In addition to a $2 million dollar pledge in support of coronavirus relief efforts, New Balance is using its stateside manufacturing business for a more direct line of help.

Today, the brand announced that it's producing prototype face masks at its Lawrence, MA factory, with intent to scale production to its other New England factories in the near future. New Balance has often been praised for its US-based production, which they say surpasses 4 million pairs of sneakers annually stateside.

"We are coordinating our efforts with government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities," said New Balance in a statement.

The announcement comes as hospitals around the country (and the world) are dealing with mask shortages for both workers and patients. At the time of this writing, the U.S. has surpassed 104,000 total coronavirus cases, with nearly 1,700 deaths reported.

UPDATE (04/02): After unveiling its first prototype last week, New Balance has announced it will be ramping up production on its face masks as an urgent demand for the product continues due to the coronavirus pandemic. The brand's goal is to produce 100,000 units weekly by mid-April and are exploring ways to create other personal protective equipment including gowns and foot coverings and more.

New Balance Coronavirus Mask Prototype
Image via New Balance