Michigan Teen Can’t Find Shoes for His Size 22 Feet
Imagine being 14 years old, 6 foot, 10 inches tall, and having size 22 shoes. Being that size means running into a lot of obstacles in life. Not only are clothes hard to find, but locating a size 22 shoe is nearly impossible.
Eric Kilburn Jr. of Goodrich, Michigan (located about halfway between Flint and Pontiac on the southeast side of the state) is dealing with those issues. He's a freshman at Goodrich High School. Yes, he's on the football team, but finding shoes and cleats is one of his toughest challenges.
He is Still Growing
Doctors say Eric could keep growing for another couple of years, and that means his feet could also increase in size. A year ago, a family friend was able to find six pair of size 22 basketball shoes in Arizona at a Nike outlet. Those shoes have already been professionally stretched because they are getting tight on Eric's feet. He is constantly dealing with blisters and has had to have both of his big toenails removed to avoid recurring ingrown toenails.
Size 23 or 24 shoes are just not manufactured for the general public. The cost of a pair of shoes for Eric could cost $3,000 just for one pair.
His parents have called just about every shoe company possible for help, but they usually end up hanging up the phone with no results. Most companies say that unless he is a professional athlete, that there is nothing they can do.
GoFundMe Campaign Set Up
His parents have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for custom made shoes for Eric. The family is hoping to find a cobbler who can make shoes for Eric not only now, but also in the future, as his feet continue to grow. As of Monday, March 20th, 2023, over $18,000 has been raised for Eric's shoes!
An update from the campaign organizer, Kara Pattisons says...
The family is overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for all of the donations, suggestions, connections and kind words.
It looks like Under Armor is flying a person to Michigan to scan Eric's foot for both cleats (so he can continue to play football) and also shoes. The company also expressed an interest in growing along with Eric.
The success of the fundraiser is more than the family ever expected. It looks now like Eric may have some options in the future for shoes and boots.
Just How Big is a Size 22 Shoe?
A size 22 shoe measures about 16 inches in length. For reference in size, a pizza can be 16" in diameter, some laptops have a 16" screen, and a bowling pin is 16" tall. Over the years, there have been many professional athletes with bigger sized feet. Yao Ming wears a size 18 shoe. Shaquille O'Neal's shoes are size 20. Senegalese professional basketball player Tacko Fall wears a size 22 shoe. Detroit Piston Bob Lanier also wore a size 22 shoe.
World Record Feet?
The largest feet of any teenager on record was a 16 year old German teen who wore a size 20 shoe in 2018. Eric may have already broken that record with is size 22 feet at the age of 14.
Here is a interview that MLive did with Eric...