America’s Tallest Man Gets New Size 24 Shoes

Oct 19, 2012 2:23pm
ap tallest igor vovkovinskiy jt 121019 wblog Americas Tallest Man Gets New Size 24 Shoes

Rochester Post-Bulletin, Michele Jokinen/AP Photo

You won’t find these in your local Foot Locker.

These would be the three pairs of size 24, 10E custom-made shoes that the tallest man in America, Igor Vovkivinskiy, just received from Reebok.

The Canton, Mass.-based athletic shoe company gifted the 7 feet, 8 inches tall Vovkivinskiy his new shoes on Thursday, thereby growing his shoe closet from one to four.

“This is the first time in my life that I have a choice in shoes,” Vovkovinskiy, 30, told the Rochester Post-Bulletin. “They look like they come right off the shelf, only better.”

READ MORE: World’s Tallest Man Stops Growing

Vovkivinskiy, a Minnesota college student, began his very public quest for a new pair of shoes in March when he started a website to help raise funds because, a new pair of shoes for him costs as much as $15,000.

“I do not have a shoe size. I have not had a shoes size since the age of 16 (about),” Vovkivinskiy wrote on the site.  “They [his feet] are each deformed terribly now. I have spent a total of 3 years on bed rest. Why did I have 16 surgeries? Because none of my shoes for too long have been made specifically for my feet.”

Vovkivinskiy said at the time that he’d had the surgeries on his feet because of problems caused by ill-fitting shoes and that his last remaining shoes were so inadequate that he was effectively relegated to a wheelchair part-time.

Within six days Vovkivinskiy had raised more than $30,000 but, more importantly, his website caught the eyes of officials at Reebok who invited him to their Massachusetts headquarters in March.  There Vovkivinskiy had his feet measured, tested and scanned to ensure his shoes, all paid for by Reebok, would be a perfect fit.

He also got to play a role in their design, selecting  “Igor” on each as well as the Tryzub Cross, a Ukrainian national symbol, the Post-Bulletin reports.

On Thursday Reebok officials traveled to Vovkivinskiy in Minnesota to present the shoes, and a few size 8XL Reebok t-shirts, in person.

“For so long it hurt to have shoes on.  Every day I was in pain,” he told the Post-Bulletin.  “I’m going to be able to go to the store for groceries or the hardware store if I need to fix something at my mom’s house.”

Vovkivinskiy’s local newspaper also reports that Reebok officials worked with Vovkivinskiy while he was in Massachusetts on developing a fitness plan to help him shed the weight he’s gained while the pain in his feet kept him inactive.

“I want to be active again and walk,” said Vovkivinskiy, who set 350 pounds as his goal weight.  “I can barely walk two blocks now. Before, I could walk two miles.”

Vovkivinskiy has reportedly lived in Minnesota since 1989 when he traveled there for treatment at the renowned Mayo Clinic.  There was no word on what he planned to do with the $30,000-plus he raised on his own through his website now that his shoe wishes have been fulfilled.

Vovkivinskiy and Reebok did not return calls for comment today.

ABC News’ Colleen Curry and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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