Shoes for the soul: Canadian shoe designer creates perfect pair for Calgary woman


Darby Lee Young lives with cerebral palsy. Just like anyone else, she loves a funky pair of shoes to make a statement and show off her personality. But shoes aren’t one size fits all and there are some limits to her choices.“Because of my gait, I drag my toes. For me to wear shoes, they last anywhere between a month to a week to even a day,” Young said.

Her shoes get particularly worn down in one spot. Young took her concerns to her favourite shoe designer, John Fluevog. “Allison Fluevog said: ‘Hey, we love your story. How about we make you a pair instead?’ I said ‘What?’” Young recalled. The company collaborated with her to create a shoe with a sturdy rubber sole. It’s removable and easier to repair. Fluevog’s Calgary community coordinator, Lauren Brown, was delighted to give Young a complimentary pair. “Our design team thought this would fit well and went back and forth with colours and elements to make it more unique.” Fluevog went beyond that and created a line bearing her name, calling it “the Darby.” “It’s unreal. It showed somebody actually listens and understands that people with disabilities have great differences when it comes to shoes,” Young said. The shoe comes in two different styles and was launched in the 2020 spring collection. It is widely available at stores across the country and in Fluevog’s international stores.

When Young slips on her trademark shoe, she admits there is a little extra something in the way she walks.

“My mother always taught me: if people are going to stare, you might as well look good doing it.”


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