Nurse friends create water resistant, breathable shoes for 12-hour shifts

When two nurses couldn’t find shoes that were both functional and unique, they decided to create them

These Bala Twelves were designed with input from nurses.“I liked the snug fit and how comfortable they are. They are actually liquid resistant,” the reviewer said.They are based on female foot morphology with a high traction outsole for hospital floors.The sneakers come in five color combinations and have a protective coating that repels water.The reviewer, Alice Benjamin, gave the shoes a 5 in every category

When you’re on your feet most of the day, you want your shoes to work as hard as you do. And when you’re a nurse, you need them to do more than just support you.

Although some athletic shoes might fit the bill, two Los Angeles friends were disappointed at the lack of footwear options for them as nurses. So they decided to design their own.

“Footwear is the one aspect of our uniform that we have some freedom to choose our own individual style,” Alex Pastorkovich and Loftin Dortch told Nurse.org. “We wanted a shoe that we, and all health care workers, could be excited to put on each day. We thought, ‘Why can’t we have a shoe that takes care of our feet for a 12-hour shift, while also looking super stylish?’ So we said, ‘Let’s make one!’ And that was the beginning of Üni.”

Üni comes from “uniform” and “unique,” two aspects of the shoes important to the friends.

“We designed our shoes to be worn with a uniform, but wanted them to be so much more than that,” Loftin said. “We started thinking about how health care workers are so much more than the uniform they put on each day. Each individual is unique and we wanted Üni to be an outlet for them to showcase their individual style at work.”

As part of their uniform, the shoes need to be more than just attractive though. The friends told Nurse.org their shoes are not only comfortable, slip resistant and stain repellent, but they also have an antimicrobial treatment that kills viruses, bacteria and microbes. In addition, the shoes have a layer that makes them water resistant without the use of chemicals or sprays.

“This unique feature allows our shoes to remain breathable, which prevents feet from getting overheated during those long 12+ hour shifts,” Loftin said. “Our fabric also provides unmatched durability that can stand up to the harshest work conditions, significantly increasing the life of the shoes.”

The shoes are available for preorder, with hundreds expected to be ready in March.

“We want to see Ünis in hospitals, offices, and clinics all across the country,” the nurses said. “We had our co-workers in mind through the entire shoe design process and we can’t wait for everyone to get a pair.”

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