When Philadelphia hospitals filled up with COVID-19 cases, front-line workers would wipe themselves down from head to toe with sanitizing wipes between patients, terrified of transmitting the virus within the hospital or bringing it home to their families. Clove, a shoe brand created expressly for healthcare workers, was ready for this moment with sneakers that can withstand industrial-strength cleaners. Before its shoes hit the market in late 2019, the startup had spent a year conducting focus groups with hundreds of medical professionals to create its first product, a shoe that is perfectly tailored to their needs: easy to slip on and fluid-repellent. The brand also got input from shoe designer Stuart Weitzman to ensure a chic profile. When the pandemic arrived in America, many doctors and nurses bought multiple pairs to prepare for the long days ahead, quadrupling Clove’s business. “They were preparing for battle, and Clove was part of their armor,” says Joe Ammon, Clove’s founder and CEO, who was inspired by his wife, a nurse, to launch the business.
See more honorees from the 2020 Innovation by Design Awards here.
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