When 16-year old Florida high school student Matthew Walzer reached out to Nike CEO Mark Parker on social media back in 2012, he had no idea that he’d be the inspiration for the iconic athletic gear company’s newest sneaker launch . Walzer has cerebral palsy, a condition that impairs his muscle control, movement, flexibility, and posture. His disabilities don’t allow him to do many independent tasks in life, such as tying his shoes. Until now.
Walzer’s roadblock set Nike’s designer Tobie Hatfield in motion, constructing a prototype basketball shoe that not just Walzer, but all kinds of people with disabilities could benefit from—the Zoom Soldier 8 Flyease. Working with the likes of LeBron James and Elena Delle Donne, the Flyease’s design incorporates a wrap-around zipper closure system that easily slips off and on, offering not only physical but emotional support for those with disabilities.
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