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Footwear to Face Masks: Running Companies Offer COVID-19 Aid

For so many runners, walkers and people who work in the running industry, community is at the center of everything we do. From group runs, to shoe drives, race day cheering squads and charity pancake breakfasts — our partners, our philanthropic programs and our people are what make this industry so special.

Many of our industry partners are working fast to pivot their usual production, and offer support to our medical teams and communities during this time of crisis. While everything remains so uncertain, we applaud our partners for moving fast and doing the right thing. #TogetherWeMove

New Balance

New Balance has engaged a portion of its skilled and innovative U.S. manufacturing workforce to develop face masks to address the significant demand for these supplies.

The team at New Balance says the global COVID-19 health crisis has called on individuals and organizations to bring their expertise and resources to solve new and extraordinary challenges.

“We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility and hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon. We are coordinating our efforts with our government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities.”

Superfeet

Superfeet repurposed their HP Multi Jet Fusion printers from printing 3D insoles, to manufacturing life-saving medical equipment such as PPE masks with 3D printed elements. In the next four weeks they will be supplying Northwest area hospitals with 30,000 masks.

John Rauvola, CEO and President of Superfeet, says once his team realized the need at their local hospitals, they got to work. From ideation to final product, the quick shift and production time took less than one week.

“It's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of COVID-19 and its effect on our daily lives and those around the world. We took a step back to look at how we could make an impact on a local level," he says. "We are incredibly humbled to be part of a community that has come together to protect our healthcare workers.”

If your hospital is in need of PPE equipment, contact covidresponse@superfeet.com to determine if they can be of assistance.

Feetures

Feetures committed to donate up to 20,000 pairs of socks to hospital teams in areas hit the hardest by COVID-19. For every pair of socks purchased from a Fleet Feet location, Feetures will donate a pair to hospital staff.

Joe Gaither, Vice President of Marketing, says the combination of more people out running and walking and the desire to give back to the medical community inspired this idea.

“We are hoping that by working with Fleet Feet we can create a powerful movement in communities around the country to get people to shop with their local running store in a safe contact-free way and also know that they are showing their appreciation for the healthcare workers keeping us safe.”

If interested, find your nearest Fleet Feet and contact information here, and then call the store to place your order.

Balega

Balega recently repurposed their fine hosiery machines to produce face masks in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 within communities.

Since a majority of their sock manufacturing takes place in South Africa, Balega will supply approximately 250,000 masks to their local communities over the next four weeks. They hope to expand the program to help in the U.S. as well.

Tanya Pictor, Vice President of Balega Marketing, says circumstances in South Africa required the team to get creative.

“One of Balega’s founding principles has always been about caring for the community. With the lockdown, our production has been temporarily interrupted, so last week we hatched a plan to try to help,” she says. “Progress on this project has been amazing and our first production is on track to ship out next week.”

Balega is also currently working to raise funds for the World Health Organization and the Solidarity Response Fund.