In this month’s Where Are They Now we revisit Because International, a non-profit that created The Shoe That Grows — a flexible shoe that adjusts and expands gradually, and can fit a child’s foot perfectly for five years.
As any parent will know, kids’ feet grow at an alarming rate, and in the developing world, there are three million children that go barefooted. This puts them in danger of contracting soil-transmitting parasites and diseases, to say nothing of the extreme discomfort often experienced when walking considerable distances to school.
We first wrote about The Shoe That Grows in June last year, and since then, the Because International team has added modifications to their shoe in response to feedback from those who wore them. These included a wider base, a third snap added to the middle portion (which allowed the shoe to expanded even further), and the heel was redesigned to have a buckle. The team has plans to implement a feedback program to better track the results of The Shoe.
To date, approximately 31,000 pairs of The Shoe have been distributed in over 25 countries, with many orders expected throughout the year. “It has been a whirlwind,” founder Kenton Lee tells us, “And all of us at Because International are so excited The Shoe is reaching more children.”
In terms of challenges and key learnings, logistics has been perhaps the biggest hurdle for the team to tackle. International shipping, for one, can be tricky. To remedy this, Kenton explains, “we provide organizations and individuals with the necessary information to get through customs without any surprises.”
Currently, the team are developing a closed-toe Shoe. They want to create a pair of footwear with the same high quality of materials, longevity, and durability as the original version of The Shoe That Grows. This year, they are also planning on releasing The Shoe in pink. “There will be four available colors: Tan (original), Black, Blue and Pink.” Kenton says, “We will also be releasing an adult line of The Shoe That Grows.” (Currently The shoe is available in size small — ages 5 to 9 — and large — ages 10 to 15).
Reflecting back on Because International’s progress, Kenton says: “The support is amazing. We are so excited people from all over the world are joining our mission of practical compassion. Every donation, every distributer, every volunteer means more shoes, for more kids. We are excited to see what happens with The Shoe That Grows this upcoming year. We have a few benchmarks we would like to meet in 2016 – the future is looking bright.”
You can read more about The Shoe The Grows here.