Eric Kilburn Jr. is 6-foot-10 and wears size 23 shoes, making it nearly impossible to find shoes that fit.
Eric Kilburn Jr., who is now 14 years old, wears size 23 shoes. It makes it impossible for his mother to find shoes for him in regular stores. It happens because most shoe stores only stock up to size 14. His mother, Rebecca Kilburn, has been searching for shoes for her son for years and occasionally finds larger sizes at outlet stores. Kilburn was forced to consider custom-fitting shoes from an orthopedic specialist at the cost of $1,500 per pair, which was a daunting financial prospect given that her son is still growing and will need many more shoes.
According to The Washington Post, her friend Kara Pattison proposed starting a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy a few pairs of shoes. After Kilburn initially hesitated to ask for help, the fundraiser was set up and within seven days, people donated nearly $20,000. Eric Jr. is 6-foot-10, which surpasses NBA great Shaquille O’Neal, who wears a size 22. His mother and father are both tall, with his mother standing at 6-foot-2 and his father at 6-foot-5. His grandparents and great-grandparents are also close to 7 feet tall.
While Eric Jr. was tested for endocrine disorders and other medical concerns, his doctor confirmed he was healthy. Being this tall can be burdensome for Eric Jr., as finding shoes and clothes that fit can be a challenge. He also doesn’t fit in small cars and can’t go on certain rides at amusement parks, as his height exceeds the limit. Nevertheless, he handles it all very well.
Eric Jr.’s size 22 shoes are nearly 17 inches from heel to toe, and he also has wide feet, making it even more challenging to find shoes that fit. His mother said they occasionally find bigger sizes at outlet stores, but she is almost terrified of his feet growing because it’s been so hard to find shoes. There have been periods when Eric Jr. has had to wear Crocs, including during the winter months, because they couldn’t find other shoes that would fit. Eventually, even the Crocs got to be tight, too.
It is difficult in many ways that one doesn’t necessarily consider. Kilburn said that her son has had six procedures on his feet for ingrown toenails and has had two toenails permanently removed.
The Kilburn family is floored by the outpouring of support, especially from complete strangers across the country. “I’ve gotten a whole new appreciation for the power of media and people sharing, and it’s just been so wonderful,” Kilburn said, explaining that she also received messages from major shoe manufacturers, including Under Armour and Puma, with offers to make Eric Jr. his own custom shoes. “Any time we see a story like this, we try to jump into action,” said Max Staiger, the global head of basketball at Puma, which makes custom shoes for professional athletes with notably large feet.