These Hands-Free Sneakers Help Seniors and the Disabled Get Dressed

There’s a growing movement in the footwear market to make it even easier for consumers to step into a pair of shoes with styles that are hands-free.

Zeba has launched a collection of sneakers with a proprietary technology that turns a lace-up style into a slip-on, providing easy access for those with seniors and those with disabilities.

The concept has been in development for three years and is based on a collapsible heel technology made of stainless steel that allows the wearer to simply slide their foot into the shoe. The heel folds down to allow access, then returns to its original position. The laces need to be tied just once for a personalized fit.

According to Omer Altay, who co-founded the brand with Michael Zahabian, both newcomers to the shoe industry, the technology is currently patented in Europe, with patents pending in the U.S. and China.

“We designed Zebas to be worn by everyone, but seniors and those with disabilities quickly became our most enthusiastic supporters,” said Zahabian, about online feedback.  “We take it for granted now, but as we get older or, god forbid, get into an accident, putting on shoes can become a challenge.”

Prior to the launch of the Zeba, Zahabian was in the jewelry and real estate industries, while Altay, is involved in real estate and is a web designer. The two, said Altay, routinely explore new business ventures, and landed with Zeba.

Currently, the men’s and women’s sneakers are available for pre-order online at discounted prices of $130. Delivery is expected in September/October.

While Zeba is not the first to introduce a lace-less technology, brands such as Kizik and  Quikiks, have each put their own spin on the concept.

Other brands that feature a hands-free system include ZeroTie, a system allows shoes to tighten around the foot by using the weight of one’s leg and slight movement of the foot to tighten the laces.

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