Vovkovinskiy and Wessels
Ken Klotzbach  /  Rochester Post-Bulletin
Igor Vovkovinskiy, left, of Rochester, Minn.,  and German shoemaker Georg Wessels show off the size 26 shoes Wessels made for Vovkovinskiy on Wednesday in Rochester.
updated 5/5/2006 6:46:17 PM ET 2006-05-05T22:46:17

German shoemaker Georg Wessels traveled across the pond this week to personally deliver some king-size footwear to a Rochester man.

Igor Vovkovinskiy, who stands at 7-foot-8, received three pairs of size-26 shoes crafted specifically to fit his feet.

As part of his business, Wessels makes shoes free of charge for the world's 10 tallest people, who include the 23-year-old Ukrainian immigrant.

Wessels said he gets a kick out of helping tall people get properly fitting footwear. "I'm a little bit proud, of course," he said. "We like to make friends all over the world."

Vovkovinskiy, who works for Mayo Clinic's computer help line, said he was in need of the new shoes, having worn one pair for the past three years.

"I was embarrassed to go to the Mayo Clinic with my shoes this year because they are so black and worn out," he said. "Now it's like a new beginning."

Wessels' family has been making shoes since 1745. But not until Georg took over did the company start specializing in super-sized shoes.

The extra-large shoes are made with material from Red Wing Shoe Co., located in Red Wing. The soles of Vovkovinskiy's shoes were designed using molds of his feet.

As the weather warms, Vovkovinskiy looks forward to trying his new custom-made sandals, he said. "It's going to be different in the summer to have (shoes) that actually breathe," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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