Local WA shoe steps up school fashion

Local WA shoe steps up school fashion

A unique shoe design that was developed in Washington continues its popularity among children returning to school in their new shoes. BILLY Footwear has a unique zipper closure that is both fashion-forward yet adaptable. This easy-to wear style has been embraced by both children as well as adults.

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Adaptive clothing is for people with disabilities or limited dexterity. They can have difficulty dressing or manipulating closures such as shoelaces. However, it also benefits children. According to the CDC, almost 14 percent of adults have a mobility-related disability. Yet, mainstream retail has not been able to offer fashion forward adaptive options. The co-founders of Washington’s Washington Natives, Billy Price and Darin Trumpson, have set out to change this trend by creating an inclusive shoe design with universal appeal.

An Idea with Sole

Price was paralysed from the chest down after he fell from a three-story window while attending University of Washington in 1996. Price had to choose between wearing unfashionable Velcro and needing assistance in lacing his shoes. He wanted shoes he could put on himself, despite his limited mobility, that he could still enjoy wearing.

Price pitched his idea to Donaldson in December 2011. Donaldson was working on his own shoe project. Donaldson created an illustration to help him visualize the idea. This later led to a physical prototype. It was Price’s first time in 18 years that he was able put on his own shoes. This moment was so special that they knew they had to share the design with the rest of the world. BILLY Footwear was born.

Billy Price and Darin Donson, Co-founders at BILLY Footwear

Although shoe zippers are not new, the use of a zipper to expose the footbed completely was revolutionary. The upper half of the shoe folds down when the shoe is unzipped, giving the wearer easy access to the insole. The laces can be adjusted to adjust the shoe’s fit if they have laces. Once you have the perfect fit, tie the laces and remove the zipper.

Adaptive zipper closure design for both kids and adults.

Adjustable zipper closure design for adults and children.

How to Fit a Shoe

BILLY Footwear was encouraged by the initial success of their shoes to expand their business to reach more people who could be benefited from the design. They had tried before to get an SBA loan but were unsuccessful. As their business grew, they needed a partner in banking who could facilitate the loan.

“The market for these shoes was there,”Price explained “We needed a loan to expand our product line and get it out into more of the marketplace.”

“We were impressed with their innovative product and solid business plan,”Jason Gill, a senior manager of commercial relationships at the company, was recalled. First Fed. “It’s a pleasure to help local PNW businesses get the funds they need to continue to grow and succeed in new markets.”

BILLY Footwear received additional funds to expand their product range and move into a larger warehouse that could hold more shoes to meet current demand. The company has plans to expand their product line and move into a larger warehouse in the Midwest as the demand for the shoes continues to grow.

“Jason and the team at First Fed have been incredibly supportive throughout this process,”Additional Price “It was refreshing to build a relationship with a banker that felt like a friendship, instead of the revolving door of people you work with at most banks.”

BILLY Footwear was recently featured in First Fed’s First Checking campaignThis video shows the shoes in action.

Fashionable Foot at the Door

BILLY footwear made waves on the big screen with their red sneakers being featured in the blockbuster film Ghostbusters Afterlife. The adult version is sold out, but kids’ sizes are still available.

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Zappos approached BIILY footwear this summer to design a shoe that commemorated the 2022 Special Olympics.

BILLY Footwear sneakers designed for the 2022 Special Olympics

BILLY Footwear sneakers for the 2022 Special Olympics

“We had a lot of positive feedback on our colorful sneaker for the Special Olympics. The only issue was that people wanted it in adult sizes, and this design is only available for kids,”Price explained

The BILLY Footwear team was always fashion-forward. Their shoes could be worn by anyone, regardless their physical abilities. There are a variety of styles for both kids and adults, in a variety of patterns and colors. They are just as fun to wear as they can be functional. Their variety of styles includes sneakers and snow boots.

“We want people who wear BILLY Footwear to feel trendy and confident,”Price explained “You should not be forced to choose between fashion and function. Our goal is to create and offer shoes that everyone wants to wear—rooted in universal design and inclusion—that can accommodate all audiences. Those that need the function are empowered. But let’s be honest, everyone loves a convenient shoe.”

You can purchase BILLY Footwear shoes through their website. billyfootwear.com

First Fed is a member FDIC, and an equal housing lender.

Sound Publishing, Inc. did not have any role in the preparation of this article. The sponsored post does not reflect the views and opinions of Sound Publishing, Inc.

Sound Publishing, Inc. is not responsible for any damages or losses caused by the use any products. We also do not endorse any products that are posted on our Marketplace.

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