New Balance Pushes Military to Wear US-Made Shoes
New bill would stop soldiers from wearing Nikes
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2013 7:10 PM CDT
A pair of New Balance running shoes, customized for President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/New Balance via Rep. Mike Michaud)

(Newser) – American soldiers should be wearing American shoes. That's the argument behind a new bill that would require all military recruits to wear shoes made in the US. Lobbying hard for the bill? New Balance—which just happens to manufacture all its shoes Stateside and stands to make some $50 million if it passes, Politico reports. Navy recruits already wear New Balance sneakers exclusively, but the new bill would force all branches of the armed services to follow suit. The Army and Air Force currently give their recruits a stipend to purchase their own footwear, allowing soldiers to purchase overseas-made brands Nike.

But New Balance, and its supporters in DC, argue that the practice violates a 1941 statute which requires the Department of Defense to procure food and clothes from domestic sources. "Soldiers don’t have a choice for most of the gear that they’re given, so I don’t know why it would be different for athletic footwear," says a New Balance spokesperson. "The administration talks a lot about supporting domestic manufacturing—here’s an opportunity to do it." But maintaining a massive supply of sneakers for every soldier would be a massive undertaking, argues an Army spokesperson "For the Army to maintain those items in inventory," he says, "it would have to be quite a large inventory."

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May 5, 2014 9:15 AM CDT
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Brian Turner
Mar 25, 2014 9:52 AM CDT
As a Veteran, I see no issue with have made in the US shoes; however, that would come with stipulations. First being that no logo can appear on the shoes other than the branch of service and it would be colored coded to that branches colors. This is the same for all military issued clothing and even their field operating vehicles. You don't see any logos. Now to the medical part of this liability. The manucator would in turn need to offer some sort of funding from those shoes to go back into the healthcare of the service members seeing it is a key factor to their physical health mainly in feet, legs, and backs. All the other clothing issued to the service members can cause no harm or restriction to improper sizing. Follow those rules and sure they or any other company could offer to fit the troops with their brands. AGAIN no logos allowed.
Oct 2, 2013 1:49 AM CDT
What ever happened to PF FLYERS, KEDS and RED BALL JETS ?