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Stride Rite Releases Adaptive Sneakers for Kids With Disabilities

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What to know: Stride Rite, a leader in the children’s footwear industry, unveiled its first-ever adaptive sneakers for kids with disabilities. The new shoe, called Journey, is designed to accommodate orthotics, braces and extra wide widths, and features longer laces and adjustable straps, removable insoles, and a pull tab to get on and off easily. The sneaker is being launched as a part of the company’s Project Fit Rite, to “let kids focus on one thing: just being kids.”

The Journey features:

  • Functional pull tab to easily put on the shoes
  • Removable insoles to help adjust foot depth
  • Longer adjustable hook and loop straps that can be cut for a custom fit
  • Extra wide width to accommodate most orthotics
  • Longer laces to allow for more room if needed
  • Toe guard to protect from scruff

Stride Rite turned to social media to ask customers for help when designing the Journey. The company conducted surveys and fit tests with kids with disabilities during their process.

#ProjectFitsRite wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing Stride Rite family that answered surveys, provided feedback and wear tested Journey to help us find the perfect fit. Thank you for making this possible. — Stride Rite

The Frontlines: Finding clothing and shoes that are accessible, comfortable and easy to wear independently can be challenging for people with disabilities. Thanks to advocacy from the disability community, many fashion brands are starting to recognize the benefit of adaptive clothing and universal design in their products. As a result, any companies have added adaptive apparel to their clothing lines.

  • In 2017, Target added adaptive apparel made specifically for kids and toddlers with disabilities to its children’s line Cat & Jack
  • Tommy Hilfiger launched a line of adaptive clothing for children in 2016
  • Nike released accessible sneakers for people with disabilities in 2016
  • Kohl’s added adaptive apparel to its three largest children’s brands in 2019, bringing sensory-friendly and adaptive clothing options to Jumping Beans, SO and Urban Pipeline

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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Annie Donahue, shared the challenges of shoe shopping for kids with disabilities. “Shoe shopping can be difficult for people with disabilities such as spina bifida, spinal cord injury, or cerebral palsy. Their feet are often clubbed, different sizes from each other, or just smaller than the average size for someone their age.” You can submit your first person story, too.

From Our Community:

Cool adaptive kids clothing #Autism  #CP   #DownSyndrome

Other things to know: Here are some other Mighty articles that address adaptive clothing and shoes for people with disabilities:

How to learn more: Journey shoe sizes are available for little and big kids and are machine washable. The shoe is currently available in two colors and sells for $52. Stride Rite plans to design more adaptive features into different styles in the future. Check out the Project Fit Rite collection on Stride Rite’s website.

Header images via Stride Rite/Instagram

Originally published: July 29, 2020
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