CANTON (CBS) – If you’ve ever had trouble finding shoes that fit, imagine what it’s like to be the tallest man in America. A local company is helping Igor Vovkovinskiy, and it’s going to be a life changer for him.
Igor stands 7 feet, 8.333 inches tall. The Guinness Book says he’s the tallest man in the U.S. The predictable proverb says, to know someone, you should walk in his shoes, but right now, even Igor can’t walk in Igor’s shoes. Life over the past several years has been terrible. “Doing the simplest thing like walking a couple of meters down the hallway is just excruciating pain.” he says. “I’ve basically been a prisoner in my own home,” he adds.
Igor is from Russia, but came to the states as a child. He has a pituitary gland problem which caused his unusual height. He lives in Minnesota now, but has come to Mass. to find footwear. “I’ve been searching for perfect shoes now for almost 15 years,” he says. Igor has been cramming his sore feet into shoes he received six years ago after foot surgery. Specially made shoes would cost thousands of dollars. When he mentioned that online, strangers started donating, and now sneaker giant Reebok has decided to help. “This is a huge thing. We’re going to be able to make a change in this guy’s life,” says Reebok’s Ambrose Hayes.
Reebok brought Igor to its’ Canton HQ for the most high profile, high tech shoe fitting ever. Igor’s shoes will cost between $12,000 and $20,000. Why so much? Reebok spent all of today measuring and computer mapping Igor’s unique feet. They made special molds and even tested the bottoms of his feet to see where he places the most pressure. The equipment to make such enormous shoes doesn’t exist, so they will be custom made. After a prototype is developed Igor will test them out, adjustments will probably have to be made, and after several months, he’ll have a new pair of shoes. Reebok has made shoes for big feet before, size 19 for former NBA star Yao Ming and size 22 for Shaquille O’Neal. But Igor wears a size 25. The company had to bring in equipment from Europe just to do some of the measurements.
Igor says new shoes will spring him from a wheelchair he sometimes uses around the house and get him out and about. “Oh, just going for a walk with my dog, just walking around the neighborhood, just getting back to normal everyday activities,” he says.
Since Reebok is picking up the tab for these shoes, what will Igor do with the money people have donated to him? He plans to hang onto it to buy sneakers for the rest of his life…..and boots and sandals and even dress shoes.