For Billy Price, it all started when he fell out of a three-story building in college.
He broke his neck and became paralyzed from the chest down, leaving him with limited arm and hand mobility.
As an engineering student, Billy was used to being able to solve hard problems and come up with clever solutions. Miraculously, after his accident, he was able to overcome many obstacles; he went back to school, finished his degree, and remastered how to drive a car. He was even able to figure out tricks to help him get dressed.
But one problem always persisted: Being able to put on his shoes.
Slipping on shoes was difficult, let alone trying to tie laces. So, Billy started on an 18-year journey, partnered with his long-time friend Darin Donaldson, and together with a lot of hard work, they came up with a shoe design that redefined easy on, easy off footwear for everyone!
With a zipper function that opens from one side of the shoe all the way around the front toe, the upper is then able to fold over and open completely. For Billy, this universal design makes it easy to put the foot straight in from the top rather than sliding in. Then with a gentle tug on the zipper-pull, the shoe closes as inconspicuously as it opens.
As if that wasn’t amazing enough, the story and essence of Billy is present in many other details of the shoes. The logo represents a (billy) goat, with a feeling of fierce, forward movement and the notion of being able to push through obstacles. There is a chevron design on the sole that represents forward momentum. And the knot attached to the zipper pull is a friendship knot, representing camaraderie.
By going through the tedious process of creating these shoes, Billy’s mission became much bigger than himself. “It became a mission to get shoes to everybody and ensure the shoes were both stylish and functional,” he said proudly.
BILLY's No-Lace Shoes