During last week’s Warrior West Expo, I had a chance to check out the Berry compliant running shoes being offered by New Balance in response to DoD’s announcement that new recruits will now use their vouchers for running shoes to buy American made products.
Until now, troops have been buying foreign made kicks. Now, the same money that would have purchased these shoes manufactured oversea will be used to buy ones made here at home.
Running shoes have remained the last frontier of Berry compliance for DoD. New Balance and Saucony have stepped up and invested in the technology to manufacture running shoes right here in America. Hopefully, this is only the first step and others will follow. This opportunity is only open to those manufacturers who offer Berry compliant shoes and are willing to undergo certification.
Fortunately, DoD made this happen on their own, as past attempts in Congress were blocked by the likes of Sen John McCain (R-AZ) and others. One more time. Congress did not direct DoD to take this course of action.
The New Balance 950v2 is a low cut running shoe that incorporates ABZORB cushioning in the heel and forefoot. They’ve been working in this military version for some time.
As you can see these aren’t “ugly”, as they were recently referred to by the seemingly anti-American manufacturing website Gawker. Ignorant rants like theirs fail to comprehend the importance of the Berry Amendment in maintaining the protective edge for our service members.
Socialism, it isn’t. Ask the countries that have outsourced the production of their defense related textile needs how that is working to for them. They’re not exactly pushing the envelope. America remains the world leader in the development and production of protective clothing and individual equipment for the warrior. It’s investment in our industries like this that make such development possible.
Unfortunately, the ignorant comments regarding this development aren’t confined to Gawker. I’ve seen some really ridiculous stuff spewed all over, including Facebook, various blogs and even here on SSD.
Let me address a few of these claims by internet “experts”.
Everyone will have to wear the same shoe
This is restricted to new accessions so serving members will continue to purchase and wear the shoes of their choosing, just like now. New recruits receive a voucher for running shoes during processing for initial entry training. Now, instead of foreign made shoes, they’ll be offered American made trainers.
I’m still trying to figure out how buying American made products from companies that employ American workers is bad. But, I’ve run across several who feel that the Berry Amendment, which dates from WW II, is antiquated and should be repealed. That is, until I have them consider the alternative. I haven’t met anyone who wants their helmet and armor manufactured overseas.
“Follow the money!” aka “they paid off Congress” aka “they’ve hired a retired General to make this happen”
I’m pretty much sick and tired of this meme. I don’t know of anyone who is actually involved in graft or the greasing of palms. This business space just isn’t that lucrative. In truth, New Balance would be better off selling offshore made shoes or selling American made ones at full retail. The numbers here aren’t that big as they are restricted to new accessions. Make no mistake, New Balance is in business and they are going to profit but they’ve done it (invested in the required infrastructure) in part, because it’s the right thing to do.
Writ large, there isn’t that much money in textile items, at least not ones made in America, for DoD. Granted, some companies, particularly armor manufacturers, made some good money during the height of the war, but considering we are a capitalist society, that’s not a bad thing. However, in case you haven’t noticed, that train has left the station and many firms are hurting in the face of Sequestration.
But, but, but…they’re not Brand Y…I wear Brand Y
Don’t fret, unless you are a new entry, this doesn’t affect you and even if you are, you can buy your favorite brand after basic, even if they aren’t part if this program. The same goes with boots.
This move by DoD is a good thing and if, by happenstance, it turns out to not be, I’ll be there to talk about it.