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This Designer Turns Running Shoes Into Protection From Pollution

1.6 million people in China die every year because of air pollution, so many people protect themselves using face masks.

Beijing-based designer Zhijun Wang makes antipollution masks by re-purposing running shoes.

So, smog masks just got more fashionable.

The evolution of smog masks can seem dystopian, but they're an important safety precaution in China.

1.6 million people in China die every year because of air pollution.

"Every day I have to think about it. I have to wear a face mask to go outside. Is tomorrow going to be so horrifying that I won't be able to run outside? So I thought, 'Can I use my own approach to express how I feel about this?'" Wang said.

Runners in Beijing are particularly affected by pollution. It's recommended that they check the Air Quality Index for smog levels, wear masks during their workout, and even skip days with unsafe pollution levels.

So as pollution gets worse and smog masks get more elaborate, it seems pretty fitting to see designer masks made from running shoes. 

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