The United States is a country on the go, but it’s easier for some Americans to get there than others. According to the Podiatric Medical Association of America about 7% of Americans suffer from limb loss, and about 20% of Americans suffer from a condition resulting in different sized feet. Factors contributing to this include diabetes, cancer, bone related deformities, and accidents. That’s 86 million Americans who face a difficult time fulfilling the most basic task necessary to be a functional member of society – buying shoes.
Most of us take for granted the ability to buy shoes. We are limited only by size, comfort, and a style that fits our pocketbook. For tens of millions of people, however, this seemingly mundane task is fraught with difficulty and unnecessary waste. Americans who do not have two feet of the same size are forced to buy shoes in matched pairs, effectively discarding the other shoe. The Center for Mobility Disparity estimates that tens of millions of dollars are wasted each year on shoes that are not needed and never worn. “It’s really a national epidemic,” says center director George Hassenfield. “Most Americans have no idea of the struggle that shoe challenged Americans face. It hits women and minorities particularly hard.” Continue reading