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.”