Shoe grows five sizes, fits needs of children for years

Shoe grows five sizes, fits needs of children for years

A special kind of shoe has been created; you can call it Clever Engineering. The drivers behind the shoe describe the effort as Practical Compassion. "There are over 300 million children who do not have shoes. And countless more with shoes that do not fit. Sometimes they receive donations of shoes, but these are kids. Their feet grow. And they outgrow donated shoes within a year. Right back where they started," said The Shoe That

The 's team working with children in Kenya have provided shoes that can adjust as the foot grows. These shoes can grow five sizes and can last up to five years. There are only two sizes to work with: Small and large. With these two sizes, they said, children from kindergarten to later school-age years can have a pair of shoes that fit.

Kenton Lee, leader of The Shoe That Grows undertaking, started the project when living and working in Kenya. Because International was founded in 2009, headquartered in Nampa, Idaho. The was developed in part by a company called Proof of Concept. That company is a team of footwear experts. They describe themselves as "Shoe Dogs," and they turn to digital tools such as 3D computer modeling, rapid prototyping to work out ideas.

The shoes are made of heavy-duty snaps, some buckles and a few buttons. Materials used include leather and compressed rubber for the soles. The shoe can grow in three main places. The front is an adjustable toe piece. The sides have snaps that allow the shoe to expand. The back grows, using the expandable heel strap.

Donations can enable the group to distribute the shoes in bulk. They have a goal to give as many shoes out to kids as possible. They do it by resourcing churches and other organizations. They made a video appeal for more donations because they want to get out their next order of 5000 pairs, said Lee.

Footwear for poor rural populations around the world is an extremely important resource to help ward off parasitic diseases transmitted from the soil and in environments with inadequate sanitation resources. In addition to infections from the soil, mere cuts and scrapes can also make the skin vulnerable to infections. "And being sick = struggling. Kids miss school, can't help their families, suffer with pain. Many of these diseases and parasites get into the body because people don't have shoes," said The Shoe That Grows team.

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Apr 21, 2015
Cool idea if it works out.

I have a problem believing the sole of that shoe is going to last 5 years though. My son could wear out the soles of sneakers and dress shoes inside of 6 months for the sneakers and maybe a year with the dress shoes when he was a kid.

Must be some really tough rubber they plan on using. I'd like to set a set of those soles to put on a pair of shoes myself.

Apr 21, 2015
The simplest shoe alternative is surely the Ho Chi Minh sandal, cut from a scrap tire, cheap and tough.
This is a lot more expensive, but it probably is better for the kids.

Apr 21, 2015
I'm in my 60s, even my shoes are wore out in a year!
The soles start to go, the seams on the uppers break loose and the shoes need replaced after one year.
Sure, I could spend $300 plus for USA made shoes, but I'm not going to do it at my age.

A 5 year shoe for kids, keep dreaming.

Apr 22, 2015
The problem has largely been solved by the enterprising people in the developing countries themselves:


This is just another "Give me money so we can 'help' the poor." kind of money grab.

Don't give the kids free shoes - you're just destroying the shoemakers' trade in whatever country you donate to and increasing their poverty. They haven't yet the ability to manufacture these things domestically, so you're only making them dependent on your mass-produced junk - which is the whole idea behind these enterprises, whether it's Microsoft handing out free laptops or the Red Cross distributing old clothes.

If you want to help an impoverished people, give them resources and training so they can learn the tools to the trade and become self-sufficient.

Apr 22, 2015
Why is a supposed science site pushing "appropriate technologies" for countries that are being looted by IMF conditionalities?

Apr 24, 2015
Why are they "poor people's shoes"? Why don't I buy a pair at the two pair price, I put one pair on my granddaughter and the the other pair goes on a needy child's feet at my expense (shipping included) with a thank you note to the poor child for sharing a common experience with my little darling. And, when these shoes show up on TV or the Internet, and the kids see their shoes all over the world, I think this would take off. ..just sayin'...

Apr 27, 2015
How long does a child's shoe last due to wear and frequent flexing? My (self-engineered) sandals always fail by cracking across the rubber soles. This takes a year or two from the beginning. The next weakest parts are the strap/sole connections. Ideally each strap should be joined to the sole in such a way that it doesn't develop a crack due to the greater stiffness of the sole causing the strap to be bent sharply there. Capacity to withstand wetting without the leather becoming stiffer is also a significant criterion. I think you will find that instead of supplying an expensive shoe that meets all of these (and more) criteria, it is economically sounder for new but simpler replacement shoes to be provided.

Apr 27, 2015
As you will see in my previous comment, I am not sold on this concept! Instead it would make more sense to supply a sandal that is easy to repair and for which (say) a two-hour course of instruction in its maintenance (with simple tools) would go with it. As is common in poorly developed communities, it is a lack of education rather than the low quality of the goods items, which need improvement to do the greatest good.

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