Nearly five years ago, Florida State University center Michael Ojo received the first pair of shoes that ever fit his feet: size 21, 9-E wide.
Nike made the shoes bespoke for the 7-foot-1 FSU star’s 2012 freshman season debut on a one-of-a-kind machine, said TNT’s Evan Washburn today when describing how Ojo’s foot size presented a challenge for the shoemakers. The cost to accomplish the feat: $15,000, he revealed.
While holding one of Ojo’s sneakers during a report from the Xavier and FSU NCAA college basketball game (91-66), Washburn continued, “Prior to his freshman year he had to fly out to Nike headquarters to make these shoes [from] scratch,” he said. “They had never done that before.”
Washburn explained that after seven months of development, Nike eventually had the prototype for the special machine that would craft the shoes. “It exists in Vietnam, and it only creates Michael Ojo’s shoes,” he added. “I think that’s about nine a year.”
Previously, Ojo shared the extraordinary story during a 2014 interview with ACC’s Jeff Fischel, revealing that it had taken him “forever” to finally find a shoe that fit. “I couldn’t find any shoe that fit me until I got to America,” the Nigerian-born athlete said, adding that throughout prep school he stuffed his colossal feet into size 17s.
“I can play barefooted — I just have to get something on my foot to play,” Ojo joked. “I thought, hopefully, one day I could find a shoe that fit me. … I’m so grateful. I have multiple pairs. They always send me prototypes and fix anything.”