A shoe for every foot

The Shoe That Grows
Kenya (Nairobi)

Shoes might not grow on trees – but this one grows itself. The Shoe That Grows has a clever design that means it can expand up to five sizes. Designed by experts and made of sturdy materials like rubber and velcro, every pair is designed to be durable enough to last for at least five years.

There are over 1.5 billion people around the world suffering from soil transmitted diseases and parasites, which good quality shoes can help to prevent. For those who can’t afford new shoes – especially when kids’ feet grow as quickly as two sizes each year – these self-growing shoes offer protection and comfort. They also give children access to education, as many schools require that students wear a uniform that includes shoes.

Made and distributed by Because International, pairs of The Shoe That Grows have already reached more than 140,000 children in 97 countries. Production has moved from China to the areas where shoes are most needed, in order to create jobs there too – first to Ethiopia and Haiti, and, as of 2019, all shoes are made by a local manufacturer in Kenya.

Meanwhile, Because International have also developed the Expandal – expanding sandals designed for maximum comfort and durability and available to buy in the US. Rather than needing new shoes every few months, kids can hold on to their favourite sandals and send fewer to landfill – and adults can find shoes that fit perfectly and are built to last. Each pair bought means more pairs of the original The Shoe That Grows can reach children around the world.

The Shoe That Grows

Atlas Action: Send light and shoes to refugee children in Afghanistan and Tanzania via The Shoe That Grows’ latest partnership with Luminaid. Or buy a pair of Expandals for you or your kids, and support The Shoe That Grows’ mission.

Know of a project that’s transforming the fashion sector? Submit it here, and we’ll spread the joy by mapping it on the Atlas.

Written by

Becca Warner (07 August 2020)


Nature-geek, urban forager and all-round wordy sort. Freelance strategist and writer for organisations that care about the future. Often found reading while walking.

Project leader

Kenton Lee, Founder


This project has been selected as part of FashionFutures, a new  content channel that maps the work of people transforming the fashion sector: the designers, craftspeople, social innovators, educators, community leaders and communicators. Atlas of the Future is excited to partner with Makerversity, with the support of The J J Charitable Trust and their network of fashion friends.

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  1. Brian Kinloch Kirke

    great idea!

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