Home | COVID-19 | Nike repurposes shoes to make vital PPE for nurses, frontline workers
HSU’s Callie Beckwith tries out a new face shield produced by Nike, April 3, 2020. Photo: OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff

Nike repurposes shoes to make vital PPE for nurses, frontline workers

Sportswear giant Nike is getting into the healthcare game again, this time manufacturing face shields and respirators for local nurses short of vital PPE.

As COVID-19 has torn through nations around the world, stories have emerged of chronic shortages of PPE for frontline healthcare workers, with some resorting to wearing bin bags or home-made masks and face protection.

Last the year the US-based company announced it was releasing a line of special nurse co-designed trainers for ‘everyday heroes’, designed for long stints on your feet. This time, they will be using parts of their shoes for protection equipment.

Working closely with health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Nike worked to provide face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus.

Staff on call at Boston Medical Center’s Emergency Department, April 17, 2020. Photo: Boston Medical Center

Nike repurposed items initially earmarked for some of their trademark apparel – such as their Nike air soles – to build the PPE and donated the first shipment to OHSU on April 3rd.

“Simply put, these resources help to keep frontline health care workers safe,” said OHSU’s Miko Enomoto, M.D, associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine.

“The full-face shields help protect healthcare workers’ faces and also help to prolong the length we can safely use a surgical or N95 mask.

“They allow us the ability to provide the best possible care to the most vulnerable patients during this uncertain time. Nike’s generous response to the COVID-19 crisis helps to instill an added layer of confidence and support for health care workers, that we can safely carry out the jobs we were born to do.”

After donating more than $15 million in March, Nike reports that its total donations have now surpassed $17.5 million. This includes a new pledge of $500,000 to NYC organisations that will provide food, PPE, and support for healthcare workers. 

Nike has provided protective equipment for over 20 hospitals including those in Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee.

Moving forward, Nike also plans to donate 250,000 three-ply disposal face masks to New York State. 

The US has now approximately one-third of the worldwide COVID-19 cases with 931,698 confirmed ill and 47,980 deaths.

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