Timberland brand creates custom shoes for child with AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis)

sandalsTimberland footwear may be known for their rugged shoes but they should also be known for their “kind souls.”  The footwear company based out of New Hampshire recently went out of their way to provide a custom footwear solution, at no additional charge, for a THERAPY 2000 family member’s young daughter. The family was having issues finding shoes that fit over their daughters new AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis). THERAPY 2000, t2000.com is based in Texas and provides in home pediatric occupational, physical and speech therapy for children with developmental delays and disabilities.Ira Kirkley’s (Executive Director of Strategic Development at THERAPY 2000) daughter was in need of some new summer shoes after a recent surgery and six weeks of wearing casts. Ira’s daughter has cerebral palsy and has received treatment from THERAPY 2000 since long before he became an employee. She needed new, larger AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis) to support her mobility. AFOs provide support for weak muscles and place the ankle-foot in the correct position for walking. As is common with children with cerebral palsy, walking is made difficult due to excessive tone in her muscles.  Though just what the doctor ordered, the family was having a difficult time finding a shoe that would fit over her new, larger AFOs. This is a common problem since most shoes are not wide-enough, too tight in the toe box or require lacing which is difficult for many children wearing AFOs.  Parents often turn to velcro strapped shoes as a solution but most are not designed long enough to stretch over the AFOs.

Mrs. Kirkley found a pair of purple and pink Timberland sandals at a local retailer that she knew her daughter would love since they matched the color of her new[ap1]  AFO’s.  Unfortunately the straps weren’t long enough to fit around the cast.  She contacted Timberland to inquire about options.  Timberland product coordinator, Amy Kennison, spoke with Mrs. Kirkley and had her take measurements of her daughter’s foot. Amy then quickly got in touch with a Timberland shoe engineer. The engineer volunteered to design two pairs of custom sandals, one for her current size and one size larger for her next pair based on the ones she liked with modified, longer Velcro straps.  Amy then got in touch with the factory to get the shoes made.  Amy felt the project was, “meant to be,” since it came together so seamlessly and the company offered the shoes as a gift to the family.  In an email thanking Amy, Mrs. Kirkley shared a picture of her daughter in her new Timberland shoes and shared that her daughter was very excited that she could finally put on her own shoes!  The whole family was pleased with the outcome. Mr. Kirkley explained, “They offered them to us for free and over-nighted them to us!  Pretty amazing customer service.  Most importantly, my daughter loves them.”

According to Timberland.com their mission is to equip people to make a difference in their world by creating outstanding products and by trying to make a difference in the communities where they live and work. Well done then Timberland!

THERAPY 2000 Provides occupational, physical and speech therapy to children across Texas in the comfort of their home or daycare. Visit T2000.com to learn more

Editor’s note:  Since this blog post ran, Timberland has received additional requests from families for custom-fit sandals.  Though the company wishes it could say yes to every request, it unfortunately does not have the capacity to do so.  Timberland has agreed to help the families who have made requests to this date, but unfortunately will not be able to accommodate any additional customizations.”

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