Sometimes the best gadgets are the simplest ones, and the Because International Shoe has invented an affordable, comfortable, and durable show that actually grows with kids as their feet quickly leapfrog sizes as they grow up.
Take the windmill: a cross-shaped wing is fastened to a rotating shaft that is pushed by the wind and turns the attached grinding mechanism below.
This simple and age-old invention not only fed the masses for centuries upon centuries, but it also led to the evolution of the wind power generators of electricity.
Any parent can tell you that kids grow extremely fast.
Clothes sizes often change monthly instead of yearly, especially early on in a child’s life.
Shoes in the Western cultures, if not around the world, have often had their own dividing line of no name brands that fall apart before they’re outgrown or hold up but are terribly uncomfortable to brand name shoes that sometimes hold up and are comfortable but much more expensive.
And that is why when Kenton Lee founded the nonprofit Because International he dreamed up an idea of “making things better by making better things . . . [and he] didn’t know a thing about shoes.” The company board went to the experts: “we started by contacting all the big companies — Nike, Adidas, Crocs, Toms — to see if they’d like to take the idea and make it happen,” said Lee. “Nobody was interested.”
What was born with a partnership with Proof of Concept that is manned by Nike and Adidas alum, Gary Pitman, was the Because International Shoe designed to last five years and grow up to five sizes, not just in length but in width as well.
The shoe is a beefy sandal made of leather for the straps and with compressed rubber soles, like car tires, to hold up and provide comfortable support.
They sell between $12 and $30 depending on what cause is buying them in bulk, and this is clearly less expensive than many good shoes on the market today and these will grow with the child and last more than mere weeks.
Lee volunteered at an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, and saw firsthand the myriad children with curled feet or those who cut the fronts of their shoes to allow for their growing toes.
Lee’s goal with the non-profit is to help children of developing nations by producing the shoes.
For the time being Because International is relying on other nonprofits and donations to distribute the shoes, though he hopes the company can one day have their own factories in the very countries they are helping around the world.