Nike has just shared more details about its work with the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to build personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers fighting against COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. The sportswear giant said it will be repurposing materials used on shoes, including its famed Nike Air plastic bubble technology, to create face shields and air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses — which are pictured above.
An idea comes to life — "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," Nike said in a blog post. "The aim was not just a high-functioning shield, but also one that allowed a simple model of production. OHSU's healthcare workers instantly became field testers of the prototypes and validators of the final equipment."
Nike says that, by taking advantage of different production and design elements of its footwear and apparel, it can quickly turn that know-how into PPE that can keep medical personnel safe as they tend to sick patients. For instance, it says it will use collar padding intended for sneakers, fabric cords that were meant for apparel, and the TPU component of Nike Air for its personal protective equipment. And it's already proven to be helpful: The company says its first shipment of full-face shields and PAPR lenses were delivered to OHSU on April 3, and Nike's plan is to keep making more.
Sports brands to the rescue — Nike isn't alone in its efforts to lend a hand to health professionals, which is in desperate need of crucial supplies for the battle against COVID-19. Just last week, New Balance revealed that it would be developing, manufacturing, and delivering (stylish) facial masks to hospitals around the U.S., with the brand telling Input its goal is to make 100,000 weekly at its Lawrence, MA and Norridgewock, ME factories combined. NB also said it would pledge of $2 million to support coronavirus relief efforts, which will go to nonprofits such as the Boston Resiliency Fund, Good Shepherd Food Bank, St. Louis Area Foodbank, and Red Cross.
As for Nike, its work here isn't done. "The PAPR lenses and full-face shields 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," the company added. "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."