14-Year-Old Eric Killburn Jr. Has Struggled to Find Shoes That Comfortably Fit His Size 23 Feet – But That Struggle is Over!

When Eric Killburn Jr. was born, his mother was warned about his larger-than-normal feet. “This kid has the biggest feet I’ve ever seen in my life. Do not go out and buy baby shoes because they’re not gonna fit,” his mother, Rebecca Kilburn, recalled her OB-GYN saying. She found it funny, but that was then. 

Today, Eric Jr. is 14 years old and stands 6-foot-10 – you read that right – and he wears a size 23 shoe – you also read that right. For reference, the average American (who stands 5-foot-9) wears a size 10.5 shoe, and Hall of Fame basketball player Shaquille O’Neal (who stands 7-foot-1) wears a size 22 shoe.

While most people have no problem finding a shoe that fits properly and comfortably – it usually requires nothing more than a trip to their local shoe store – things are never that easy for Eric Jr. and his family. In fact, Eric’s options are so limited that he would almost rather be barefoot than wear what’s available. 

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For the longest time, his two options were $1,500 custom orthotics that were fit with velcro or crocs. While his mother offered to buy him the custom orthotics, despite not having the budget, he declined out of fear that he would stand out even more than he does now. Instead, he opted for crocs – even in the winter. 

“The orthotics catalog was mainly Velcro shoes. Eric was like, ‘I’d rather be barefoot.’ It’s hard enough to stand out as he does. You don’t want to be the giant kid walking down the hallway in old man Velcro shoes,” his mother said in an interview with TODAY. Unfortunately, his shoe dilemma has caused injury.

Since he couldn’t find cleats that fit, Eric Jr. ended up suffering an ankle injury while playing football during his freshman year of high school. He also suffers from painful calluses, blisters, and ingrown toenails regularly. And, while he currently wears size 22 Nike shoes, they still don’t do his feet justice. 

“His feet are so big and wide, that we had to have the 22s stretched,” his father, Eric Killburn Sr., told TODAY. For someone who has a bright future in sports, that future is heavily dependent on him wearing the necessary equipment – not only would it prevent injury, but it would maximize his performance. 

Eric Killburn Jr. Doesn’t Have to Struggle Anymore

For years, Eric Killburn Jr. and his family have tried to reach out to shoe manufacturers – including Nike, Reebok, Adidas, and Under Armour – to make custom shoes for the growing 14-year-old, but those requests have repeatedly been shot down. The only way they would do it is if he was a pro athlete. 

With his story gaining coverage across the country, his family’s prayers are finally being answered, and it’s coming with help from the community. A GoFundMe was created by a family friend, and the response has been incredible. In just six days, the GoFundMe account has raised more than $19,000 of its $35,000 goal. 

An update on the GoFundMe page notes that Puma and Under Armour have reached out to Eric’s family and will be making custom shoes and cleats for Eric. He has also been approached by CAT, who wants to make boots for him, and several other small companies that might have shoes/designs available for him.

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Eric Killburn Jr. has also created a Facebook page called ‘Big Shoe Network’ that aims to help other families struggling with similar issues. He has already sent a family one of his old size 19 shoes – that he outgrew before he could wear them – and has plans to help others end their hunt for oversized shoes.

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