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These Footwear Makers Are Giving Free Shoes to Medical Workers

As the COVID-19 crisis rages, several U.S. footwear companies are donating shoes to American health care workers who are fighting to turn the tide of the pandemic.

The response from eager recipients has been vociferous, throwing into relief the need for such programs to keep frontline responders who are on their feet all day (and night) comfortable and protected.

Over the past week, cult favorite Allbirds has given away $500,000 worth of its merino-wool-clad Wool Runners after it placed a call on Instagram for medical personnel to get in touch.

“We’ve been completely blown away by the response to our U.S. healthcare donation last week,” the San Francisco brand wrote in a social-media update on Wednesday. “Our team has been working overtime to get back to all of the requests.”

To extend its donation program further, Allbirds is providing a buy-one-give-one option “while supplies last.”

“If you purchase a pair of Allbirds in the U.S., we will also split the cost of donating a pair of Wool Runners,” it wrote. “Or if you’d like to simply donate a pair, we’ve created an option that allows you to do that, too.”

Allbirds also announced that it will be extending store closures in the U.S. and Europe till April 10, though its e-commerce storefronts will operate “business as usual.”

In a similar move, Crocs will be putting up 10,000 new pairs of its signature EVA clog on its website every day for healthcare workers to claim for free until supplies run out.

In addition, the company will be donating up to 100,000 pairs of shoes for distribution across a number of healthcare facilities and organizations “in a dual effort to get as much product as possible into the hands of those who need it most.” All U.S. stores have been temporarily shuttered, although online sales are still active.

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“Over the past week, we have spoken to healthcare workers, their facilities and even their family and friends, and they have specifically asked for our shoes in an effort to provide ease on their feet, as well as ease of mind as they need the ability to easily clean up before they go home to their families,” Andrew Rees, the Colorado-based firm’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“These workers have our deepest respect, and we are humbled to be able to answer their call and provide whatever we can to help during this unprecedented time,” he added.

Earlier this month, Portland, Ore.-based outdoor brand Keen announced it will be distributing 100,000 pairs of shoes, worth $10,000,000, to medical staff and families in need.

“We understand shoes may not be a priority for some, but making shoes that help people get outside and get the job done is what we do best—it’s the unique skill we bring to the world,” Keen, which has closed all its U.S. retail locations, wrote in a statement. “Whether these shoes help a worker stay comfortable during a long shift or simply allow people to get outside to breathe in the benefits of nature while safely practicing social distancing, we felt compelled to share our strengths for the common good.”

Michigan’s Merrell dispatched 1,200 pairs of shoes and boots worth $140,000 at retail to local hospitals Spectrum Health and Mercy Health, along with the Grand Rapids fire and police departments this week.

“Merrell could not be more proud to call West Michigan home and we want to support those on the front lines working tirelessly to protect the health and safety of everyone in our community and beyond,” senior marketing manager Lauren King said in a statement. “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.”