In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a teenage boy who has cerebral palsy, wrote a letter to Nike requesting they make an easily accessible shoe line for people who have handicapping conditions. His letter went viral and ignited an inspirational phenomenon leading to his wish actually coming true — Nike is launching the Lebron Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease basketball sneaker, a revolutionary new shoe designed for people with disabilities that will completely change the game.
As part of Lebron's shoe line, the sneaker features Flyease, a cutting-edge new technology with an easy "entry-and-closure system for athletes who have trouble getting in and out of shoes, and securing them.", according to Nike.com.
The design replaces standard shoelaces, which are especially difficult for people with motor issues to maneuver, with a zipper that wraps around the ankle, Mashable reports. When unzipped, the opening is large enough to simply slip your foot right in without any uncomfortable adjusting necessary.
Flyease creator, Tobie Hatfield, was already involved in projects to aid athletes dealing with physical challenges, so working with Walzer on Flyease was a natural fit. What the two came up with now enables Matthew, and millions of people facing similar challenges, to become more independent while feeling confidence and accomplishment. "Taking them out of the box and putting them on. I just felt this wave of independence that I never got to experience before." Matthew tells CNBC.
I am so moved to see such a powerhouse corporation forge a new path that utilizes their resources to impact so many people's everyday lives. In the words of Hatfield as reported by Huffington Post, “If you have a body, you’re an athlete." Amen.
Take a look at the innovative design.
Check out this video below, which delves deeper into the creative process behind Flyease.