With the world still battling to get to grips with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) there has been a global shortage of medical supplies, including, most importantly, masks and ventilators.
During wartime in the past, many leading manufacturers stepped in the gaps to deliver crucial supply shortages. A few days ago, car manufacturers – Ford, GM, Toyota and Tesla, all of which recently shut down their factories – have pledged to assist with the shortage of ventilators. In similar efforts to assist the cause, sneaker brands have also heard the call to assist the COVID-19 outbreak, getting to work on designing and mass-producing another critical resource, face masks.
With many industries already affected by the pandemic, forced to close their manufacturing facilities around the globe, many companies that are able, have been gearing their factories to produce much-needed essentials to assist hospitals and medical staff.
Two sneaker brands have stepped up to the plate this week having announced their efforts to assist.
Earlier this week, on its third-quarter earnings call, Nike CEO John Donahoe announced that the company is working with a team from Oregon Health & Science University in determining how the company was able to help.
To kickstart this assistance, Nike designers have been prototyping protective face shields for doctors and nurses who are working with those infected with the coronavirus. In addition to this work, it was previously announced that $7 million would be donated by Nike’s current and former executives. Donahoe’s statement reads:
“Companies like Nike need to do our part. So our teams in innovation and manufacturing are exploring designs for personal protective equipment, or PPE, to support doctors, nurses and others on the front line of this outbreak. … It’s been so energizing to see the quick-strike efforts of the cross-functional team to try to help with this critical need.”
A few days ago, New Balance also pledged its support with the sneaker company also preparing to produce face masks. The initial work will be produced from its Lawrence, Massachusetts manufacturing facility, which they will scale up production to its other New England factories.
The company is already well on its way to producing the masks, has released an official image with the caption: “Made shoes yesterday. Making masks today.” Alongside this announcement, the sneaker company also committed $2 million in nonprofit grants, which will support local, regional and global communities impacted by COVID-19. The New Balance statement read:
“The global COVID-19 health crisis has called on individuals and organizations to bring their expertise and resources to solve new and extraordinary challenges. New Balance has engaged its skilled and innovative U.S. manufacturing workforce to develop face masks to address the significant demand for these supplies.”
Many other sneaker and footwear brands have been committing to the cause, which includes Ferndale, Superfeet and Flowbuilt Manufacturing. These companies have offered access to its 3D printers as well as manufacturing facilities for those requiring medical supplies.
For more information on COVID-19 – what it is, how to prevent it and additional resources – please follow the link to for assistance.