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Every parent’s dream: Expandable children’s shoes that fit long enough to be worn out are on the way

No more trips to the shoe store every school vacation! Kids’ expandable shoes that stretch to fit growing feet head to High Street stores

  • British firm will launch a shoe for children under 7 years of age that can be extended a full size and a half
  • Shoe brand Pip & Henry develops £80 shoe with mechanism to lengthen sole
  • Stretchy material and extendable base will double the life of your kids shoes
  • John Lewis eco-fund gives manufacturer £250,000 to help combat ‘throwaway culture’
  • Nine out of ten of the 80 million shoes bought in the UK each year end up in landfill

A stretchable children’s shoe that can stretch a size and a half could soon appear in British stores.

Shoe brand Pip & Henry is developing the new invention for children under seven, the age when children’s feet grow the fastest.

Founder Jeroo Doodhmal said the mechanism could double the life of the shoes. Toddler shoe sizes change about three times a year.

The out-of-the-box idea is being funded by John Lewis, who gave Pip & Henry £250,000 through his £1m green fund.

Stretchy material in the upper and an interlocking mechanism in the sole will stretch out the shoe

Stretchy material in the upper and an interlocking mechanism in the sole will stretch out the shoe

Ms. Doodhmal, 38, said The Guardian: ‘I think we’re a year away from it being in stores.

“We have to test the prototypes and then take them to industry experts for feedback…then come up with a final concept that’s ready for commercial launch.”

Pip & Henry’s sustainable children’s shoes cost £60, with the expanding range likely to cost £20 more, the founder said.

“It is my ambition to keep the cost as low as possible,” he explained.

Every year Britons buy 80 million pairs of shoes, with 85 per cent ending up in landfill (file image)

Every year Britons buy 80 million pairs of shoes, with 85 per cent ending up in landfill (file image)

The businesswoman got the idea while watching Blue Planet with her young daughter.

She said, “On one hand, I was showing her Blue Planet and trying to inspire her in nature, but on the other hand, I was outgrowing clothing and footwear faster than I could effectively recycle.”

Design cues include an extendable outsole with a puzzle-style interlocking mechanism.

“The funding is significant enough to see us through to the end,” added Ms. Doodhmal.

“I’m very confident that we’ll be able to come up with something really valuable and solid.”

Britons buy 80 million pairs of shoes each year, including 60 million for children.

More than 85 per cent ends up in landfills, Ms. Doodhmal said.

She said, ‘We won’t move the needle on that 85 [per cent] if we don’t bring this concept to the mass market.

John Lewis sustainability director Marija Rompani said the Circular Future Fund, which has also given money to Scottish libraries and the University of Leeds, could have a “real impact”.

She said: “Our throwaway culture, and the waste it creates, are undoubtedly among the biggest challenges we will face in our lifetime and addressing them will require a different kind of thinking.”

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