The Innovative Kids Shoe That Grows Up to 5 Sizes

A simple, brilliant design that stands to change millions of lives.


Rwandan children.

(Sarine Arslanian /

The idea for The Shoe That Grows was sparked in the simplest of ways. In 2007, the startup’s founder Kenton Lee was living and working in Kenya. One day, he noticed a local girl wearing shoes that were far too small for her feet. Like millions of children living in poverty around the world, her parents couldn’t afford to buy a new pair of shoes every time she outgrew them. Lee got to thinking: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand – so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?” Eight years later, the answer to that rhetorical question is a resounding “yes”!

The Shoe That Grows expands up to five sizes, with adjustable snaps and straps on the front, sides and back. Each pair lasts up to five years, as they’re made from high quality materials built to endure. The shoes come in two sizes - small and large - that generally fit kids 5 to 9 years of age and 10 to 14 years of age respectively.

Although the shoe is a stellar example of elegant design solutions to world issues, the design itself only represents half the equation. Now, these compassionate entrepreneurs want to make sure the shoes make it to the people who need them most, and so their work continues.

The product is currently sold out due to massive support via crowdrise crowdfunding campaign, but that doesn't mean operations are on hold. The organization is taking donations to fill duffel bags with shoes once they're in stock, which will then be sent out to the places that need them most - including Mexico, Malawi, India and Cambodia. The Shoe That Grows compresses into itself so that 50 pairs can fit into a regular suitcase, which can be shipped on a plane. One suitcase can provide shoes for 50 children, for up to five years. Pretty incredible.

Follow one of the red, shoe-filled duffels on its journey to Kenya, here:

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