Sometimes it’s the simplest inventions that are capable of changing millions of lives, and that’s certainly the case with The Shoe That Grows. Invented by Kenton Lee, this sandal can adjust its size to the wearer, allowing children living in impoverished nations to grow up knowing they’ll have shoes to wear for years at a time. These remarkable shoes can stretch 5 sizes and last at least 5 years.

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Research shows there are over 300 million children around the world who do not have shoes and countless more with shoes that do not fit. Children who do not have shoes are more susceptible to injuries and to parasites that infect humans through the feet. While many shoes are donated on a regular basis, they do not last, and the developing children quickly outgrow them.

These innovative new shoes are now available for anyone to purchase. You can certainly buy yourself a pair or buy some for your own children — I know my Mom would have been thrilled to have these around when my siblings and I were younger — or you can buy the shoes in bulk and have them sent directly to the children in countries that need them the most.

How Kenton Lee Put His Idea Into Action

Lee said in an interview with BoredPanda:

The design process was interesting because I am not a designer and I knew nothing about shoes. I was just a normal guy with an idea. We found a shoe development company called Proof of Concept in Portland, Oregon. They were the perfect partner to help design our shoes. We are confident in the durability of our shoes because we designed them first and foremost for function and not fashion. In fact, we didn’t care at all what they looked like (even though we are happy with how they turned out). We just wanted to make the longest-lasting shoe possible. Purely functional. We did not cut any corners with the materials that we used. The sole is compressed rubber – very similar to a tire rubber. The rest of the shoe is high quality leather. Just quality, solid, long-lasting materials. We are sold out of our first batch of 3,000 pairs of shoes and we have 5,000 pairs coming in July. Right now our shoes are in Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, Vietnam and Laos. The most shoes are in Kenya. We have just been overwhelmed by all the support and publicity. This has been amazing. We are a very small organization, but we are growing and excited for the future.

This is something you can do to make a tangible, practical difference in the lives of children in need. Unlike when donating to charity, you won’t have to worry about where your money is actually going or how it is being spent, because you are purchasing the shoes and having them sent directly to the children in need from a country of your choice.

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Check out their website for more information and updates on current projects.

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