It took just one instance in Kenya, in 2007, when Kenton Lee noticed that a little girl in a white dress next to him had shoes that were way too small for her feet. That one instance set him on the path to creating The Shoe That Grows, a low-cost-high-lifetime shoe that expands up to five sizes and lasts for over five years, for underprivileged children around the world… and helped mold the philosophy behind his non-profit organization Because International, with the aim of “making things better by making better things.”
Kids grow fast, which means they outgrow their clothes and shoes rapidly too… forcing low-income-family children to either wear shoes even after they stop fitting, or walk around barefoot. On a mission to make one shoe that lasts through this growth process, Kenton launched The Shoe That Grows, an innovative piece of footwear that expands to fit children as they grow with age (much like the Petit Pli clothes that expand in size).
Ill-fitted shoes are uncomfortable, but walking barefoot leaves children vulnerable to soil-transmitted diseases and parasites that can cause illness and even death, aside from the cuts, burns, and blisters. The Shoe That Grows combats the unfortunate scenario where children outgrow their footwear by being the one pair of footwear that grows with them. Extending at the front, sides, and the back, the sandals work simply like a belt would… expanding with size and necessity. With a tough, compressed-rubber sole, leather body, and durable metal clips, the sandals boast of high-quality, high-durability, but low-cost materials to provide one solution that accommodates expansion up to 5 sizes and lasts for years, even under rough conditions. Available to own and/or even distribute, Because International lets you not just experience the expanding sandals (or expandals!) first-hand but also fundraise and be a part of their noble undertaking. Go ahead… put your best foot forward!
Designer: Kenton Lee (Because International)