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Nike Announces New Ground-Up Design for Medical Workers

Photo © Nike

The Nike Air Zoom Pulse is a shoe for everyday heroes: nurses, doctors, home health providers and others who work tirelessly to support patients.

Product testing and medical-worker insights — those on-the-ground athletes — took place at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital located in Portland, Oregon. During the sessions, the designers of the Air Zoom Pulse learned the rigors 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.

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? The answer comes through the Pulse’s full-rubber outsole, a flexible drop-in midsole with Zoom Air heel unit and a heel fit so secure, it feels like a soft, snug hug.

Key Design Elements of the Air Zoom Pulse

  • The laceless upper features a protective PU-coated synthetic vamp for easy cleaning
  • An elastic strap keeps the heel securely contained, and allows for flexible and easy one-handed entry
  • The durable, full-rubber outsole incorporates a water-dispersive traction pattern
  • The subtle Asterisk logo references Nike’s company mission and the belief that “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

One can think of the Air Zoom Pulse as almost a traditional clog made athletic — all the arch and posture support of that industry favorite is augmented in the Pulse, with a smooth capacity for natural motion.

And, of course, the shoe is also fabricated for the unforeseen peculiarities of life in the hospital. The coated toe box protects against any type of spill. Smooth surfaces present a unique challenge when designing for spills as well, and the shoe’s traction pattern solves for this by removing closed cells.

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