A product designer’s passion project harnessed shoe hype to raise tens of thousands of dollars for coronavirus relief

Drü Barrios holds up a Nike high-top sneaker he made in his workshop.
Drü Barrios holds up a Nike high-top sneaker he made in his workshop.

When the severity of the coronavirus pandemic became clear in the US in early March, Drü Barrios felt like a lot of us. First, staying home was crucial to containing the virus. Second, not being able to do anything was driving him nuts. A Southern California-based product designer with a UX background, Barrios is best known for his creative side project: building reconstructed Nikes by hand on factory-issued soles under the name airthirtytwo. So, as images of masked essential workers and virus containment centers took over the news, Barrios decided to help in his own way. …

Erin Klenow

Erin Klenow is a writer living in San Francisco.

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