Nike turns its Air sneakers into COVID-19 protective equipment

As you all know, the whole world has mobilized its strength to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all the major companies are contributing, be it with financial support in the form of donations or with the direct production of essential products. Now, Nike is also getting into the fight against the Coronavirus.

The American sports brand is working closely with health professionals at Oregon University of Science and Health (OHSU), to provide for an urgent need: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses for doctors, nurses and other frontline medical workers to protect against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The personal protective equipment will be made from reusable Nike material from the existing stock of materials for the brand to produce shoes and sports clothing. Materials such as a padded collar, Nike Air straps, and soles with TPU components will be reconfigured into a face shield. In addition, TPU will be used to create new lenses for PAPR helmets – an essential tool for the most important processes.

The most important of these is certainly the incorporation of the TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) material originally used for the brand’s Air shoe soles.

Behind the design and effectiveness of the concept are scientists at Oregon Health and Science University. The execution is entirely the work of the Nike’s Air Manufacturing Innovation (Air MI) facilities in Oregon and Missouri.

Without proper facial protection, healthcare workers are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, which could place substantial strain on the healthcare workforce in the months ahead,says Miko Enomoto, M.D., associate professor at OHSU School of Medicine. “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. 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.

PPE shields and PPE full-face lenses will be distributed to health systems where Nike is based, including Providence, Legacy Health Systems, and Kaiser Permanente and other systems throughout Oregon. In fact, the first shipment of these equipment has already been delivered to the University of Oregon, and the brand hopes to expand its reach as soon as possible.

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