In 2015, at the request of a young man with cerebral palsy, Nike designed a shoe meant for people with disabilities that used a wraparound zipper system and larger opening for the foot. Matthew Walzer wrote the company, saying “At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating, and at times, embarrassing. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday.”
The brand accumulated feedback – like adding kids’ sizes and making wider options that would accommodate ankle foot orthotics – and are now releasing an updated version that “…of all the shoes [Nike] has ever made, may be the easiest to get into.” The FlyEase is back, now opening from the heal to the midpoint, using a flatter zipper and velcro to secure the foot.