05/29/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
Seth and Zac Longaker have big shoes to fill—literally. By the time the Portland, Ore., brothers entered high school, their feet had hit size 16. Geeky footwear and gleeful taunts ("Can I borrow your shoes to go skiing?") became a fact of life. Until, while searching fruitlessly for huge and hip shoes to wear to a wedding in 1997, they snapped. The only pairs they saw in stores were "insultingly ugly," says 6'6" Seth, 27. Adds 67" Zac, 26: "They think just because you're big, you don't have fashion sense."
A few months later the Brothers Longaker opened the Oddball Shoe Co., a Portland-based store and Web site (www.oddballshoe.com) that sells a mammoth selection of stylish megatreads for men by such makers as Converse, Doc Martens and Kenneth Cole. Stock sizes range from 12 to 20, and if that's not big enough, the duo will place custom orders (their largest so far: size 56—or 25 in. long—for a teen with a glandular disorder). The brothers expect to ring up more than $1 million in sales this year for customers from Houston to Hong Kong, including such devotees as the Portland Trail Blazers' Scottie Pippen (size 16) and the 76ers' Toni Kukoc (size 15). Oddball's shoes are "groovier," says Phoenix Suns player Luc Longley. "I go every time I'm in Portland."
Sons of Judson, 55 (size 13), and Barbara, 52 (women's size 1O½), Seth and Zac collected business degrees from the University of San Diego in 1995 and 1996 respectively, then worked in their parents' plumbing-supply store before hitting a Las Vegas shoe convention to hunt their big game. With Oddball's motto—Where Size Always Matters—in mind, the unmarried duo are moving into a larger store this fall, where they will also sell large clothes. "I love being big now," says Seth. "I wouldn't change it for the world."