Shoe shopping may be the hobby of choice for many fashion-loving women and sneaker-obsessed men, but it doesn't come easy for everyone--especially if you're Minnesota-native Igor Vovkovinskiy.
Vovkovinskiy, America's tallest man standing at 7'8", made local news a few weeks ago when his public battle to find a pair of well-fitting and supportive shoes for his size 26 feet looked like it was headed for defeat.
Upon contacting Reebok in hopes that the brand would outfit him in a pair of shoes--shoes that could help him re-build lost muscle and shed the pounds he gained due to his 15 surgeries over the last three years--the sneaker giant named a whopping price of $15,000 for custom-made footwear. This was a price the college student just couldn't afford.
Thankfully, someone else was ready to step in to fulfill the big man's not-so-big wish: namely, Greg Johnson, founder and chief technology officer of wellness footwear brand Palidium.
Johnson noticed Vovkovinskiy at a Minnesota Timberwolves game this week--Vovkovinskiy, who is a huge Timberwolves fan but can't typically fit into a standard stadium seat, was there as a guest of the team--and a light bulb immediately flashed on.
"When I heard he was raising money on his own to get a new pair of custome shoes, I knew my company could help," Johnson recalls.
The footwear founder contacted Vovkovinskiy through Facebook and offered him a pair of state-of-the-art sneakers featuring Palidium's ZeroTie technology, which uses a wheel-actuated shoe lace tightening mechanism to automatically tighten and loosen shoe laces.
"This is first-of-its-kind technology," Johnson insists about the ZeroTie shoes, which are slated to hit shelves this fall. "Igor will be the first guy on his block--or in the state, for that matter--to have a pair of these shoes," he notes, adding that the kicks "will give Igor the added comfort and ease he needs to be more active."