#NikeLetter: 1 on 1 with Matthew Walzer

A couple of months ago, Nice Kicks shot the video heard around the world in response to a letter from one of our readers. Matthew Walzer wrote a letter to CEO Mark Parker about manufacturing a sneaker that would help with Cerebral Palsy. Living with Cerebral Palsy, a major hurdle for Walzer to overcome is simply putting on his own sneakers. After a few months, we caught up with Walzer to see how the project is going, and track the progress of the?#NikeLetter movement.

Matthew Walzer’s “Signature” Kicks

NiceKicks: Matthew, how old are you?

Matthew Walzer: I am 17 years old and a junior in high school.

NiceKicks: For our readers unfamiliar with Cerebral Palsy, what is it like living with CP and what obstacles have you overcome?

Matthew Walzer: To start off, I was born two months prematurely and the doctors said I didn’t have a high chance to live due to having bad asthma. I’ve had multiple surgeries on my spine throughout my life. At first I could only walk on my tippy toes and being able to take three steps was a miracle. When I was 10 or 11 I started using a walker assisted with wheels and when I turned I advanced onto crutches. It has been a long journey for me considering at one point, I needed assistance with putting on a shirt.

Nice Kicks: You’re an avid reader of the site, what are some of your favorite sneakers?

Matthew Walzer: That’s a really tough question. I love a lot of sneakers but for me, I have to look at a lot into a sneaker. I have to look for support and comfortability considering my CP. My favorite would have to be the Nike LeBron 8, either the V1 or the V2. I liked the “Yankees”,?“Veterans Day”?and the “Entourage” colorways.

Nice Kicks: How long did it take for Nike to respond to you and get this project going?

Matthew Walzer: Thanks to Matt Halfhill and Nice Kicks, I was able receive a timely response. On August 10, Heidi Burgett from Nike DM’ed me on twitter asking for my phone number. Later that day, John Poyner of Jordan Brand called and we talked for about 45 minutes about the project and how he was going to team me up with Tobie Hatfield.

Nice Kicks: What was the process like? What was the inspiration behind the sneaker?

Matthew Walzer: It was all done completely over the phone, Tobie and I discussed what I needed in a sneaker. Tobie first called me while he was in London for the Olympic Games. Since the process started while Hatfield was in London, I decided to use the “Gold Medal” motif. I needed a good amount of ankle support, a velcro strap, and a special sole for my arches.

Matthew Walzer wearing his “signature” kicks from Nike