With the novel coronavirus still threatening the U.S., many businesses are stepping up to support public health. In fact, some footwear manufacturing companies are now creating PPE. Here are just a few of the brands that switched from making men’s and women’s sneakers to pumping out face masks.
Flowbuilt Manufacturing is an innovative facility that uses 3D printing to help brands create footwear as they envision it. Now, it’s offering its 3D printers to create PAPR hoods, which are vital for healthcare professionals treating coronavirus patients.
Initially focused on creating insoles, Superfeet has switched to making PPE. Working with Flowbuilt Manufacturing, it’s committed to producing 30,000 masks. This business moved quickly — in just a week, it had changed over its production process to mass produce PPE.
Ferndale is another smaller company that has answered the call to go above and beyond. Usually a manufacturer of shoes, Ferndale has started producing face masks.
New Balance took on the challenge early and its hard work has paid off; as of June 2020, the company has produce over a million general-use face masks. Additionally, it’s working to produce an athletics-friendly option.
Another big name in the footwear industry, Nike is focused on PPE for healthcare professionals. Instead of selling sneakers for men online, the brand is now using its machines to manufacture face shields. Rather than just covering the nose and mouth, face shields provide protection from forehead to chin and are made of clear plastic, allowing the wearer to see. They’re usually used in conjunction with mouth and nose coverings.
Beloved for their quality and customer service, L.L. Bean has jumped into the face mask industry and hit the ground running. It offers cloth face coverings specifically designed for outdoor use, which is sure to delight hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts who want to stay safe without sacrificing their favorite activities.
A producer of shoes for men, women and children, Chaco has stopped regular production to retrofit its line for mask creation. Though the decision cuts into its ability to sell its usual products, the owners feel this task is more important and have vowed to continue their efforts to support public health.
If you’re a sports fan, you probably own something from Fanatics; this company produces a wide array of apparel with official team logos, including sneakers and other footwear. Now, it’s switched over to producing masks for public use.
Like Nike, Adidas has started making face shields for medical personnel. The full-face protection puts a barrier between medical professionals’ eyes and a traveling sneeze or cough; if contact is made, the virus can enter the body through the mucus membranes in the eyes.
Many athletes will attest to how tough Under Armour’s products are and it turns out its face masks are no exception. The company has taken the challenge of converting its athletic designs into something serviceable for the healthcare workers on the front lines.
These are only a handful of the companies that went from making kids shoes to PPE. Even now, more businesses are stepping up to provide masks.