14-year-old Eric Kilburn Jr. is 6'10" and still growing. He and his family have struggled to find shoes to fit his size 22 feet, but multiple brands have reached out and offered to make custom shoes for him.
Eric Kilburn Jr. is getting a shoe deal and he’s not even a pro athlete.
He's a 14-year-old kid with feet that hurt from wearing size 22 shoes that are too small. Now, after media reports of his mother's desperate search to find him shoes that fit went viral, he will be getting proper footwear.
“It’s crazy,” Eric Jr., a 6'10 High School freshman and JV football player, said. “I mean, I am going to be in comfortable fitting cleats and shoes and I am astounded at the doors this has opened for me. I am excited to see where this goes. Thank you.”
His mother, Rebecca, can’t stop crying after hunting for the past year to find shoes to fit her son.
“It’s been overwhelming,” she said. “I have been this puddle of emotions, all of them good… It’s the coolest thing to be able to say we did it! He has shoes! I am not usually a crier, but I have been in a constant state of happy tears…We are so grateful.”
The outpouring of support has been non-stop since last Thursday, with social media shares, phone calls and emails from as far as Asia and South America. Among the companies offering to help the Kilburns are Under Armour and PUMA, both of which have already scheduled representatives to come to Michigan to begin fitting Eric for shoes. Both will arrive within the next two weeks.
Under Armour Senior Director of Footwear Development Robb Cropp has scheduled a visit and will scan the biggest pair of feet the company has ever made shoes for.
Max Staiger, head of basketball operations for PUMA, said “There is no mold size for this, because it’s such a rarity from a mass production perspective,” Staiger said. “What we will make looks and feels like a normal shoe, with just a little tweak. ... We’ve done this before with no issue at all. $1,500 for any pair of shoes is almost insanity, I don’t care what size it is.”
That is the price the Kilburn family had been facing to have one pair of shoes custom made for Eric through an orthopedic specialist. The cost is not covered by medical insurance despite Eric suffering numerous foot issues and injuries from wearing shoes that are too small or the wrong kind in which to play sports.
Rebecca has formed a “Big Shoe Network” group on Facebook after many parents have told her they are having the same issue finding shoes, starting around size 15.
A family friend started a gofundme to help.
Hundreds of people have donated thousands of dollars to the growing 14-year-old who one-day dreams of playing in the NFL.
That page has raised over $19,400.
Click here to check out the GoFundMe.