Monday, 27 March 2017 16:02

Size 28 shoes!!

In over 30 years as a podiatrist the weirdest shoe size I’ve ever seen was a men’s size 15AAAA. That was a custom-made shoe that looked something like a 2 by 4. It was extremely long and narrow!

I just read an article about a 19-year-old fellow from Michigan who has a disease called Sotos Syndrome. He was at one time in the Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest teenager in the world. He is nearly 8 feet tall and they are not sure when he will stop growing!

He needs a size 28 shoe - which is impossible to find. A new 3-D shoe company called Feetz made him a 3-D printed shoe which fits him perfectly. This is a heartwarming story and a wonderful illustration of the power of modern technology. But I couldn’t help but think…

If this teenager had been merely a size 22 he could have gone to Friedman’s Shoes in Atlanta. This is a famous shoe store that has catered to people who need large size shoes since 1929. It is a family business in its third-generation. In the past whenever NBA players would be in Atlanta they would stop by and by their large size shoes. People would sometimes wait to see certain NBA stars.  Friedman’s was the subject of a very touching documentary on ESPN called “30 for 30.” From the film’s promo:

“There was a time when a small shoe store in downtown Atlanta was the center of the athletic universe. The time was the turn of the 21st century, the store was Friedman's, and the customers were the biggest names -- and biggest feet -- in sports: Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, Charles Barkley, Dave Winfield, Shaquille O'Neal. Presided over by owner Bruce Teilhaber, Friedman's specialized in large sizes and exotic leathers, and players thought nothing of spending a hundred thousand dollars on footwear. Due to changing tastes and on-line retailers, Friedman's isn't what it used to be. But it's still there, and in this film directed by Danny Lee, Shaq returns to slip his size-22 feet into the good old days.”

The future belongs to the 3-D shoe printing company and not an old family shoe store. It is wonderful that Feetz was able to provide this Michigan teenager with a SIZE 28  3-D printed shoe that fit him. Technology marches on and we are its beneficiaries. But there’s always something lost with something gained!

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