New Balance Ships Running Shoes to Military Troops

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    Getty ImagesAdam Glanzman

    Within the next year, as many as 92,000 military recruits might be decked out in New Balance running shoes, according to a new report from the Boston Globe.

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    Earlier this spring, the Boston-based company—which manufactures its shoes primarily in a factory in Norridgewock, Maine—signed a $17 million contract with the Department of Defense to produce American-made shoes for the military. The deal was a long time in the making for New Balance, who approached the DoD more than seven years ago to help reinstate a 1940s-era law called the Berry Amendment, which requires that military recruits dress entirely in clothing and footwear made in the U.S.

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    For years, the department hadn’t included running shoes in the law, stating that there weren’t enough American-made running shoe companies to outfit something as large as the military, the Boston Globe reported.

    New Balance pushed back, and in 2014, the Pentagon finally agreed to purchase domestically produced shoes. But after the motion passed, the running shoe company heard crickets from the government for two years, with no orders coming through. It wasn’t until Maine congressional representatives Bruce Poliquin and Niki Tsongas fought for New Balance in Washington, D.C. that the DoD was forced to start purchasing shoes, according to the Globe.

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    After passing through some red tape, the deal was finally announced by the delegation in March of this year, and production commenced over the summer. The newspaper reported that since August, New Balance’s 1,300 American employees have been crafting the special military trainers, which the company is dubbing the “950v2.” The company, which plans to make 92,000 pairs of shoes by the end of next year, started to ship the finished pairs in mid-October.

    Unfortunately, the shoes won’t be available to the public—but if you want to find your own New Balance sole mate shoe, check out our roundup here.



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