If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it one-hundred times—These times are unprecedented. The stock market is unpredictable, unemployment is hitting record highs, and nobody knows what the future may hold. We have taken precautionary measures unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes just to stop the spread of the invisible killer that is COVID-19. We have gone from showing off our sneaker rotation to showing off our face mask rotation. Some of our customers here at Proof Culture have even taken the liberty to make sure that we’re staying safe by including masks along with the shoes they’re sending in for service (Thank you so much). Times are hard for us, but they’re also hard for our favorite brands. Every manufacturer you could think of has been forced to close their stores and because of that sales have been plummeting. Under Armour had to make the difficult decision to indefinitely close stores and lay-off over 6,000 employees…
Personally, I am a firm believer that what defines someone is how they deal with adversity. When life faces us with challenges, it’s better to band together as one than to separate and give-in. This same rule applies to our community, and our favorite brands know that too. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Asics, Vans, and New Balance have decided not just to stay strong, but to clap back at COVID-19 in BIG WAYS; and we feel like it’s our responsibility to give them a little more recognition for their actions.
Let’s start with PPE face shields. Face shields are paramount to protect our healthcare workers’ faces from being exposed to the fluids that carry COVID-19. Nike and Adidas understand this. In response to the high demand for PPE face shields, both Nike and Adidas have converted production lines that once made the apparel and shoes that we all love into lines that produce these shields; all of which are being donated to hospitals around the country at the time this post is being written. Adidas went all-in on this effort by making their masks out of Carbon 4D, their famous 3D printed material; the same material that composes the midsoles of shoes that are going for $1,000+ on StockX!
Let’s switch course and talk about face masks. Our healthcare workers have voiced a need for face masks and New Balance has been all ears. Early in COVID-19’s spread through the US, New Balance decided to immediately stop production of sneakers in some of its US facilities and begin mass-producing face masks for healthcare workers out of sneaker parts, most notably the shoelace straps. As if this wasn’t cool enough, production of these face masks is keeping about 120 New Balance factory workers employed during these uncertain times. I would assume that these masks are just as high of quality as New Balance’s Made In The USA series sneakers!
Asics has chosen to focus their COVID-19 relief initiatives on something we are all very fond of, social media. Asics knows that while we are all separated now, we are united in our fight against this virus and is embodying this ideology through their #UntiedYetUnited campaign. The idea behind the campaign is for people to show their unity via pictures of their Asics sneakers with laces untied and in the shape of a heart. People from all reaches of our sneaker community have jumped on board and are using this as a means to show their heat and their heart. These posts serve as simple reminders that we’re all in this together every time I scroll past them on my feeds, which is sometimes very much needed.
Vans has chosen to aim their focus on struggling small businesses via their new Foot the Bill initiative. Knowing that we love limited and special edition sneakers, Vans has decided to collaborate with a wide array of small skate shops, restaurants, music venues, and art galleries across the United States to create a sneaker unique to each location. As if the initiative couldn’t get any cooler, Vans has promised to grant all net proceeds for each shoe sold to the small business collaborator of said shoe. I highly encourage you to check out Vans’ website to see if they collaborated with a small business near you, and pick up a pair or two. With over 80 collaborations, chances are they did…
What defines us is how we deal with adversity … Right now, we are facing some of the greatest adversity we will witness in our lifetimes. During these times Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Vans, and Asics could have continued business as usual in order to reach for some extra profit. They could have used their efforts to continue producing sneakers in order to make a buck. They did not. They realized that they had a platform to make a difference, and in the face of adversity, they focused their efforts on something bigger than themselves. So, major shout-out to Asics and Vans for keeping us together and uniting the fight, and major shout-outs to Nike, Adidas, and New Balance for giving our healthcare workers the tools they need to fight COVID-19 (in style).
I must end this by saying that we here at Proof Culture hope that you are staying safe and healthy. We are all united as a community and we will make it through this together!