Every so often, an inventor comes along that sees a problem in the world and comes up with an elegant solution to fix it.
Grant Delgatty saw how congested the streets of Los Angeles were getting and created the URB-E to help people get around. And everyone remembers the “Supergirls” from the White House Science fair and their page-turning invention to help those with arthritis read books.
The same could be said for Idaho native Kenton Lee. While working in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Lee saw something that is unfortunately all too common in Africa: children running around barefoot or in shoes several sizes too small.
“It got me asking questions and finally all these questions led to an idea – what if there were a shoe that could adjust and expand? What if we had a pair of shoes where they could just adjust their shoes any time their feet grow? That way they will always have a pair of shoes that fit.”
What he came up with was The Shoe That Grows, a shoe that uses adjustable buckles and a strap on the toe to expand by five sizes. They resemble a typical sandal—compressed rubber sole with a soft leather top—but come with strategically placed buckles on the toe, sides and heel that can turn a shoe for a two-year-old into a shoe for a six-year-old. This video explains how the shoes work and explains Mr. Lee’s vision for the children in developing countries who need them the most.
You see, as any parent will tell you, children’s feet grow incredibly fast. Between the ages of two and six years old, a child’s foot usually goes up a size almost every few months. The Shoe That Grows can relieve the pressure on parents’ wallets here in the developed world. But in developing nations like Africa, they can solve an even bigger problem. The risk of running around barefoot in these countries can be pretty severe–Children can cut their feet and get infections while they can also pick up parasites like worms through their skin.
That’s why Mr. Lee is working with an organization called Because International, which aims to send the shoes to orphanages in Africa. They are hoping that other charities and health workers will take shoes out with them when they visit areas to hand out to children. “I really feel that we have created something incredible,” says Mr. Lee. And we couldn’t agree more.
Inventions like The Shoe That Grows combine the innovative mind with the entrepreneurial spirit and uses a great cause as motivating force. We can’t wait for another invention like this to come our way so can share it with you!
photo credit: Dailymail.co.uk