Each year since 2004, Nike has selected a few patients at the hospital to design completely custom shoes. The kids can choose any shoe Nike makes, and then personalize it in any way their hearts desire. Some of the designs are very wild and some are pretty tame by comparison. Every Fall, Nike sells the shoes at select locations as well as online. They then donate 100% of the proceeds to the Doernbecher Pediatric Hospital. It is a win-win for all parties. The kids get to design shoes and enjoy the process while Nike gets great PR. Additionally Doernbecher gets money for research and care, and sneakerheads get a chance at some very crazy limited shoes.
My favorite pair was released in the Fall of 2010–The Doernbecher III. Based on the Air Jordan III – which is my all time favorite Jordan shoe silhouette. The colors, materials and design are just as unique as the kid who designed them: Cole Johnanson from Portland, Oregon. After he overcame Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, Johanson selected the Air Jordan III to be his canvas for the Doernbecher Freestyle Collection of this year.
The insoles have “Courage//Strength ” printed on them. If you take a look behind the back tab on each of the shoes, there is a picture of one of Cole’s favorite foods: spaghetti on the left shoe and chocolate on the right. The pictures really do not do these shoes justice. The colors are all so vibrant and the details are top notch.
They are definitely one of my most valued pairs – I love the shoes and the subtle design hints. But most of all, they were created for a worthy cause.