Seth and Zac Longaker knew they had big shoes to fill: their own size 16s, to be exact.
AS MUCH AS THEY ADMIRED their father—and the wholesale plumbing empire he’d created and hoped his sons would assume—Seth and Zac Longaker knew they had bigger shoes to fill: their own size 16s, to be exact. “This is a business born of necessity,” says Seth of the brothers’ decision to launch Oddball Shoe Company a decade ago. “It was really tough to find shoes that we liked; our choices ranged from basketball shoes to what Grandpa wore after the war. So we decided to create Oddball and unite the big feet of the world.”
Those feet—typically wearing a size 14 to 20 shoe—have stepped up for what the Longakers have to offer: a raft of fashionable athletic and casual men’s shoes in hard-to-find sizes. And while local fellows have the benefit of strolling into the store’s Northwest Portland location, where they can find everything from Keen sandals to Cole Haan slip-ons, customers from around the globe hotfoot it straight to Oddball’s website. Online sales account for a whopping 95 percent of the business, which has been featured in People and on The Today Show.
Despite their firm foothold in the trade, the Longakers still get a kick out of how big-footed, style-hungry guys react when they discover the store. The brothers recently fielded an extra-large order from an NFL player who had just signed his first hefty contract and was celebrating by buying 42 pairs of size 16 shoes in a single month. “He said he’d only had one pair of shoes at a time when he was growing up, so now he wanted a closetful,” says Seth. “We said, ‘Take it easy—we’re not going anywhere.’”