Igor Vovkovinskiy, at 7-feet, 8-inches, is the tallest man in the U.S. and with that distinction comes the problem of finding shoes that fit comfortably.
After undergoing 16 foot surgeries because the Rochester, Minn. giant couldn't find shoes that fit, Reebok came forward and delivered three pairs of size 24, 10E pairs of $25,000 custom-made sneakers on Thursday.
"Wow!" he said as he took his first steps in the tennies which took five months to make. "It feels so good, like I'm walking on pillows or mattresses."
Vovkovinskiy claims he is a big Minnesota Timberwolves fan — he stands 10 inches taller than Kevin Love — and each pair is emblazoned with Timberwolves-inspired colors and personalized with the name "IGOR" on the bottom of the soles.
The soft-spoken NBA fan started an online fundraising drive earlier this year and raised over $32,000 to purchase new shoes. After a trip to Reebok headquarters in Canton, Mass. — where he underwent tests to design the perfect shoe for his pontoon-sized feet — the company came through with the custom skips. And the company foot the bill for the life-changing shoes to boot.
"For so long it hurt to have shoes on," said Vovkovinskiy. "Every day, I was in pain."
With a whole newfound spring in his step, Vovkovinskiy plans on dropping a few pounds and has set a goal of getting down to 350 pounds from his current 430.
The big guy also hopes he lives a more normal life.
"I'm hoping instead of my height drawing attention, my shoes will," Vovkovskiy said.
Sorry Igor, but you would even stand out in an NBA camp. But it's all about the shoes.