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Teva Designs Life-Saving Shoe for Lucky the Penguin

posted May 18, 2011, 7:43 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 18, 2011, 7:55 AM ]

Photo credit Sheri Horiszny
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(Goleta, Calif.) –Adventure-footwear company Teva® (a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, NASDAQGS: DECK) has come to the rescue of a young Humboldt penguin with an impaired foot at the Santa Barbara Zoo. By wearing a shoe custom made by Teva, the young penguin, named Lucky, is now able to walk, hop and swim like any other penguin.

Watch of video of Lucky in action with his new Teva shoe here: and view photos here:

“Teva is an expert at creating shoes for use in, on and around the water, which is just what our little penguin needed,” said Zoo CEO Rich Block. “The penguin isn’t the only one who is lucky – the Zoo is fortunate to have such terrific community partners.” 

Teva president Pete Worley adds, “For over 25 years Teva has provided traction, protection, stability and comfort for water adventures and we’re honored to be part of this story. Our product team is experienced at collaborating with athletes but Lucky presented a unique challenge. We went through a bit more trial and error because of the language barrier, but Lucky knew what he was looking for in performance footwear, and he let us know when we had it right. In Lucky, we found a new friend and the perfect Teva athlete.”

The Zoo’s flock of Humboldt penguins currently numbers 18, including Lucky, who hatched on exhibit in a nesting box on April 15, 2010. The young chick was examined by the Zoo’s veterinarian and appeared normal and healthy. But as he grew and began to walk, Lucky exhibited a shuffling gait because the young chick’s leg was not developing normally. Treatments, including splints, were tried, but nothing corrected his leg.

The idea for the shoe came when, at the age of two months, Lucky developed sores from putting pressure on the wrong parts of his foot while he hopped. Zoo veterinarians and keepers treated the sores and began wrapping the penguin’s foot, worried the sores could get infected. Then they called Teva, headquartered nearby in Goleta, and asked for help.

Teva’s design team responded immediately. Lucky’s leg and foot were measured and casts were made. But a penguin has several particular needs. Not only did the shoe have to cushion Lucky’s foot, it had to be lightweight, provide traction, and easily shed water. Above all, it had to be comfortable. 

There were several versions of the shoe, each one improving on the previous version with different materials, waterproof fabrics and designs. Ion-mask™ helps Lucky’s foot stay dry, as it makes the shoe completely hydrophobic, and Spider Rubber + JStep ensures that he won’t lose his footing as he’s going in and out of the water. Teva has committed to providing shoes for Lucky for his entire lifespan.

Children's book author and illustrator Sarah Aspinall of the U.K. is writing a book about Lucky, which will be published this fall. Proceeds of the book sale will support Lucky.

About Teva
Teva is a global adventure footwear brand. Since its birth on the Colorado River in 1984, Teva has a deeply ingrained connection to water, which is manifested in its products and clean water advocacy. In 2011 and beyond, Teva is launching “A Pair for a Foot” and with nonprofits Waterkeeper Alliance and the Ocean Conservancy, will clean a linear foot of global waterways for every pair of shoes sold. Find us at