If you visit Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC, you may notice one of zoo’s resident elephants, Shanthi, strolling around in stylish Teva boots.
While the footwear makes the 9,000-pound pachyderm stand out among her peers, its primary purpose is to provide the 41-year-old relief from the side effects of arthritis.
As the arthritis has progressed, Shanthi has started to shift her weight. This has led to painful lesions on and around her toenails, and the bandages keeping the topical medication in place often come off when the elephant is walking.
Using Smithsonian’s 3-D Digitization Program to measure Shanthi’s foot size, the designers created a stylish custom-made pair of size 20 boots with a 12E width --- about as big as a birdbath!
While it took some time to get used to, Shanthi now happily strolls around in her Velcro footwear, making it easier for zoo officials to keep the bandages on and debris out.
(Adapted from: https://www.dogonews.com/2016/10/21/why-national-zoos-resident-elephant-shanthi-is-wearing-stylish-teva-boots )