Man Sees Girl's Woeful Shoes, Invents Incredible Pair

Expanding kicks could help 300M kids who don't have footwear
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 20, 2015 12:14 PM CDT
In this photo taken on Sept. 23, 2014, Because International founder Kenton Lee shows the progression of the adjustable-size shoes in Nampa, Idaho.   (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller)
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(Newser) – Think it's difficult keeping your growing child in fitting shoes? Imagine trying to do it on $1.25 a day. Some 400 million children live in such circumstances, and about 75% of them don't have shoes, Mashable reports. That struck Kenton Lee, 30, when he was working at an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. "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?'” he wondered, per his company's site, when he saw a girl wearing shoes so small they had been cut to let her toes peek out. Now such pairs do exist. The Shoe That Grows is a sandal equipped with various buttons and pegs to allow it to grow along with a child. It lasts five years, the company, Because International, says on its site.

"I had no idea how important shoes were before I went to Kenya," Lee tells BuzzFeed. "But kids, especially in urban areas, can get infections from cuts and scrapes on their feet from going barefoot, and contract diseases that cause them to miss school." The Shoe That Grows sells for as little as $10 per pair, per the website, which notes that 50 pairs can be carried in a suitcase. You can donate to help send the shoes to countries including Ecuador, Haiti, and Kenya. Some 2,500 kids have benefited so far, BuzzFeed notes. (Another recent development in footwear: boots that literally put some spring in your step.)

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