Nike isn’t the only sneaker company thinking about accessible shoe design. Reebok announced it’s partnering with Zappos to launch its first adaptive footwear collection, called Fit to Fit. The collection features two sneakers that are designed for easy entry and exit for people with disabilities.
The shoes were designed in collaboration with Zappos Adaptive — the e-commerce site’s vertical that acts as a shopping hub for accessible shoes, clothing, and accessories. The $90 Nanoflex Parafit TR are trainers that feature a mesh upper, side zipper, and heel pull tab. Meanwhile, the $65 Club MEMT Parafit are lifestyle sneakers with an extra 4E wide fit, side zipper, and leather upper. Both shoes feature high-abrasion rubber outsoles for better traction, lace closures, and removable sock liners for orthotics. Reebok also says the shoes are low-cut for better mobility.
The idea behind including both the lace closure and zipper is that you can do up the laces once to adjust fit. Then, you can just use the zipper going forward to get in and out of the shoe. The zippers also include pull tabs so they’re easier to use. The shoes come in unisex sizing and can be bought in singles or pairs.
The shoes are available on both Reebok and Zappos’ websites in multiple colorways and sizes. Starting today, you can also get 2022 Special Olympics USA versions of the Nanoflex Parafit TR. For folks looking to buy single shoes, that option will exclusively be sold on Zappos, but the companies didn’t give concrete timing. Just that it would be “soon.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen accessible sneaker designs in recent years. Nike made a splash in 2021 when it introduced the Go FlyEase, which were hands-free sneakers featuring a bistable hinge. Those sneakers sparked controversy, however, as Nike only had a limited number available in stock. That, in turn, led people with disabilities to be unable to easily buy the shoe as resellers snapped them up and sold them at a high markup.
We’ll have to see how Reebok handles availability. Hopefully, hypebeasts don’t wreck this for the communities that could genuinely benefit from Reebok’s design. That said, it’s still an encouraging sign to see more companies create adaptive footwear that benefits everyone.