At 7 foot 8 inches, Igor Vovkovinskiy, a 29-year-old Ukranian immigrant now living in Minnesota, is the tallest person in the United States, and one of the tallest in the world. Such height can bring a person mild fame—Vovkovinskiy, for instance, has been given the title of "World's Biggest Obama Supporter"—but it can also be a curse. In Vovkovinskiy's case, that curse is a literal pain in the feet.
For six years now, Vovkovinskiy hasn't been able to find a pair of shoes that properly fit his monstrous feet, which are so big they can't even be measured. Instead, Vovkovinskiy wears shapeless clogs, which have no arch support and no traction for Minnesota's icy streets. Without good, stable shoes, Vovkovinskiy has suffered a rampant degeneration of his feet, forcing him to undergo 16 surgeries in the last five years. Vovkovinskiy has written to every major shoe brand in America begging them to make him a custom pair of shoes. Only Reebok responded, telling Vovkovinskiy that making his shoes would cost a whopping $16,000. Vovkovkinskiy, a college student, couldn't afford Reebok's asking price, so he gave up his dream of finally getting some comfy kicks. But then the internet came along.
Goaded on by his friends, in the beginning of March, Vovkovinskiy set up a website asking for donations to help him buy a pair of shoes. Less than four weeks later, hundreds of Americans have contributed more than $30,000 to the Vovkovinskiy shoe fund, allowing him to buy at least two pairs of quality shoes. It turns out TOMS isn't the only one operating in the charity shoe space.
If you'd like to donate to Vovkovinskiy's quest for some decent shoes, check out his fundraising page.