Health-Care Workers Need Shoes Right Now — How Brooks, DSW, Bearpaw & More Are Helping

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 keeping 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 made 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.

Here is how footwear companies are contributing product and creating awareness.

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Aerosoles

Fashion-comfort brand Aerosoles is donating pairs of sneaker styles to health-care workers and other essential workers in the coronavirus fight. To request a pair for yourself or a family member or friend, simply email sharethelove@aerosoles.com. In addition, the company is donating 10% of the proceeds from its Share the Love collection to Feeding America.

Allbirds

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 together@allbirds.com 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. So far, it has given $500,000 worth of shoes to health-care workers. And, beginning on March 24, and while supplies last, it is extending the program to a buy-one-give-one option. For anyone buying a pair of Allbirds in the U.S., the brand will split the cost of donating a pair of Wool Runners or alternatively, shoppers can donate a pair directly to themselves. 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.

Bearpaw

Bearpaw is giving away 1,000 pairs of slippers for free to COVID-19 frontline workers across the United States. From April 24 to May 25, the brand is set to kick off its #BearpawCares initiative on social media, encouraging followers to nominate essential employees to receive a complimentary pair of slippers. Nominations can be made at Bearpaw.com. “At a time when so many people have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, it was important for Bearpaw to support those on the frontline with the resources we have available and to thank them for working tirelessly in the fight against this pandemic,” said Bearpaw founder, Tom Romeo, in a release. “We are proud to support those on the frontline and hope to provide them with a sense of comfort after a long day on their feet.”

Brooks

Brooks is bringing its total of pairs of shoes donated to 35,000 as part of its “Our Heroes Wear Scrubs” initiative. The brand donated an initial 10,000 pairs at the beginning of April before reopening its giveaway on May 13. Up until May 10, the brand also gave away one free pair of shoes for every purchase over $150 on their site and for every purchase of a pair of Glycerin 18, Transcend 7, Levitate 3 and Bedlam 2 sneakers.

Clarks

Clarks is donating 5,000 pairs of shoes to workers on the front lines of their hometowns so they can enjoy some extra comfort after long hours on their feet. It will be coordinating deliveries to hospitals in the UK in Somerset, Hanover, London and potentially New York. The shoes include men’s and women’s styles suitable for medical staff to wear on the job. In addition, the company is donating funds to three organizations, including Direct Relief in the U.S., National Emergencies Trust in the UK and Unicef’s East Asia Pacific Region’s prevention efforts in Asia.

Crocs

The company has announced the launch of “A Free Pair for Healthcare.” Starting on March 25, Crocs will offer health-care workers in the U.S. the chance to get a free pair of shoes while supplies last, choosing from select Classic Clogs and Crocs At Work styles with free shipping through its website. The website will open at about 12 p.m. EST daily and will remain open until that day’s free pair allotment has been fulfilled. In addition, the company is committed to donating up to 100,000 pairs of shoes to be distributed across a number of select health-care facilities and organizations.

Dansko

The Dansko Foundation is making an immediate cash donation to the Chester County Hospital Emergency Response Fund in West Chester, Pa., in addition to providing a new pair of shoes to nurses and doctors working in Chester County, Pa. Launched in 2003, The Dansko Foundation was created to support and facilitate charitable giving to not-for-profit community-based groups and local chapters of national organizations. The company also is committed to providing additional support in the form of new shoes to other areas of the country most affected by the pandemic. The brand will also be giving away a free pair of shoes every week for a whole year on its Instagram channel.

DSW

Together in partnership with Reebok and Vince Camuto, DSW is donating 100,000 new shoes to frontline workers. Additionally, the retailer is joining forces with Soles4Souls, an organization that accepts new or gently worn shoes and distributes them to people in need across the U.S. and around the world. With the organization, DSW is inviting shoe lovers to donate a pair of shoes for communities that need them the most throughout May at any open DSW or curbside at stores that are offering that option — you can check to see if your store is accepting donations at DSW.com.

Fjolk

Californian shoe brand Fjolk started its Buy One, Give One initiative in March, donating a pair of shoes to essential professions for every shoe purchased. Following the heightened response to their donations, the brand added an option for customers to directly donate a pair of shoes to healthcare workers at Fjolk.com. Healthcare workers can email together@fjolk.com for more information on how to receive their free pair of shoes.

Floafers

In response to requests by Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, N.J., for protective gear, Floafers has shipped 1,000 pairs of footwear to the facility and sister hospitals in the state’s Atlantic Health System. According to Larry Paparo, CEO and president of Floafers, the foam EVA shoes can be sanitized to protect health-care workers and the patients they are aiding. Consumers can go to Floafers.com and enter the code “Help Our Nurses”; the company will allot a portion of the sale towards a fund to continue to donate shoes.

