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LeBron James Helps Design Sneaker for Disabled Athletes
- Updated: March 22, 2017
During his 14 seasons in the NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has displayed his philanthropic side in a variety of ways. The most recent example is the announcement of a new sneaker that he helped design which has been specially adjusted to accommodate disabled athletes.
Tom Withers of the Associated Press wrote that the LeBron Soldier 10 FlyEase is similar to James’ signature shoe, with some key differences. For example, the sneakers can be secured with zippers and Velcro straps, don’t require laces and can simply be slipped on a disabled child’s foot.
The reason for this special design was explained by Tobie Hatfield, who designs shoes for James’ main sponsor, Nike:
“One of the key learnings we’ve had in crafting accessible footwear is the importance of easy entry and exit of the shoe, not just simplifying its fastening system,” Hatfield said. “Eliminating the intricate hand movement of lace tying is important, but if the athlete cannot get their foot into the shoe, lacing becomes a moot point.”
Last week at the team’s practice facility, James hosted a number of disabled children from the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation in order to give each of them a pair of the new shoes.
This game continues to humble me… it’s bigger than basketball, it’s about kids & dreams. These shoes are for the athlete & the dreams in every kid, regardless of their physical ability. A special thank you to the young kings & queens from Cle Clinic Children’s who helped me debut the new Soldiers!! #striveforgreatness🚀 #nikeflyease
“It’s about us empowering every kid and everybody to understand we are all athletes,” James said. “Sports should never be taken away from a kid. It creates fun. It creates laughter. It creates brotherhood or sisterhood. To be able to have shoes that are easy to get on and off gives kids another opportunity to live out their dreams.”
James and the Cavaliers return to the court on Wednesday night when they travel to take on Denver Nuggets.