Coronavirus: Nike repurposes footwear to create face shields for frontline healthcare workers

Nike has announced it is repurposing elements of its footwear and clothing to create personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring that healthcare workers on the frontline have access to protective equipment has been a cause of concern echoed around the world.

It was recently reported that NHS staff had been forced to share masks due to shortages, while Italian doctors warned that protective equipment is vital to prevent the collapse of the country’s healthcare system.

Sportswear label Nike has stated that its innovation, manufacturing and product teams have come together with health professionals at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) to help manufacture face shields for healthcare workers, in addition to creating air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses “to protect against the coronavirus”.

“When OHSU shared its current face shield, finding a way to reproduce the equipment with Nike-owned materials and manufacturing facilities became an immediate goal,” the company said.

“The aim was not just a high-functioning shield, but also one that allowed a simple model of production.”

The brand outlined that the healthcare workers at the university “instantly became field testers of the prototypes and validators of the final equipment”.

“Nike’s version of the full-face shield transforms elements of the brand’s footwear and apparel and into much-needed PPE,” the firm said.

“Collar padding once destined for shoes is repurposed; cords originally earmarked for apparel reconsidered; and, most important, the TPU component of a Nike signature — the Nike Air soles — reimagined.”

Tonya Miko Enomoto, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at OHSU’s School of Medicine, explained that healthcare workers “are at a higher risk of contracting the virus” without adequate facial production, which could in turn “place substantial strain on the healthcare workforce in the months ahead”.

The Nike face shield

“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,” Dr Enomoto said.

“Nike’s generous response to the Covid-19 crisis helps to instill an added layer of confidence and support for healthcare workers, that we can safely carry out the jobs we were born to do.”

The first shipment of donated full-face shields and PAPR lenses was made to OHSU on Friday 3 April.

“OHSU’s mission is to support the health and wellbeing of all Oregonians, and we can’t do that without adequate supplies of personal protective equipment,” said Danny Jacobs, MD, president of OHSU.

“I’ve been so inspired by how our community has united to meet this health crisis. We are forever grateful to the commitment of our colleagues at Nike, as their dedication to our united effort will help save lives.”

Nike outlined that the full-face shields and PAPR lenses “will be provided to health systems in Nike’s World Headquarters region, including Providence, Legacy Health Systems and Kaiser Permanente, and others across the state of Oregon”.

In a press release, the firm stated: “Nike will continue to seek ways to further support the courageous healthcare workers in their tireless efforts to support, heal and comfort our communities through these extraordinary times.”

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