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Zappos launches adaptive footwear category for people with disabilities

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Online footwear giant Zappos is launching an adaptive range aimed at the differently abled.

Called the Single and Different Size Shoes test programme, Zappos will offer customers the opportunity to purchase a single shoe or shoes of different sizes from brands including Nike, New Balance and Converse amongst others.

“The Single and Different Size Shoes Test Program is very close to our hearts – we wanted our community to know that we heard them, and continue to listen and innovate based on their needs and wants,” said Dana Zumbo, Business Development Manager, Zappos Adaptive. “Customer service is our number one goal, and we’re endlessly committed to ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and confident in their own shoe or shoes.”

Launching as a “test”, the Single and Different Size Shoes Test Program is initially starting with a small number of brands and styles (with a full range of size and width options). Zappos Adaptive hopes to grow its brand partners as the program continues to develop, expanding the styles and colors available.

The program offers single shoe options for everyone from toddlers to adults in medium to extra, extra wide sizes and retail between 17.50 and 85 dollars.

Zappos follows in the footsteps of brands like Tommy Hilfiger, which launched Tommy Adaptive, an innovative disability-friendly clothing initiative in 2018. The collection includes fashionable items modified to make it easier for the wearer to put them on, such as adjustable hems, one-handed zippers, side-seam openings, bungee cord closure systems, adjustable waists, magnetic buttons and Velcro.

Nike in 2019 improved and expanded its easy-entry footwear system called FlyEase, which it initially launched in 2015.

The FlyEase collection aims to offer more hands-free solutions and make shoes easier to take off and put on. Some of the features include straps that can be adjusted with one hand, drop-down heels, laceless closing, and the ability to modify the shape of the shoe for different foot shapes and sizes.

According to Statista, the global adapative apparel market in 2020 is worth 299.87 billion dollars.

Adaptive apparel is an increasingly interesting product segment for exporters from developing countries. The European population continues to age and in most European countries at least 15 percent of the population report some sort of disability, according to the Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI).

People with disabilities are also increasingly interested in seeking out fashionable choices for their adaptive clothing. The European adaptive apparel market was worth an estimated 70 billion euros in 2018, and is growing due to the increasing share of elderly and disabled populations in Europe.

Image via Zappos

Adaptive fashion
Tommy Hilfiger