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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nike Letter

Dear Mr. Parker,
My name is Matthew Walzer. I am a high school student and will be a junior at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
I was born two months premature on October 19, 1995. I weighed only two pounds fourteen ounces, and because my lungs were fully not developed, my brain did not receive enough oxygen. As a result, I have a brain injury that caused me to have Cerebral Palsy. Fortunately, I am only affected physically, as others can be affected mentally, physically or both.
I have overcome many challenges in my life. Although doctors from the country’s top hospitals told my parents that I would never walk; and if I ever talked I would have a major lisp, these diagnoses proved to be false, I walk somewhat independently around my home and use crutches when I'm out or at school. I've also never had a speech problem. In fact, I am planning on attending college. I have attained a 3.9 grade point average (4 being the highest) and I am taking advanced placement classes. I have a strong passion for journalism and write for the sports and news sections of my high school newspaper. This year I personally received an award for writing one of the top high school sports columns in my county.
Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday
I've worn Nike basketball shoes all my life. I can only wear this type of shoe because I need ankle support to walk. I am currently wearing the Lunar hyper gamer and LeBron Zoom Soldier 6's. At 16 years old, I am able to completely dress myself, but my parents still have to tie my shoes. As a teenager who is striving to become totally self-sufficient, I find this extremely frustrating, and at times, embarrassing.
I know that Nike makes slip-ons, sandals and other types of shoes. However, I and many other physically challenged people are unable to wear them due to a lack of support. When I think of Nike, I think of one of America’s most innovative and forward thinking companies. Nike is always pushing the limits, making their shoes lighter, faster and stronger by using new materials, new designs and new technologies. This benefits people all around the world. Bill Bowerman said it best, "If you have a body you are an athlete." I believe everyone, no matter what their physical, economic, or social circumstances may be, deserves to call themselves an athlete, and deserves to have a sense of freedom and independence.
If Nike would design and produce basketball and running shoes with moderate support and some kind of closure system that could be used by everyone, Nike could create a shoe line that attracts people that face the same physical challenges I did and still do, yet it could still be possible for anyone to wear them.
I am always searching the web for any type of shoe brand that makes athletic shoes that provide good support, are self-lacing and are made for everyday wear or for playing sports. It is disappointing that no athletic brand has taken the creative initiative to design and produce athletic shoes in this category. I hope that by bringing this to your attention, Nike will consider being the forerunner in producing athletic shoes that will make the difference in the quality of so many lives.

This letter is not a business proposal. I am simply making you aware that there is a need for this type of athletic shoe, a great need.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. No matter what challenges I’ve faced in my life, I’ve always strived to be independent, independence is for everyone.
Best Regards,
Matthew Walzer


  1. This is a pretty inspiring story, and if you don't mind i sent the link of this letter to the Nike company. Just so there's a bigger chance Nike will take the initiative to listen to you. I hope one day you will be able to reach your goal of being completely independent :)

  2. I really hope that Nike/another company does something to make your life easier. Sounds like something they should really look into. Good Luck Matthew!

  3. The "Glove" or the "Shake n Destruct" were great basketball shoe's and they were mainly tightened up by a ZIP..... Come one Nike, get in there!

  4. I hope Nike takes your idea and does somthing great with it. I saw nicekicks on instagram had your link in a letter they sent to Nike. So I decided to see what they were sending and it was your statement above. This is very inspiring.

  5. I have got to add something, this young man writes well and I believe this is America he is USA I really hope Nike step up because I really don't want them to lose consumers over this. great job thank God for you Matthew very inspirational I buy a pair the minute they drop in stores

  6. I have got to add something, this young man writes well and I believe this is America he is USA I really hope Nike step up because I really don't want them to lose consumers over this. great job thank God for you Matthew very inspirational I will buy a pair the minute they drop in stores in support if you Go Matthew

  7. i hope nike makes the perfect shoe for you, and others, and i hope that it will also be affordable.(unlike many of their newer projects) maybe they'll even incorporate their recently patented self-lacing technology in the shoe. hope u do well in college A& that nike gets u the shoe.

  8. Best of luck in college, and thank you for sharing your story. It was inspiring.

  9. Good letter. I am RT this link and also watched Nicekicks video and shared it in the hopes that Nike will read this.

  10. I saw these innovative laces that can turn any shoes into slip-ons. The website is for start-up companies and since they surpassed their fundraising goal they will likely produce more. They're not as cheap as I'd like so I haven't bought them and thus can't tell you how well they work, but look into them. Hope this helps!!!

  11. Matthew, your letter was inspiring and if Nike "picks up the ball" they will have a new huge feather in their cap by developing this great idea. I truly wish you success in your quest

  12. Matthew,

    Just tweeted at you but I also suffer from a mild form of cerebral palsy on the left hemisphere of my body. I played sports in high school but was definitely limited because of inappropriate foot wear per my condition. Self sufficiency was my one mission. My heart goes out to you man and it seems like you have the right attitude and approach to go far, regardless of who ties your shoes. Keep on trucking

  13. I hope they see this letter and you get your shoes.

    You rock.

  14. It would be great if a portion of the proceeds from the shoe go into research for Cerebral Palsy, or a fund to see you through college. Good luck man!

  15. This would be appealing to people with disabilities and anyone with fine motor/dexterity issues including aging boomers with arthritis. This could extend the Nike brand to boomers who want to continue to be independent, stylish and keep their cool factor while having function that could assist them. Good luck! I'll try to help by posting @Independence1st on this.

  16. AWesome letter. I have so many friends and students with disabilities who struggle with shoes, either with the lacing aspect or trying to fit them over AFOs. In my case, I have a slight foot deformity from rheumatoid arthritis -- just enough to make most shoes not fit right.

    Way to speak up!

  17. Hey Matt,

    Super inspired by your letter. I may be able to help connect you to the right people at Nike. Please DM me your email address on Twitter @reidsplace so I can make the proper introductions. Let's make this happen.

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  20. Hello from a mom of an awesome 10-year-old with CP. This letter was AWESOME, and I am so glad it got you results!

    1. Hi Ellen, You may want to check out a line of footwear called Quikiks. They allow you to easily step into the shoes and have them securely fasten without the need to bend over or use your hands at all while providing great support.

  21. Will be the best for our population with CP and Autism. Please help..

    Oneida Rivera, UCPSA

    1. Hi Oneida, You may want to check out a line of footwear called Quikiks. They allow you to easily step into the shoes and have them securely fasten without the need to bend over or use your hands at all while providing great support.

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  23. Hi Matt, Thank you for sharing your personal struggles and frustrations. You may want to check out a line of footwear called Quikiks. They allow you to easily step into the shoes and have them securely fasten without the need to bend over or use your hands at all while providing great support. Best of luck in college!

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