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Sci-Tech

The shoe that grows with a child

Technically Incorrect: A nonprofit working with those in extreme poverty in Kenya creates something that so many parents wish they could find: a shoe that grows five sizes.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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A simple idea. Shoes that are adjustable as the foot grows. Because International/Vimeo screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We buy, we wear, we discard, we buy again.

This is the simple cycle of the privileged West.

Not everyone has that luxury. Not everyone has the money to buy clothing for every stage of their growth (mental or physical).

Because International is a nonprofit that works with the poorest people in countries all around the world. It saw a simple problem. Children grow. Their feet grow. But how can anyone afford to give them shoes, when it seems like they need a new pair every year?

Because International - The Shoe That Grows in Action from Tobin Rogers on Vimeo.

So the company's executive director, Kenton Lee came up with an idea: a shoe that can be adjusted to grow as a child does.

All it takes it some snaps, some buckles and a few buttons that hold it all together. Lee told BuzzFeed that these shoes can grow five sizes and can last up to five years.

It grows in three parts of the shoe. The front is adjustable. The sides have snaps that allow for additional width. The back has a strap, which also allows for greater width over time.

Because International works in countries such as Ghana, Haiti, Kenya and Ecuador. It relies on donations in order to distribute the shoes in bulk.

If poor kids have shoes at all and those shoes become too small, they either carry on wearing the shoes in discomfort, or just go barefoot. The latter option leaves them open to the risk inherent in, for example, contaminated soils.

It seems such a simple idea that one wonders why no one seems to have thought of it before. Of course, it's also an idea that might have its uses in the wealthy world, as well as in impoverished places.

There again, how could we possibly live without constant shopping?