Eastern Michigan student and family’s shoe innovation that speeds up walking earns a finalist spot in national invention competition sponsored by Frito Lay

Winning product will be determined by votes on the competition’s website

EMU freshman and his family pose with the prototype of a shoe they have invented.
An inventive crew, left to right: Parker Frye, Cobie Smulders, Evan Frye and Jennifer Frye.

YPSILANTI - An Eastern Michigan University freshman and his family have reached the final stage of a national contest for a series of shoe innovations that help facilitate everyday activities such as walking and cleaning floors.

Evan Frye, 18, a Simulation, Animation and Gaming major at Eastern, and his family will be the only ones from Michigan competing in the national “Lay Variety Packs” competition that matches cool creations that solve everyday problems.

The Dreamvention contest, sponsored by Frito-Lay Variety Packs, set a challenge for American families to come up with a distinct solution to a routine but meaningful daily challenge and then submit it to the competition. The winning innovation will be processed for a product, and the first place family will win a grant of $250,000.

The Frye family, from South Lyon, took the challenge and created the “Sole Riders,” a personally designed shoe with buckle-on attachments that can speed up walking.

The innovation was primarily designed by Evan’s brother, Parker, 14, who was tired of the walk to and from his school bus stop. Evan was quick to help out his brother by adding neat gadgets to the Sole-Rider, with graphics and music to use for promotion.

The boys’ mom, Jennifer, helped as well, adding ideas for attachments such as a mop to help keep the house clean, making them a creative group of three.

Thousands of families submitted their dreamvention in the hope of winning the prize, but only five families were picked as finalists. The winning team will be picked based on audience votes until January 6 on the competition’s website.

Evan, who is diagnosed with autistic spectrum, started attending EMU this fall, with a focus in SAG in the College of Technology.

“This contest is a really big deal for my family,” Evan says. “If we win, I want to buy a good gaming laptop so I can do more modeling and work for my SAG classes, and I'd still have enough left over to pay for tuition. It would also cover my brother's tuition when he eventually goes to college.”

Support Evan and his family by voting for “The Sole Rider” in the website.

For more information about the Sole Rider visit the product Facebook page.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences, and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

December 05, 2018

Written by:
Michal Liberman

Geoff Larcom