FLYEASE: Sneakers Designed With Disability In Mind


The one lesson we can learn from this story is to never be afraid to express what we need or desire because most likely, there is someone out there that will make it happen.

Nike’s new shoe, FLYEASE, is designed with accessibility in mind, thanks to Matthew Walzer, who asked Nike to design shoes that would help him be self-sufficient.

Matthew was born two months premature with underdeveloped lungs that resulted in Cerebral Palsy. Growing up, he overcame lots of physical limitations, however, because he has flexibility in just one hand, he needed his parents’ help to tie his shoelaces. Cerebral Palsy also causes stiffness in muscles, which makes certain every day activities like slipping one’s foot in a shoe tricky and not so easy. Thus, an easy way for the foot to enter the shoe was extremely important as well.

Nike FLYEASEFearing that he would not be self-sufficient in college, Matthew wrote to Nike requesting if they
could design a shoe that would eliminate his dependence on others. His message went to Tobie Hatfield, a prominent shoe designer at Nike, and he worked directly with Matthew on designing and creating various prototypes and finally reaching a version that Matthew thought worked wonders. 

The FLYEASE hightop sneakers have a zipper in the back that can let the wearer peel the shoe open or close with just one hand. The zipper not only closes the shoe but also provides sufficient lockdown that eliminates the need for shoe laces. With the shoe opening and closing easily, it is easy for someone to take them off and on in even busier areas, like airports.

This shoe can be worn by stroke patients, amputees, people who have Cerebral Palsy or just about anyone who needs improvement in daily quality of life without depending on others.

Watch the following video to see Matthew Walzer’s story and how FLYEASE came to life.


FLYEASE retails at $130.

Source: Nike, Fast Company via Engadget

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