Hari Mari

The company, known for its line of sandals and casuals, is donating 400 pairs of sandals to two Texas-based hospitals to thank those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Dallas’ UT Southwestern  Medical Center and Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann Center, both located in cities with the largest number of cases reported in the state, will receive the shoes. In addition, the company has launched its “Nominate a Nurse” program in an effort to spread the wealth and send free pairs of flip-flops to inspiring health-are workers across the country.

Hoka One One

Deckers Brands is expanding its efforts to support health-care workers fighting COVID-19 with the launch of Hoka One One’s “Front Line Give Back Program.” The brand will work with its retail partners to donate 5,000 pairs of shoes directly to medical professionals by identifying beneficiary organizations in their regions. To kick off the project, Hoka One One is partnering with JackRabbit to supply over 400 pairs of shoes to hospitals in New York and New Jersey.

Keen

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.”

Laforst Shoes

The company is donating over 1,000 pairs of shoes totaling $30,000 to Veterans Affairs hospitals around the country. It’s first donation is being directed to hospitals in the San Francisco bay area located in proximity to the company’s distribution center in Hayward, Calif. It will follow-up with other hospitals in need as requests are made.

Merrell

Since March 23, Merrell has delivered 1,200 pairs of shoes and boots to local hospitals in West Michigan including Spectrum Health and Mercy Health, as well as to the Grand Rapids Fire Department and Police Department. “Merrell could not be more proud to call West Michigan home and we want to support those on the frontlines working tirelessly to protect the health and safety of everyone in our community and beyond,” said Lauren King, senior marketing manager. “We hope a new pair of shoes can be a bright spot for these brave people during these unprecedented times, and we thank them for their work and service to our community.”

Nurse Mates

Nurse Mates has donated 3,500 pairs of shoes and compression socks, totaling $150,000, to medical workers fighting in the front lines against the coronavirus. “Nurse Mates has always been inspired by hard-working medical professionals and we continue to be during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LizMarie Flores, creative marketing manager for Sofft Shoe Company, parent of Nurse Mates. The company has made donations to hospitals and health-care facilities including Massachusetts General in Boston, Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, among others.

Okabashi

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.

Oofos

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 since followed up with a second round of donations, another 1,000 pairs of shoes to be distributed among 10 hospitals across the country to be delivered by April 3.

On Running

On, known for its ultra-comfortable running shoes and unique styles, is setting aside its Classics collection just for health-care professionals. The brand is reserving these pairs solely for these workers as a “small gesture of thanks for the tireless work they are putting in to keep our communities healthy.” For members of the medical or health-care community, you can email medicalheroes@on-running.com with a photo of your valid ID or badge to receive a pair while supplies last.

Ryka

Athletic brand Ryka is celebrating front-line workers by donating 600 free pairs of shoes while supplies last as part of its #Rykaisfornurses campaign. An additional 40% discount plus free shipping is also being offered to about 4,000 nurses.

Spring Footwear

Spring Footwear has donated 500 pairs of its Spring Step Professionals duty shoes to critical care workers, first responders, and the many unsung heroes who support these workers. According to the company, there are currently plans underway to gift another 500 pairs within the next few weeks. The company’s sales managers reached out to local tri-county hospitals in Miami/Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to assess the needs of its staff.

Swiftwick

In addition to footwear that keeps them on their feet at work, many medical professionals also rely on compression socks to keep circulation up during long days on the job. Swiftwick created their Buy One, Give One initiative to donate a free pair of compression socks with every purchase on their site. Also, for every additional $5 donation added at check out, the brand is donating another pair to healthcare workers. The brand announced they’ve donated over 2,000 pairs already.

Vionic

The comfort brand is donating shoes and orthotics to emergency departments throughout the U.S. and making a donation to Direct Relief. Vionic is also gifting medical workers with Oprah’s “Favorite Things” slip-resistant slip-on sneaker, part of the brand’s Pro collection developed with health-care workers. In addition, the company is giving a selection of its podiatrist-designed orthotics to these workers.

Wolverine World Wide

Wolverine is supporting health-care workers through its social media platforms. As part of Merrell’s “Get and Give” campaign, consumers will receive a $25 gift card for orders over $100 on Merrell.com with that the intent the gift card be sent to someone working on the front lines or someone in need. Keds’ “To The Women on the Ground” campaign is showing its support on Instagram by inviting consumers to nominate a woman on the ground, working or volunteering during the crisis. The company will donate a pair of shoes to each woman selected while supplies last.

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