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U.S. soybeans providing comfort for health care workers

U.S. soybeans providing comfort for health care workers

Okabashi pledges to donate up to 10,000 pairs of sandals

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

U.S. soybeans are helping to keep the feet of America’s doctors, nurses and other health care workers comfortable as they continue working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Okabashi, a Buford, Ga. shoe company, is donating one pair of sandals to American health care workers for every pair sold. The company commits to providing up to 10,000 pairs. About 5,000 pairs have already been donated.

And U.S. farmers are a part of the shoe company’s manufacturing process.

Each pair of Okabashi’s flip-flops and sandals is made up of about 45 percent of U.S. soybeans by weight.

Okabashi photo

Soybean oil is added to a mix that is processed through a plasticizer (an additive used to increase the elasticity of material).

The oil meets Okabashi’s needs for its product specifications and, since U.S. producers grow an abundance of soybeans, soybean oil is always readily available, said Kim Falkenhayn, president of Okabashi.

U.S. soybean producers are pleased to see their crops included in such a thoughtful campaign.

For a health care worker to receive a free pair of sandals and to know a farmer played a role in producing those sandals is special, said Belinda Burrier, a soybean grower from Union Bridge, Md. and director on the United Soybean Board.

“It’s neat to see the soybeans I grow not only being used in a unique way that supports demand for our product, but also to support front line workers during this crisis,” she said in a statement. “It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to grow soybeans. It shows the importance of continuing to look for new ways that U.S. Soy and our partners can give back to communities across the country.”

Customers can purchase a pair of sandals from Okabashi’s website or from Zappos, and can include a letter of encouragement to the donation recipient. has reached out to Okabashi and the United Soybean Board for comment.


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