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Shoes that grow as children’s feet grow

The Shoe That Grows as a child's feet grow; photo from Facebook

The Shoe That Grows as a child’s feet grow; photo from Facebook

Anyone who buys shoes for children knows how quickly their feet grow. Kenton Lee stumbled onto a way to solve the problem of the constant demand for new shoes while he was living and working in Kenya. He saw children in too-small shoes and sighed a wish: for a shoe that could grow right along with the youngsters.

Now The Shoe That Grows, a Nampa, Idaho non-profit, is manufacturing those shoes. Lee’s innovative design comes in two sizes, small and large. A series of straps, snaps, brads, and holes turns each size into a shoe that expands five sizes and is expected to last five years.

With so many parasites and diseases entering children’s bodies through their feet, The Shoe That Grows not only provides sturdy foot wear. It has the potential for improving health.

The shoes are distributed through partner organizations working in Africa, Haiti and Ecuador. Volunteers fill a duffel bag with shoes and distribute them where they are needed.

Looking at the cleverly designed shoes makes me think they are a terrific idea for reducing waste as well. The Shoe That Grows is made of durable leather and compressed rubber. They can stand up to tree climbing, mud puddle stomping, playground racing and anything else children subject their shoes to.

The Shoe That Grows is still a young company, but Lee’s idea for practical compassion has a lot of traction. The bright red “Donate” button makes it easy for anyone to support the work. And you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.


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Judith - June 12, 2015

Dear Cathryn,

I wish these had been around either when i was working in the developing world or when raising my son : ) I would like you to know that I am forwarding this post to several dear ones who are working in Malawi, Nepal, Guatemala, and other countries in the developing world. Thank you for raising our awareness!


    Cathryn Wellner - June 12, 2015

    I thought of you, Judith, when I came across this group. Thanks for sharing their work with friends in countries where children might benefit from these special shoes.

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