Big Custom Shoes Cause Big Struggle for America’s Tallest Man

While people around Columbus may feel as though they have difficulties finding comfortable shoes, one man from Rochester, Minnesota has truly not had a pair of properly fitting shoes in six long years. Igor Vovkovinskiy is the tallestman in America at 7 feet 8 inches tall. His feet are so large that no shoe template existed for the estimated size 26 extra wide shoe he would need. Because of this, the $16,000 price of the shoes posed a major barrier to Igor’s foot health, until he reached out via the internet to ask for donations. He has now surpassed the $16,0000 goal and has various shoe companies offering to produce the shoes.

Like Igor, people suffering from a variety of diseases or congenital deficits may also require a custom or modified shoe in order to maintain good foot health. Nerve disease is one condition that can result in the need for custom shoes. When loss of sensation occurs in the feet, bony changes can occur that result in arthritis. This arthritis resulting from nerve disease is called neuropathic arthritis. Individuals with diabetes represent a major portion of the population who develop neuropathic arthritis in the form of Charcot foot. In Charcot foot, damage is inflicted on the foot bones as the individual continues to walk on damaged tissue because they are unable to feel pain from the damage. The bone fragments into pieces, and then coalesces and reforms into an extremely misshapen foot. A Charcot foot is typically very wide with complete collapse of the arch by the time bone remodeling is complete. The combination of foot deformity with inability to feel is a potent combination leading to the development of dangerous ulcers for a diabetic patient.

Luckily, custom shoes can be found with much less work than Igor had to put in to obtain his, simply by visiting your podiatrist. Charcot and other complications of diabetes can frequently be avoided through regular podiatric care. It is believed that the biomechanical condition called “equinus” where the foot is unable to lift off the ground, which can result from overpronation, contributes to the development of Charcot foot and ulcers in patients with diabetes. Your podiatrist at Columbus Podiatry and Surgery can create individualized custom orthotics using a digital gait scanner to correct these biomechanical abnormalities. Unlike Igor’s $16,000 extremely large shoes, many insurance companies recognize the need and offer coverage of custom shoes and orthotics for diabetic patients meeting specific criteria.

Please visit for more information or call 614-885 FEET (3338) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.

By Dr. Animesh (Andy) Bhatia