Nike is not the only sneaker company thinking about accessible shoe design. Reebok announced that it is partnering with Zappos to launch its first adaptive footwear collection, called Fit to Fit. The collection has two sneakers designed for easy entry and exit for people with disabilities.
The shoes are designed in collaboration with Zappos Adaptive – the e-commerce site’s vertical that acts as a shopping center for accessible shoes, clothes and accessories. $ 90 Nanoflex Parafit TR are sneakers that have a mesh upper, side zipper and heel pull tab. Meanwhile, the Club MEMT Parafit is $ 65 lifestyle sneakers with an extra 4E wide fit, side zipper and leather upper. Both shoes have durable rubber outsoles for better traction, lace closures and removable sock linings for orthotics. Reebok also says the shoes are low cut for better mobility.
The idea behind including both lace closure and zipper is that you can unscrew the laces once to adjust the fit. Then you can just use the zipper forward to get in and out of the shoe. The zippers also have zippers, so they are easier to use. The shoes come in unisex sizes and can be purchased individually or in pairs.
The shoes are available on both Reebok and Zappos’ websites in several colors and sizes. As of today, you can also get 2022 Special Olympics USA versions of the Nanoflex Parafit TR. For people who want to buy single shoes, this option will be sold exclusively at Zappos, but the companies did not provide specific timing. Just that it would be “soon”.
This is not the first time we have seen available sneaker designs in recent years. Nike struck out in 2021 when it introduced the Go FlyEase, which were hands-free sneakers with a bistable hinge. However, these sneakers caused controversy as Nike only had a limited number in stock. This, in turn, led to disabled people not being able to easily buy the shoe as retailers grabbed them and sold them at a high price.
We’ll have to see how Reebok handles accessibility. Hopefully, hypebeaster does not ruin this for the communities that could really benefit from Reebok’s design. That said, it’s still an encouraging sign to see more companies create adaptive footwear that benefits everyone.