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Reebok to Outfit Feet of America's Tallest Man

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SOLE MAN
DailyFeed

Unless they play professional basketball, people with pituitary disorders are hard-pressed to find a pair of shoes not custom made for them by some big-name athletic sponsor. Men’s sneakers at sporting goods chains like Foot Locker (FL) top out at size 18, which has forced NBA teams over the years to commission specially tailored kicks for its more endowed players.

Reebok outfitted the size-19 Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal’s size-22 tootsies. In the NCAA, Nike (NKE) was contracted to construct size 26 shoes for former University of North Carolina-Asheville point guard Kenny George.

But Igor Vovkivinskiy, the tallest man in America, standing at 7’8”, didn’t opt for a career with a sports franchise that would cater to his footwear needs. Instead, the 29-year-old Ukrainian immigrant from Rochester, Minnesota has been lumbering around on his between 22-26-size feet in shoes, so ill-fitting, that they’ve caused infections and deformities.

Despite Vovkivinskiy’s lack of celebrity, Reebok decided to make an endorser out of him yet. “When Igor came to us and we heard his story, we were more than happy to completely fund the creation of his footwear,” Reebok’s chief marketing officer Matt O’Toole said in a statement released to Today.com. “It is our goal to make fitness accessible to everyone.”

To be fair, Vovkivinskiy wasn’t a complete unknown. Desperate to defray the prohibitive $16,000 cost of a pair of custom shoes -- which includes laser scans, molds, and labor -- the human Bigfoot launched a Facebook fundraising campaign and had managed to raise $37,000 from an online community of sympathetic strangers.

Reebok learned of the campaign and graciously stepped in. On Friday, the apparel company announced it would fly Vovkivinskiy out to its Canton, Massachusetts headquarters and design and engineer a pair of shoes unique to his own oversized piggies. The project is estimated to cost between $12,000 and $20,000.

There’s already a gigantic shoe kicking around out there that would be a perfect fit for Vovkivinskiy, if he only managed to grow a size -- or 100 -- more. Made by the Nationaal Fonds Kinderhulp (a Dutch children’s fund) the 18x9 foot Converse Chuck Taylor All Star replica, holds the Guinness title as the world’s largest shoe. Of course, orange would have to be Vovkivinskiy’s color.
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