Sometimes it takes a child to make a difference. A perfect is example is Nike’s latest footwear, the Zoom Soldier 8, is designed for people with disabilities. The Zoom Soldier 8 story began back in 2012, when Matthew Walzer, a 16-year-old who lives with cerebral palsy, wrote a letter to Nike asking the company to consider developing a shoe designed for people who have trouble tying shoelaces. “My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes every day,” he wrote, according to Nike. “As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.”
When Tobie Hatfield, a Nike shoe designer, read Matthew’s request, he immediately got to work developing a prototype for a shoe Matthew and other people with disabilities could wear comfortably. Instead of laces, the Zoom Soldier 8 features Flyease technology, a type of zipper that goes around the heel of the shoe. This makes it easier for people with limited hand function to easily pull the shoes on and off with one hand. The new design includes the same ankle support as Lebron James’s footwear.