NewsLocal News


How a teenager with cerebral palsy inspired these new shoes from Nike

Go Flyease shoe
Posted at 11:02 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 02:54:25-05

(KERO) — This past week, Nike came out with the Go Flyease, the brand's first-ever hands-free shoe. There’s a special history behind it and it all started with one man struggling with cerebral palsy.

Matthew Walzer was born with cerebral palsy, which weakens your muscles and causes one to struggle with some day-to-day tasks

“It doesn't matter who you are or what adversities you may face in your life,” Walzer said. “There isn’t any barrier that can stop you from changing the world and making a difference in other people's lives.”

Cerebral palsy affects Walzer’s walking, balance and fine motor skills.

As a teenager in 2012, he wanted a pair of shoes but in turn, he changed millions of lives around the world. That all started with an open letter to Nike.

In the letter, Walzer explained how he was able to completely dress himself except for his shoes. As a teenager, he still needed his parents to do this task for him which was extremely frustrating and, at times, embarrassing.

Within a few days, Nike replied.

Over the next few years, Walzer worked with Nike over Skype as he tried on shoes that they sent him.

“I’d give them my feedback on how they fit and how easy they were to get on and off,” he said.

That's how the 2015 Flyease came about.

While the original version had velcro, this past week Nike came out with the newest version of the Go Flyease, making them their first-ever handsfree shoe.

Bakersfield’s Scotty Crabtree, who was also born with cerebral palsy, is now cheering Walzer on from the other side of the country.

“Do whatever you need to get more of these shoes because there's millions of people out there with cerebral palsy that are going to need these shoes to live a better life,” said Crabtree.

Crabtree said the disability community needs these voices.

“He got what he needed done. He wasn't going to stop and neither will I for Bakersfield,” said Crabtree.