16 and frustrated by the lack of accessible tennis shoe options, as his cerebral palsy limits his mobility. Moved, Nike got to work and released a few progressive designs over the years, but the 2021 Nike Go FlyEase is by far the best one yet!
In his letter, Matthew wrote, “I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”
So in 2015, Nike launched the original FlyEase, a sneaker with no laces. They sent a pair to Matthew, and he was absolutely thrilled.
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“Your talented team of designers has thoughtfully created a shoe that, for the first time in my life, I can put on myself,” he told them. “When I put the shoes on every morning, they give the greatest sense of independence and accomplishment I have ever felt in my life.”
The company’s newest release went a step further as the tennis shoes are not only lace-free but also hands-free. The heel hinges, so a person’s foot can slip right in. Then, as they step down, the mechanism locks the shoe back in place.
While Matthew was the inspiration behind this entire line of sneakers, Nike hopes these shoes will be worn by people with disabilities, women in their third trimester of pregnancy, dog walkers, parents with their hands full, and basically anyone who would benefit from a slip-on shoe.
These shoes will make life better for so many people, and none of it would have happened if Matthew didn’t speak up and ask for more. He is tangible proof that one passionate person can transform the world for the better!
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