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.’”

This article appeared in the May 2008 issue of Portland Monthly.
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