Food & Culture

Billy Footwear Adaptive Shoes Take Anyone, Anywhere

Billy Price designs adaptive shoes that work for anybody

By Sarah Murphy December 22, 2016


This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Walking into Billy Price’s Capitol Hill condo, you notice the exceptional view of downtown, the plush lounge chair perfect for brainstorming startup dreams, and Price himself, a quadriplegic. Drawing less attention are his leather Oxford shoes with a subtle zipper around the toe. Price, who became quadriplegic after a 1996 accident that occurred during his first week at the University of Washington, has enough dexterity to dress himself, but shoes have been a challenge. His solution? Billy Footwear. “The root problem was not being able to tie laces and having to shove my foot into the shoe,” says Price. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he approached the problem methodically. His goal was a shoe that didn’t use a Velcro closure, the hallmark of “adaptive” footwear, and that was fashionable enough that anyone might want to wear it. “I bought a tiny shoe, cut it open, put a zipper on it, and it worked,” he says of his design process. The zipper doesn’t require the dexterity of laces, and the design opens the shoe in a way that makes it easy to slide a foot into. He and business partner Darin Donaldson have created an attractive line of shoes (at that anyone might choose to wear.  His next goal is getting Billy Footwear into stores. “When you get knocked down, your life is not over,” says the resilient entrepreneur. He adds, “People look at our shoes and say, ‘I can’t believe someone hasn’t come up with this already.’” 


Price’s first creation, an adaptive ski glove (he’s a sit-skier), came to life with the help of Pearl Jam, which donated use of its “Given to Fly” tune for the glove’s Kickstarter campaign video. (Find the glove at 

Billy Footwear was featured on Quit Your Day Job on the Oxygen channel last April.  

There are seven styles available for men, women and kids, including the kids’ green “Billy Club Ranger,” women’s chevron high top and men’s black casual loafer. Prices range from $50 to $110.

Join The Must List

Seattle's best events delivered to your inbox

Follow Us




In September 2017, I founded Dan’s Tunes, a small publication focused on showcasing Seattle’s local music scene. Throughout the past five years, I have spent countless hours talking with musicians, artists, and other industry folks about the state of the current music climate in Seattle. When we’re on the record, everyone always has nice things…

Min Jin Lee on taking 28 years to write a novel

Min Jin Lee on taking 28 years to write a novel

Insights on life and writing from the bestselling author of Pachinko

Min Jin Lee is a little freaked out about her next novel — a “stupidly” ambitious project about what education means to Korean people across the globe. “I want to stop,” she told me on a call, laughing a bit at her own obsessive nature. As with her previous two books — Pachinko and Free…

Your Favorite Authors Might Very Well be in Seattle this Weekend—Here’s How to Catch Them

Your Favorite Authors Might Very Well be in Seattle this Weekend—Here’s How to Catch Them

The nation’s largest literary conference will be hosted March 8-11, and includes hundreds of offsite events around town.

Book lovers, rejoice: there’s a good chance one of your favorite writers will be out and about Seattle in the next week. You may even be able to catch them giving a free talk at one of your local bars or cafés. From March 8-11, more than 8,000 authors, poets, educators, and editors will descend…

New auditorium, better BMX track and a greener Seattle

New auditorium, better BMX track and a greener Seattle

Casket Case Bellevue company’s product featured in Taylor Swift video Social media absolutely lost it after a casket manufactured by Bellevue-based Titan Casket was featured in American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s recent “Anti-Hero” music video. Tweets and Instagram posts from Swift’s fans about the casket have generated tens of thousands of likes and retweets, resulting in…