Practical compassion & The shoe that grows project

A not-for-profit humanitarian organization run entirely by volunteer help

The Idea

The Shoe That Grows started when Founder and Executive Director Kenton Lee was living and working in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007. One day while walking to church, he noticed a little girl in a white dress next to him who had shoes that were way to small for her feet. That led to questions about why. And finally an idea: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand – so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?” And just like that The Shoe That Grows was born

Interview with Kenton Lee

1) What is practical compassion?

Practical compassion is our mission to help meet the needs of those living in poverty in really simple, everyday, practical ways. We don’t have all the answers for all of the big issues facing the world. But we believe that we can focus on helping people with everyday life things – really simple, practical things.

2) When you started with this project, did you expect such a broadcast ?

No, not at all. This has been amazing and very unexpected. We did not plan on this (and we really weren’t ready for it, either!). :)

3) What have you learned giving life to this project?

I have learned a lot. We have learned a lot about kids, life in poverty, feet, etc. We have learned a lot about shoe design, prototypes, and manufacturing. And we learned a lot about not being afraid to fail and believing in your ideas.

4) What would you ask to the fashion industry ? and to the consumers ?

I think I would ask them to keep being kind and generous to those living in extreme poverty. So many companies already do a lot of philanthropic actions. And I appreciate that so much. But I would just encourage them to keep finding ways to help out – keep looking for great partnerships – and use their creativity and talents to help those living in poverty.

5) What is “the shoes that grows” dream?

We hope to provide a pair of shoes for every child who needs them. We hope that we empower and train local people to manufacture these shoes in the places where they are being used the most. We hope that The Shoe That Grows can inspire others to use their creativity to make a difference in the world.

About the Shoe

The Shoe That Grows is a patented design of an innovative shoe that adjusts and expands. It was developed in part by a shoe development company in the Northwest called Proof of Concept.
The shoe comes in two sizes: Small and Large. Each size grows 5 sizes and lasts at least 5 years.
Small = Grows 5 sizes – From Kindergarten to 4th Grade
Large = Grows 5 sizes – From 5th Grade to 9th Grade.
The Shoe is made with simple materials – leather, compressed rubber, and snaps. No mechanical parts of gears to break. Easy to clean. Easy to use.

Learn more, get involved, help here.

We thank Kenton for his warm words, and wish a lot of success to this project.

You can get more information about Practical Compassion here, like “how to get involved”, “their programs” and “recent news”.