Discover the inspiring story of 14-year-old Eric Kilburn, who has feet like a giant. Recently making headlines due to his abnormally large shoe size, he struggled to find the right fit until Puma, Under Armour, Reebok, and Shaq stepped in to help. Get all the details in this article.
What is Eric Kilburn’s shoe size?
Eric wears a size 23, which is approximately equivalent to a feet measuring 37.5cm. The average shoe size in North America is 10.5, which is equal to 29.7cm. It’s worth noting that Eric’s shoe size is one size larger than both Shaquille O’Neal and Victor Wembanyama’s.
Who is Eric Kilburn?
Eric is a 14-year-old teenager from Michigan who stands at an impressive height of 6’10. He plays American football at Goodrich High School and previously wore a US size 22 shoe. He was only able to find shoes thanks to a family friend who found five pairs on clearance, as there were no standard shoe models available in his size from any brand.
Why did Eric Kilburn recently go viral?
Eric’s mother initially sparked the viral attention when she reached out on social media for help finding shoes for her son, who now wears a US size 23 (equivalent to a French size 58). As Eric continued to grow, it became increasingly difficult to find shoes that fit him properly, and his mother organized a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for custom-made shoes, which cost $24.000. This caught the attention of Hometown Life news site and eventually USA Today, who covered the story on television, leading to a viral buzz.
“I just want shoes,” Kilburn said.
There’s nothing else to it. I just need shoes because once I don’t have shoes, I don’t have anything to wear – no sandals, no Crocs, nothing.
“But his feet are so large and wide that we had to stretch the size 22s,” explained Eric Kilburn Sr. However, the era of stretching shoes and wrapping bleeding toes is over.
How did the brands help Eric?
Following the buzz, some brands came forward to help the young giant. Reebok sent five pairs of size 22 shoes that were originally created for O’Neal. Although Eric still needed a size 23, these shoes have more space for his toes than the Nike shoes he was previously wearing and are more comfortable.
Mark Staiger, the CEO of Puma, offered to provide Eric with shoes in his size at the regular shoe price, saying “1500 dollars for a pair of shoes is insane“. Puma will also come to scan Eric’s feet, and it takes about 2 months to develop such a model. They have also proposed to develop a pair of basketball shoes for him.
Robb Cropp, the Director of Development at Under Armour, personally came to scan Eric’s feet to offer him custom-made shoes, saying that Eric has the largest feet for which his company has ever made shoes. “There aren’t many people in the world who have feet this size. We need to help them, we know the importance of sports for young people and their development.” The brand is also expected to create custom-made models for American football.
Furthermore, the construction company CAT asked Kilburn to design a pair of boots, and the Italian company Mauri Shoes offered to make a mold of his feet for dress shoes so that he could attend school galas with perfectly fitted footwear.
The Shaq phone call
Shaq, known for his big heart and selfless donations, felt empathy for the young teenager and decided to give him a call. “I was stunned,” Eric said.
“My soul left my body for a moment, I was so shocked.”
In his phone call to the Kilburn family, O’Neal, who wears size 22 shoes, showed sensitivity to Eric’s difficult situation. O’Neal told Eric that when he was the same age, his mother also couldn’t find the shoes he needed.
Eric, who sprained his ankle last fall playing football without cleats, asked O’Neal if he had ever played football in high school. The answer was yes, but O’Neal also suffered an injury and six months later began playing the sport that would bring him glory and fortune.
Shaq said he made $900 million by listening to his mom and dad, so he told me to listen to my parents,” Eric said.
“I’ve never seen my son smile so big,” Rebecca Kilburn said. “It’s hard to get a smile out of a teenager, but he’s thrilled and blown away by the shoe options.”
Rebecca Kilburn said O’Neal told Eric Jr. that he would like to get him dress shoes from a man he knows who makes them up to size 26, and also said to call if he needed anything.
Eric Jr. has already been in contact with O’Neal a second time, to express his gratitude when the Reeboks arrived the day after their call.
The text message from O’Neal to him on Thursday is the one that left an even bigger impression than their respective footprints.
“When he and I were texting about shoes, (O’Neal) said, ‘There are many more big men to come. I love you,‘” Eric said.
And if you have big feet, here’s a special selection that goes up to size 18:
Shoes up to size 17:
You don’t find your shoe size ? Tell us !