After months of looking, 15-year-old Josh Holexa has finally found a comfortable home for his sore feet - all size 23 of 'em.
The 6-foot-8 Tacoma teenager, painfully squeezing his feet into size 18s, was having no luck with shoe stores that wanted either too much money for a bigger pair or simply didn't have the shoes.One store ordered size 20s - still too small. Custom dress shoes at $1,200 - too expensive. Sneakers - too hard to get.
Holexa contacted 44 shoe companies in three months before Reebok said it could come up with the size 23s, just like those worn by Shaquille O'Neal, the 7-foot-1 star of basketball's Los Angeles Lakers. Better yet, they were free.
"They are the 1997-style shoes," Holexa said. "Only Shaq and I have them."
Nike has also sent a pair of the big shoes, but Holexa figures he will grow out of both pairs. He's not sure where the next pair will come from.
His mother, Mary Holexa, meanwhile, may have more shoe searches. Son Tim, at 13, wears size 13, and 5-year-old Marc is the tallest boy in his class.