Teen Matthew Walzer NikeWhen you think about international brands with heart, you may not think about Nike … but maybe you should. The shoe and sports apparel company just did something that garnered them some very well deserved positive sports PR.

Teen Matthew Walzer has Cerebral Palsy, but he won’t let that slow him down. Matthew wants the freedom to care for himself, in the same way, any of the rest of us does.

But, because of his medical condition, Matthew cannot tie his own shoelaces. Instead of complaining or deciding on life in Velcro, Matt wrote a letter to Nike suggesting they make a shoe he can take on and off himself. After all, he was planning to leave for college soon and wanted to be able to do that sort of thing without someone helping.

Nike sent a polite reply to Matthew, thanking him for his suggestion and wishing him well in college. Um, wait, no they didn’t. The company not only thanked Matt for his suggestion, they actually designed a show specifically for Matt and decided to mass market it for everyone who has trouble using their hands.

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaNM_T1d1as

The process took some time with Matt and Nike designers working together remotely, across over 1,000 miles. Eventually, Matt came in to try on the very first finished pair of shoes, the Flyese.

The purpose, say the designers, is not just to help people with disabilities, but to help everyone … because eventually, everyone becomes less able. It’s true. No matter how healthy you are today, eventually, you will lose some of that capability. By creating and promoting a shoe aimed directly at helping people who are not traditional athletes Nike has not only expanded its potential customer base for its athletic shoes but also proven to be a solid company with a heart to help.

Nike tells everyone “if you have a body you’re an athlete.” In this, they are putting their money where their motto is. Well done, Nike.