It was only appropriate that on May 6, designated as National Nurses Day, Fleet Feet Fort Wayne partnered with Hoka One One and donated 60 pairs of new Hoka shoes to frontline local health care workers in Northeast Indiana. It was the retailers way of partnering with a primary shoe vendor to help support those who helping it through the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the time Indiana had 21,870 confirmed cases and 1264 deaths and Fort Wayne has two of the largest regional hospitals networks in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio — Parkview Health and Lutheran Health.

The Fleet Feet Fort Wayne effort was part of Hoka One One’s Front Line Give Back Program, launched earlier this year to benefit those fighting COVID-19 directly. As part of this initiative, Hoka is working with retail partners to donate 5000 pairs of shoes directly to healthcare workers on the front lines of national relief efforts across the country.

Kevin Croy, owner Fleet Feet Sports in Fort Wayne, tells Running Insight that several nurses had called the store wanting to order shoes to wear and leave at the hospital due to possible COVID-19 transmission risk. They did not want to infect their family and friends, so they are in need of a second pair of shoes.

“We talked to the lead nurse, Cathy Busse, on the COVID-19 wing of the Lutheran Hospital of Northeast Indiana and she said there was definitely a need for shoes,” Croy says. “With so many nurses working long hours and wanting to do all they could to protect themselves and not bring the virus home, they were purchasing additional shoes and leaving them at the hospital for work purposes only.

“And that they liked Hoka — it was the most comfortable for standing on hard surfaces,” he adds.


Turning To Hoka One One

That’s when he turned to Hoka, which he says is well recognized in the healthcare community. Many doctors, nurses and healthcare workers wear Hoka while at work since they are on their feet for long periods of time. Many orthopedic doctors and podiatrists are also recommending Hoka brand shoes to their patients with chronic foot, knee, back and hip issues.

“They are referring and prescribing their patients and colleagues to our store to purchase Hoka shoes to help them with their medical issues,” Croy explains. “It was a way to say thank you to them as well.”

Croy says he saw that a few select Fleet Feet stores were already partnering with Hoka in their areas as well – Fleet Feet Columbus and Fleet Feet Huntsville among them, along with JackRabbit and a number of other independent retailers – so he decided to do the same in Indiana since no one had addressed the state yet.

Croy turned to his Hoka representative, Kevin Cross, who quickly responded that the company would be happy to donate 50 pairs of shoes. Croy then contacted the local Health Network Human Resource Department to attain shoe sizes and needs. Fleet Feet Fort Wayne fulfilled those orders with its inventory and Hoka replenished what it gave away at no charge. 

Fleet Fort Wayne also donated an additional 10 pair of Hoka shoes due to the demand, making the total donation of 60 pairs.