Shoe News

Shoe Designers Mobilize to Help Hospital Workers

31st March 2020

WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI

We highlight some applause worthy initiatives by the likes of Sophia Webster, Kurt Geiger and All Birds.

IMAGE COURTESY OF @ALLBIRDS

In this challenging time, footwear designers around the world are coming together, using their platforms to make positive contributions – and say a big thank you to front line workers with shoe and monetary donations alike. 

It’s an applause-worthy move, given the dwindling demand, store closures and multiple business challenges all of these brands are facing at the moment. 

Sustainable sneaker brand All Birds, which counts Leonardo di Caprio as one of its earliest investors, opened up its website last week for healthcare workers in the U.K. and the U.S. to fill in a form and claim a free pair of sneakers as a token of appreciation for their service. 

Sophia Webster shortly followed suit, by asking her followers on Instagram to nominate doctors and nurses currently working in Britain’s National Health Care system, as she pledged to donate 200 pairs of her popular ‘Fly By’ sneakers to them. 

The result was myriads of tags and nominations left in the comment section of her posts, alongside stories of the courage shown by these medics and nurses as they help fight this pandemic. 

It has been so emotional and inspiring to hear the stories of the selfless men and women putting themselves out on the front line,” said Webster, adding that gratitude and positive action has helped her navigate the crisis and moments of feeling helpless.

Kurt Geiger too, one of the U.K.’s footwear giants that was forced to close all 55 of its stores since March 21, has embarked on a series of charitable initiatives to support both healthcare workers and vulnerable communities. Its stores’ staff – whose jobs are secure and will continue to be paid, while the company’s chief executive officer Niel Clifford will be suspending his salary until stores open again – are being encouraged to work with local charities during this time when they no longer need to go to work. The company will also be offering a year-long 50 percent discount to all NHS staff and 100 pound vouchers, to 55 medics working in critical care departments at every London hospital.

“It’s clear that community life and extra acts of kindness will help build invaluable support in this unprecedented time,” said Clifford. 

The brand’s spring 2020 ambassadors, Jourdan Dunn and Elizabeth Hurley, were also vocal about their support of the company’s initiatives. 

“Now is the time for us all to play a part in our communities,” said Dunn. 

SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS. IMAGE COURTESY OF @KURTGEIGER