As the number of coronavirus cases continues to escalate in the United States and globally, aid from the footwear industry in the form of monetary support and shoe donations is also growing. While nonessential employees across the country have increasingly been urged to stay at home, many footwear companies are continuing to keep their warehouses open in an effort to ship donated products to those in health care.
Donated products can range from casuals for support staff to duty shoes that feature slip-resistant outsoles for workers on the front lines. Many styles have surfaces that can easily be disinfected with solutions they can make at home to take the place of professional products, which are in short supply these days. Some shoe styles can also be machine washed and air-dried.
More from Footwear News
- CEOs on Coronavirus: Titan's Joe Ouaknine Says 'A Lot of Companies Are Going to Go Under -- Maybe I'm One of Them'
- Nordstrom Cuts Half a Billion Dollars From Spending Plan Amid Coronavirus
- Slippers and Sneakers Are Trending for Online Shoppers
Here is how footwear companies are contributing product and creating awareness.
March 24, 2020: Rothy’s has launched a fundraiser in tandem with the nonprofit organization Direct Relief in support of the coronavirus healthcare workers across the U.S. The company is donating $20,000 to the humanitarian aid group, with money going towards providing protective masks, exam gloves and isolation gowns to healthcare organizations with confirmed cases. The company invites consumers to make monetary donations of their own to Direct Relief through its Facebook page.
The comfort and recovery shoe brand is implementing a multilayered program to help those impacted by the coronavirus. Beginning on March 27, the company will launch the first phase by donating more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to nurses and medical professionals in the U.S. The seven in-person shoe drops will take place at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; Swedish Hospital in Chicago; Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Prebys Cardiovascular Institute at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California; Palomar Medical Center Poway in Poway, California; Hackensack Meridian Health at Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, New Jersey; and WellStar Atlanta Medical Center in Atlanta.
The company has pledged to donate thousands of pairs of its Wool Runners to individuals in the U.S. working in the health-care community during the coronavirus crisis. Those interested can reach out to the company by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to place an order for a complementary pair. “It’s hard to navigate the unknown, but as we continue to better understand how to slow the spread of COVID-19, we want to do all we can to keep our customers, employees and local communities safe,” said the company on an Instagram post. The company also alerted consumers that its U.S. and European stores will be closed March 17–27; all employees will receive full pay and benefits during that time.
The outdoor and utility brand announced it will give away 100,000 pairs of shoes, valued at approximately $10 million, to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including health-care professionals and people who have lost their jobs. The Portland, Ore.-based outdoor brand is asking people to nominate individuals in need on its website. “The Together We Can Help initiative is fundamentally about enabling people to take positive action and build connection in a time of increasing isolation,” said Keen Global GM Erik Burbank, in a news release. “We believe allowing people to pay it forward by providing someone in their community with a free pair of shoes will help build connection at a time of great need.”
According to CEO Sara Irvani, the Buford, Ga.-based company has reached out to federal authorities with an offer to donate shoes that can be disinfected after use. “As a third-generation, family-operated business, we have seen many changes — from offshoring, to economic cycles, to changing habits,” said Irvani. “Through it all, we have always pulled through with positivity and teamwork.
Stitch Fix Warns of Order Delays as Two Distribution Centers Temporarily Close Due to Coronavirus
Two Ten Has a Big Uptick in Coronavirus Relief Requests & Most Calls Are Coming From Single Moms
Best of Footwear News
- These Theories About How Black Friday Got Started Will Surprise You
- A Look Back at Iconic Department Stores That Went Out of Business
- 6 Shoe Companies That Have Gone Bankrupt in the Past Year — & How They're Faring Now