Being the tallest man in America means you probably have the biggest feet in America, too, and as you can imagine, it’s not easy finding shoes. Igor Vovkovinskiy has been searching for his perfect sole mate for almost 15 years.
“Doing the simplest thing like walking a couple of meters down the hallway is just excruciating pain,” Vovkovinskiy tells HLN affiliate WBZ. “I’ve basically been a prisoner in my own home.”
Vovkovinskiy -- originally from Russia and now lives in Minnesota -- has a pituitary gland problem, which has caused him to soar to 7 feet 8.33 inches tall.
He started an online campaign for a new pair of kicks, which are going to cost him a fortune. He set out to raise $16,000 and already has over $44,000 in donations! On his Go Fund Me site, Vovkovinskiy says he has had 16 surgeries on his feet because of bad shoes.
Reebok saw his plea and decided to step in, offering to foot the bill for a custom pair of sneakers, which will cost them somewhere between $12,000 and $20,000 (and you thought your Air Jordans cost a pretty penny!).
The reason for the crazy price tag? Reebok doesn’t even have equipment big enough to make a pair that will fit, so everything has to be custom made. Vovkovinskiy wears a size 25; compare that to Shaquille O’Neal’s 22 or Yao Ming’s 18 and you can see what they’re dealing with!
Reebok will have to measure and computer map Vovkovinskiy’s feet, test to see where he applies the most pressure and create custom molds. Then they’ll build a prototype sneaker, make some adjustments and, finally, after several months of waiting, he’ll get his new pair of shoes!
This is usually such a non-event for the rest of us, but for Vovkovinskiy, it truly will be a life-changing occasion. He says he can’t wait to get out of the house and do normal, everyday activities like walking his dog.
Since Reebok is picking up the cost of this first pair, Vovkovinskiy says he will use all of his donations to buy sneakers for the rest of his life. He may even look into boots, sandals or dress shoes!