Nike’s Shoe for Disabled People Doesn’t Include Disabled Women

A headline from People proclaims “Nike’s New Sneaker Will Solve a Very Important Problem for People with Disabilities“. Similar headlines can been found from USA Today, Huffington Post, Glamour, and so many more. Another key article title  comes from it reads “Nike Designs Flyease to Improve the Quality of Life for Disabled Athletes“.

All of these articles are talking about Nike’s new FLYEASE technology which allows a person to put on a shoe by opening the heel and just sliding their foot in and closing the shoe around the heel. The new design removes the need for laces. So for those of us with hand dexterity issues, shoes using this technology are a breakthrough.

I have been seeing the articles about the shoes, Nike FLYEASE Zoom soldier 8 everywhere around the internet for the last few days including on blogs specifically devoted to disability issues.

Most of the press around the new shoes includes references to Nike’s mission statement which includes the line “If you have a body, you’re an athlete”. Which is a great sentiment. Too bad it took Nike this long to include disabled people as a targeted market.

All of the run up marketing for the shoe’s release today has had a focus on all disabled people and includes this video from Nike explaining the inspiration for the shoe and why it’s important to include disabled people.

The video talks about both a Nike employee who had a stroke and a young man with cerebral palsy. Both of whom were instrumental in having Nike design the technology and having them bring it to market. The video is very clear about the wide ranging applications for shoes like this. Designer Tobie Hatfield says “it’s not just about stroke victims. It’s not just about cerebral palsy. It’s about all of it and thus the FLYEASE technology”

The language surrounding the technology and the shoes is so universal that you might believe it when they say disabled athletes or people with disabilities. I did.

I waited for today (the official product launch and googled Nike Zoom Soldier 8. I found them at Footlocker, they seem to be selling well as many sizes are already unavailable (or they just seriously understocked).

The problem, they are only available in the Men’s section. There is no corresponding design for women. So when they were talking about people with disabilities and disabled athletes. They really meant men with disabilities.

I thought that I must be mistaken so I searched for FLYEASE and women and got nothing. I went to shoe websites and searched new Nike arrivals for women and still no accessible shoe for women.

The product news announcement on Nike’s website doesn’t mention a separate launch for a women’s version of the shoes. Just a lot of talk of including disabled people even though women don’t seem to be included.

So if everyone with a body is an athlete. What about disabled women’s bodies? Do we get shoes too? Or was there some mistake and I just haven’t found them yet?

Seriously Nike, let me know.


I e-mailed Nike about this and their response so far boils down to “we’re looking into it”. If I get anything more concrete I’ll update again.

7 thoughts on “Nike’s Shoe for Disabled People Doesn’t Include Disabled Women

  1. I have several read on-line articles about these shoes and I cannot tell if they are created in an extra-depth model for people like me who wear thick orthoses due to cerebral palsy. Also, can a lift be added, again, for folks like me with a leg length discrepancy? In general, I have not found a solution to my desire for dress shoes givens he specfic issues I have. I know this was not Nike’s purpose but just saying, it would be nice if one of the specialty shoe manufacturers could do this without getting sued–eaters used to till they were sued by Sketchers, for stealing their MaryJane-like design. Of course, Sketchers do not make exrtra depth shoes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I appreciate your article. I have a daughter with a Spina Bifidaand just yesterday we went on the always ill fated shopping trip to purchase shoes.mshe wears AFO’s and the only shoes that we can technically purchase are those with Velcro closures to keep her AFO secure. I was excited to see Nike was now making accessible shoes and have wanted for years to pen a letter to a shoe distributor about this matter, but was so disappointed tonight when the went online to see if I could purchase some for Grace with a gentler more feminine look and feel. No such Luck…..again I shall cry after our shoe shop that Grace will forever have to wear no name Velcro shoes regardless of how they look or make her feel. Peace, Grace’s Proud Momma

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a stroke with a TBI about 14 years ago, and there is no tennis shoe except for the New Balance shoes with Velcro. I am embarrassed to tell you I have been wearing the same shoe for that long because of an injury I had, which left me without use of my right hand. I have written New Balance more than once explaining my dilemma. All I got was a limited reply but no she except for the Velcro one they have in stock. I am physically fit and go back to the gym at least some twice a week with my trainer. I have done that for four years, maybe five. The reason I am writing to you is because Nike should have designed a shoe for women with disabilities. I cannot believe I am writing this in 2015.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have spastic dysplasia cerebral palsy it makes my gait very unstable and I tend to walk on my toes. I need support and motion control with cushion because I have a very heavy step. I hate shoes shopping because there’s nothing out there that does it all. I still work on my feet 15 hours a week making pizza and prepping food. I have no choice can’t make it on disability. I would love shoes that have what I need.


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