Teen With Cerebral Palsy Inspires Nike To Release Stylish Hands-Free Shoes

February 2, 2021

In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a 16-year-old with Cerebral Palsy, wrote a letter to Nike asking why they did not have athletic sneakers for people with disabilities.

The marvel below is the Nike GO FlyEase.

For Walzer, tying his own shoes has been a major challenge in his life. So, he wrote a letter to Nike, explaining that it was his dream to go to college without worrying about someone having to tie his shoelaces day in and day out.

Part of the letter reads:

"My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day. I've worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe, because I need ankle support to walk. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing."

nike flyease shoe
Matthew Walzer and Tobie Hatfield / Nike.com

Walzer's letter inspired Nike designer Tobie Hatfield to create a shoe that would address his specific need.

"I worked with Matthew just as I would with any athlete. He was an absolute pleasure to work with," Hatfield said.

On Monday, Nike introduced its most innovative design to date.

Behind the shoe's smooth motion is a bi-stable hinge that enables the shoe to be secure in fully open and fully closed states.

The Nike GO FlyEase is available initially via invite for select Nike Members, with broader consumer availability planned for later this year.

Watch the video below.


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