Nike Creates a Sneaker for People With Disabilities

A disability is any physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. Latinos count for almost 20% of the disabilities in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census. With that in mind, one of the things people with disabilities suffer with is tying their shoes.  Matthew Walzer has cerebral palsy and isn’t able to put on his shoes by himself, so he took matters into his own hands and reached out to Nike.

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One Walzer’s biggest worries when he was 16 years old and the reason he decided to reach out to Nike was because he was going to go to college pretty soon and he needed a pair of shoes he could put on himself. He wrote a letter to Nike and it went viral, eventually landing in the hands of Nike’s CEO, Mark Parker.

One of Nike’s slogans is: If you have a body, you’re an athlete. There are so many people who just like Walzer have a disability and they don’t have many options when it comes to comfortable shoes. This hit Nike close to home because Jeff Johnson, was the first Nike employee who suffered a stroke in 2004 and he had asked Tobie Hatfield, Nike’s Senior Director of Athlete Innovation to create a shoe for him. It got them thinking about the millions of people that this shoe could help and it was something they had to start working on immediately.