Tactical Tailor

Wolverine Speaks Out On DoD Move To “Adopt” Berry Compliant Athletic Footwear

You may have heard that DoD is going to finally apply the Berry Amendment to athletic footwear. Many have been working behind the scenes for years to help make this happen and it’s a significant win for those who believe in helping maintain a domestic industrial base. In addition to the troops who will wear this footwear, the change will affect the footwear manufacturers, primarily Wolverine (Saucony brand running shoes) and New Balance, but also the fabric makers, sole maker Vibram, leather providers, and even the shoelace makers in the US who depend on domestic production. This is great news for our domestic supply chain and will help drive innovation in our space.

Rep Tsongas Letter Regarding Berry Compliant Footwear

(Click image to read letter)

As I see it, this is just an initial step. The deal is only for initial entry trainees using their voucher, and does not apply to currently serving personnel, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll be required to purchase a Berry compliant shoe. And, for those of you complaining that there won’t be many choices and that you need something special to fit your particular foot, consider this; a few years ago, DoD went to a common last (footbed shape) for combat footwear. In reality, you already don’t have different fits available for your feet.


Office of the Secretary of Defense Directs the Armed Services to Comply with Existing Law and Procure American-made Athletic Footwear

Rockford, Michigan, April 28, 2014 — Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) today commends the Department of Defense for updating the policy regarding the acquisition of athletic shoes for military recruits. In a letter to members of the Armed Services Committees, the Deputy Secretary of Defense confirmed a policy change that requires new recruits to use their footwear allowance to purchase U.S.-made athletic footwear that is compliant with the Berry Amendment, once they are available in the marketplace.

For the past several years, Wolverine Worldwide has urged the Pentagon to procure athletic footwear manufactured in the United States, rather than purchasing foreign-made products. This policy change will ensure that the Armed Services are not dependent on foreign sources for essential basic training needs and will significantly help support the U.S. supply chain for American-made shoes.

This policy correction will help strengthen and support the domestic industrial base and the thousands of manufacturing jobs that provide the necessary equipment for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Special Forces, with no additional cost to the taxpayer. It also strengthens the ability of industry to provide the full spectrum of footwear needs of the Armed Services, from combat boots to athletic shoes.

“I am grateful that the Department of Defense has recognized the importance of providing the Armed Services with athletic footwear made in the United States,” said Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our Saucony, Merrell and Bates brands have partnered together to advance this effort and we are well into the process of producing state-of-the art athletic shoes at our manufacturing plant in Michigan. Wolverine Worldwide is committed to utilizing the full research and development capabilities of our entire corporation to support the training needs of those who serve our country.”


18 Responses to “Wolverine Speaks Out On DoD Move To “Adopt” Berry Compliant Athletic Footwear”

  1. straps says:

    “In reality, you already don’t have different fits available for your feet.”

    Sorta not entirely true in that different manufacturers either fudge on this requirement or use their lasts differently. My Danner ICHs and my Belleville 950s fit VERY differently (either with the original footbeds or with Smartfeet).

    Failing the ability of Danner, I go on the hunt for Lowas, which I owe the past few years of my career to after a nasty bout of Plantar Fasciitis likely aggravated by an earlier pair of ISSUED Oakleys almost put me in front of an MEB.

    • SSD says:

      I think you’ve answered this quandary with your own post mentioning the different brands. The common last is contractual requirement and not generally found in commercial products. Your Oakleys may have been issued but wouldn’t have featured the common last.

      • straps says:

        I’ll concede that the Oakleys could have come through a commercial channel before being issued (though neither I nor anyone I’ve worked with ever saw ’em on the SI site) but the Bellevilles and Danners came through the System. But hey, my bias toward Danner spans back to the “Go Devil” boot…

  2. Glen says:

    “As I see it, this is just an initial step. The deal is only for initial entry trainees using their voucher, and does not apply to currently serving personnel, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll be required to purchase a Berry compliant shoe.”

    Since what I purchase is outside of the Berry Amendment, good luck with enforcing “the next step”. Not happening.

  3. Will says:

    Sweet, let’s force initial entry soldiers to pay more out of pocket for their running shoes. We know you don’t have any money yet, but we will be deducting an extra amount from your already sub-minimum-wage paycheck so a congressman and a business man can pat themselves on the back over ‘saving’ American manufacturing. Hope you aren’t trying to cover a wife or any kids with that…

    An equivalent would be forcing those on unemployment/welfare/snap to buy US grown organic produce. Hope it’s in season.

    We need to be reducing berry compliance requirements; not adding more.

    • straps says:

      They get a voucher.

      Reading Is Fundamental.

      Re: Berry abolition. Slave Labor shouldn’t be the floor for economizing on labor costs.

      • Will M says:

        How does non berry = slave labor?

        • D says:

          China and Vietnam don’t have the same laws protecting labor that the USA have. Sweatshop workers are virtual slaves.

          • Will M says:

            So they are working there against their will? Or are they working there because there is no other choice available and they in fact desperately need those jobs? The alternative, not working, is even worse. Although we can assume that we know what is best for “them,” that would be a tad paternalistic and ridiculous from our couches in America. The berry amendment is many things, it most certainly is not in place to protect overseas workers.

  4. Lcon says:

    So New Balance, Merrell or Saucony. New Balance are American made and pretty affordable.

  5. AbnMedOps says:

    In Phase 2, the Shoe Cartel will send forth legions of military (ret) flunkies to influence their old active duty buddies, and ensure that the next AR 670-1 revision mandates “uniformity” with one Official PT shoe, with each key donor congressional district manufacturing a piece.

  6. Sad that we have no “Berry Amendment” variant here in the UK.

    We are moving towards producing 100% of our own products her in the UK. Great shame that we have no support from the British Government in doing so.

    Any manufacturing firm in the USA should be so proud that you have the Berry Amendment and should buy US Made where possible in any case.

  7. james says:

    If you are a US based Manufacture and need help with smaller injection molded parts please contact us at National Molding… with two company owned plants in PA and FL we have over 130 injection molding machines and look forward to meeting your molding requirements

  8. 112honeybadger says:

    The Army seems to be leaning towards uniform PT shoes, as you eluded to in the post and comments. This is a horrific idea. I have three different types of shoes for PT, depending on the activity. I have regular performace running shoes for mid-long distance run days, racing flats for the APFT and sprints-speedwork days, and trail shoes for grass drill days. The Army is supposed to have “warrior athletes”, and I consider myself to be one of those. If you look at any college of professional level fitness program, everyone has different shoes and different types for the activity or workout at hand. This is a terrible plan. The entire Berry Amendment requirement is ridiculous. Our government is BLEEDING money, and we want to insure that the shoes Soldiers buy cost more because they are made in the USA, so that Congress can say they “saved American manufacturing”. Newsflash! American manufacturing died decades ago, and if it were not for foreign companies like Hyundai and Kia coming into the South and opening up factories where all the mills closed all those people would still be hurting. I am an elite runner, Soldier, and athlete. I don’t care if the shoe is made in Iran or North Korea, if it is well made, performs well, and is a reasonable price I will buy it. This is just another way the US Government can spend more money we do not have. Just give Soldiers the uniform allowance and let them buy what works for them.

    • SSD says:

      Actually it isn’t leaning toward a single PT shoe. That’s I haven’t alluded to that. What the US military is doing is offering American made shoes to basic trainees.