The 'Darby': Calgary woman with cerebral palsy inspires line of shoes

A Calgary woman with cerebral palsy is constantly replacing footwear because of her condition. After reaching out to a Canadian shoe company about her story, a new line was created for her and others with cerebral palsy.

For the first time in 37 years, Darby Young has a pair of shoes that will last

Darby Lee Young says her new shoes by the Canadian company Fluevog Shoes are a game changer when it comes to buying footwear. (Calgary Eyeopener)

A Calgary woman with cerebral palsy will no longer have to constantly replace her shoes, after a Canadian footwear company created a new line for her and others with the condition. 

Darby Lee Young says for the first time in 37 years she finally has a pair of shoes that will last her more than a month.

She told the Calgary Eyeopener because her cerebral palsy affects her gait, she drags her toes.

Because of this, Young said she wears down all her shoes at the very front, which is difficult to get repaired. 

"If I get them repaired they don't necessarily look like they used to," she said.

Darby Young got in touch with Fluevog Shoes two years ago and explained her special footwear needs, which led to a shoe line dedicated to her. (Calgary Eyeopener)

She said this is a common issue those with cerebral palsy come across.

"It is fairly common with people with different disabilities. We all wear shoes out differently — some in the heel some in the toe. It's just the manner of how the gait works," she said.

Young added her shoes are not covered by medicare — making it a big expense since her shoes will range from lasting a day to a month.

"For me if I find a pair of shoes that I like, I'll go to the Shoe Company or something and I'll buy like five or six pairs of the same shoe in the same size," she said.

Darby Lee Young says her cerebral palsy affects her gait, which means she's always replacing her footwear. The new shoes have a sturdier toe and easily replaced sole. (Darby Lee Young)

Two years ago, Young said she came across a pair of Fluevogs that she loved to wear to social events. However, after about a month, they were worn out.

"I only wore them to certain events, I didn't wear them every day," she said. "I reached out to Fluevog Shoes and said 'Hey, can we fix this? Is there a way of mending these shoes so that I can keep wearing them?'" 

Instead, Fluevog proposed to Young that they create a pair of shoes with a sturdy, easily removed sole and name them "Darby," after her and her story.

"I like almost fell off my chair when I got the original e-mail two years ago that said, 'Hey, we want to help you with this,'" said Young.

This in turn led to a collaboration with Darby, who helped create the shoe.

"They have a really thicker bottom around the toe, so as I wear them out I can just go back to the store and they can replace them," she said.

As well, this year it's the shoe company's 50th anniversary, which makes Young even prouder to be a part of the new line, she said.

She said it showed somebody actually listened and understood that people with disabilities have different needs when it comes to footwear.

The "Darby" shoes are now available in stores and will be featured on the company's website next week.

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.


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