We tend to take it for granted in the developed world, but shoes are a luxury in many parts of the globe. By some estimates, there are over 300 million children on the planet who don’t have shoes, rendering them more more susceptible to soil-borne bacteria and parasites. And it’s a difficult problem to tackle. Even if you supply an impoverished child with a pair of shoes, they’re very likely going to outgrow that pair within a year — at which point they’ll need to either modify the shoes or get a new pair altogether.
To address this issue, Idaho-based nonprofit Because International has developed a brilliant solution — an adjustable shoe that can expand as the wearer’s foot gets bigger. The Shoe That Grows, as it’s called, can grow five sizes, and is designed to last five years.
The shoes come in two different sizes: a small version intended for kids in kindergarten to fourth grade, and a large version made for kids in fifth to ninth grade. They’re constructed from leather, compressed rubber, and a series of snaps; so making them bigger is as easy as unsnapping a few fasteners and moving them down a notch.
Because International also designed The Shoe That Grows to be extremely lightweight and easy to transport, making it easier to get them overseas and onto the feet of people in need. According to their creators, the shoes can be compressed for packing and shipping, so you can fit 50 pairs of them into a suitcase.
Because International has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise money for its next batch of shoes. You can donate to the project here, and for a pledge of just 10 bucks, you can send a pair of shoes to a child in need. The company is currently sending them by the duffel bag to impoverished areas all over the globe.
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