Zappos has come up with a solution for people with disabilities, amputees and shoppers with unevenly sized feet.
After debuting in beta form this past fall season, the retailer’s Adaptive line has officially launched its Single and Different Size Shoes test, which allows customers to buy only one shoe or two shoes in different sizes and widths to create a pair.
The footwear offerings extend from toddlers to adults and are available in narrow to double-extra wide sizes. Participating brands include Nike and Converse, as well as New Balance, Billy Footwear, PLAE and Stride Rite. (The company plans to expand styles and colors in the future.)
Like all Zappos products, the shoes come with a one-year return policy and free shipping. Customers will not be charged a premium for the purchase of single shoes, whose prices range from $17.50 to $85.
“The Single and Different Size Shoes Test Program is very close to our hearts. We wanted our community to know that we heard them and continue to listen and innovate based on their needs and wants,” said Zappos Adaptive business development manager Dana Zumbo. “Customer service is our No. 1 goal, and we’re endlessly committed to ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and confident in their own shoe or shoes.”
Zappos introduced its Adaptive line in April 2017 — three years after a customer, in a phone call with an employee, asked if she could exchange a pair of shoes for her grandson, who had autism and needed help tying the laces on his own.
“That sparked some internal research and learning more about customer needs and talking to people with disabilities,” Zappos Adaptive director Molly Kettle told FN last year.
Aside from Zappos, other fashion and footwear companies have begun to identify the philanthropic and entrepreneurial opportunities of entering the adaptive business: Last June, department store chain Kohl’s added adaptive lines to three of its private-label kids brands, while major players like Nike and startups such as Powerlace and Zerotie have developed hands-free sneaker innovations to serve customers with a variety of needs.