Asclepius, meet Nike. The footwear brand that has carried athletes such as Kobe Bryant to victory is now about to swoosh into hospitals with a range of shoes designed specifically to meet the needs of healthcare staff.
This month will see the launch of the Nike Air Zoom Pulse collection, a series of laceless sneakers that the US company says are made to meet the diverse demands of “everyday heroes” – doctors and nurses working in complex hospital environment.
According to Nike the shoes are a variation on the traditional clog with an athletic twist for flexible movement – and with the arch and posture support needed for long shifts.
“The design confronts a range of medical-worker-specific challenges. How can a shoe be both comfortable for long stretches of standing and versatile enough to support the hurried movements required in emergency situations?” says the Nike blurb.
The answer, apparently, lies in Pulse’s rubber soles to avoid slips on hospital floors, a flexible drop-in midsole with Zoom Air heel unit, and an elastic elastic strap to keep the heel secured. And to protect against workplace hazards, the outside is splashproof, cleanable and there’s a coated toe box.
The Oregon-based company says it tested the range on locally at the Oregon Health & Science University’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
“During the sessions, the designers of the Air Zoom Pulse learned the rigours of these health-care workers’ day-to-day efforts. Nurses, for example, walk approximately four to five miles and sit for less than an hour during the course of a 12-hour shift. The work is physically and mentally demanding.
“The design for the Air Zoom Pulse tackles those challenges with simplicity in mind. The shoe is easy to get on and off, and equally simple to clean. The fit, cushioning and traction systems work together to secure the foot in all hospital conditions.”