B5 Systems

Posts Tagged ‘New Balance’

Danner x New Balance American Pioneer Project

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

How about two times ‘Made in USA’?  This is the Danner x New Balance American Pioneer Project, a limited edition collaboration featuring two trail-inspired styles – the Danner Light Pioneer and the New Balance MiUSA 585. 


HASC 2017 NDAA Markup Includes Requirement For Berry Compliant Athletic Footwear

Friday, April 29th, 2016

As you may know, DoD does a great job of adhering to the Berry Amendment, except when it comes to athletic footwear. While many look at the WWII-era law as protectionary, it was created to ensure a viable industrial base for textiles and other clothing, footwear and equipment items. The failure of DoD to follow Berry guidelines for athletic footwear is most apparent during Initial Entry Training where recruits are issued vouchers, which are traded for commercial running shoes at military exchanges.  As you can imagine, these shoes are made overseas.

For the past several years, Congress has been working with industry to offer viable American made alternatives to the military. The language in the National Defense Authorization Act has become more specific each year, and now hopefully, we’ll see this latest version become a part of the 2017 NDAA that the President signs into law later this year after it makes it through the rest of the hoops. Now, we’ve got both Saucony and New Balance offering Made in USA running shoes. Once this becomes law, I believe other brands will follow, bringing jobs back to the US.


Annual Department of Defense Funding Bill Includes Landmark Provision Requiring Department of Defense to Provide Berry Amendment Compliant Athletic Footwear to Recruits

Rockford, Mich., April 28, 2016 — Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) today commended the House Armed Services Committee’s approval of legislation directing the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to provide Berry Amendment compliant athletic footwear to service members upon their initial entry to the armed forces. Currently, the Department of Defense provides a cash allowance to members for the purchase of foreign-made athletic footwear. This important provision was included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and led by Armed Services Committee member Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA.)

“I commend the House Armed Services Committee for this significant provision that will have a direct and positive impact on our ability to provide high quality, American-made athletic footwear to men and women upon their entry to the armed services,” said Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. “Congresswoman Niki Tsongas has exhibited remarkable persistence in her support for American manufacturing and for the needs of American service members. We are greatly appreciative of the commitment demonstrated by Congresswoman Tsongas and the members of the Armed Services committee to support American jobs and maintain a strong footwear industrial base in the United States.”

Since 1941, the Berry Amendment has required the Department of Defense to only purchase American-made and sourced clothing, textiles, foods, and other essential military items for our men and women in uniform. Until today, athletic footwear was not included in the Amendment. The purpose of the Berry Amendment is to ensure the United States is able to maintain viable industries for key military items should conflict break out and disrupt supply lines. This legislation helps support manufacturing jobs and sustains the domestic industrial base that currently builds the combat boots and military dress shoes for the United States Armed Services.

With a longstanding partnership with the United States Department of Defense, Wolverine Worldwide operates a manufacturing plant located in Big Rapids, Mich. that employs more than 600 people who currently and proudly build a broad spectrum of Bates Footwear for the men and women of the United States military. Products manufactured in Big Rapids include combat boots for the service branches, mountain combat boots for Special Operations Forces, and military dress shoes.

Wolverine Worldwide has athletic footwear manufacturing capabilities in its Big Rapids facility through its Saucony brand. Saucony is a leading global performance running brand that was founded in the United States in 1898. The brand is known for its best-in-class design, innovation and performance technology. Saucony maintains and is presently expanding its technical research laboratory in Lexington, MA where the Company performs material testing as well as biomechanical, physiological and sensory analysis of runners. The athletic footwear capabilities of the Company’s Big Rapids facility are due to the creation and engineering of an advanced manufacturing line that can produce 100% Berry-compliant Saucony running shoes. The Company is looking forward to building American-made athletic shoes for American troops as a result of this critical amendment included in the NDAA.

WPRC Announces Newest Members

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

We are pleased to share this announcement from the Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition regarding new membership. We see several great companies joining this organization and it’s been quite educational to join them each year in Washington as they engage Congress on equipping issues.

Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition Welcomes Three New Additions to the Board of Directors and Six New Industry Members

MARBLEHEAD, MA (July 31, 2014) – The Warrior Protection and Readiness Coalition (WPRC) is pleased to announce three new members of its Board of Directors and the latest additions to its membership, including several leading companies in the warfighter equipment and clothing industry.

The three new industry representatives who have joined the WPRC Board of Directors include; Don Vavala of W.L. Gore and Associates, Frank Montie of Brookwood Companies, and Nate Smith of Oakley/Eye Safety Systems (ESS). The WPRC Board of Directors represents a cross section of the personal protective equipment industry, providing organizational governance and setting the strategic direction of the WPRC. These new Board members join current WPRC Board Chairman Luke Hillier and WPRC Secretary David Bohannon as leaders of this not for profit industry

The new company members of the WPRC include: Lion Vallen, Outdoor Research, Burlington/International Textile Group (ITG), New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., Patagonia, Inc., and CamelBak Products LLC. The added voices of these leading companies will be critical to advancing the WPRC mission to support the equipment and advanced clothing needs of the Armed Services and Department of Homeland Security.

Lion Vallen – Lion Vallen is a global leader in supply chain and lifecycle management of protective clothing, equipment and uniforms. LVI has a deep commitment to delivering superior services that support customers’ personal safety, readiness and professional identity needs. www.lionprotects.com.

Outdoor Research – Outdoor Research is a designer, developer, and manufacturer of apparel, glove systems, and accessories designed for the military and outdoor markets. Products for the U.S. military are manufactured at their own facility located in downtown Seattle. A full range of products is commercially available at www.outdoorresearch.com.

Burlington/ITG – Burlington leverages its advanced R&D with a diverse range of high performance manufacturing capabilities and a complete range of fiber/fabric blends that deliver state of the art military and commercial solutions worldwide. Their fabric portfolio encompasses applications for extreme weather apparel; camouflage combat and utility materials, tenting, shelter fabrics, shipboard covers and ballistic materials. Information on their military product offerings may be found at www.burlington.com/military-technical.

New Balance – Headquartered in Boston, MA, New Balance is focused on building global brands that athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are proud to host. New Balance is currently one of the few major shoe companies that continue to manufacture athletic footwear in the United States. In 2013, 1 out of every 4 pairs of shoes New Balance sold in the U.S. was made or assembled in the U.S. www.newbalance.com.

Patagonia – Based in Ventura, California, Patagonia, Inc. is a leading designer and retailer of core outdoor, alpine, fly fishing, snow, surf and sport related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories. Patagonia is a world leader in apparel design, the development of protective garments and an industry pioneer in environmentalism. For more information on Patagonia and their commercially available products, please visit www.patagonia.com.

CamelBak – CamelBak is the leading manufacturer of hands free hydration systems. Special Forces, soldiers and law enforcement around the world use their Military & Tactical products. These offerings include water bottles, hydration packs, backpacks, and protective gear designed for a variety of climates and terrain. A full listing of these military and tactical products as well as commercially available gear is available at www.camelbak.com.

“The new Board members of the WPRC bring a wealth of industry experience and strategic thinking to our ongoing efforts to ensure our men and women in uniform have sustained access to the best American made equipment and clothing,” said David Costello, Executive Director of the WPRC. “We are grateful for their dedication to the WPRC as well as for the participation of our six newest Coalition members in our efforts to support those who serve our country”

The WPRC supports the readiness of the Armed Services by providing a unified industry voice to the U.S. Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Homeland Security and other stakeholders. We work at the intersection of the Organizational Clothing/Individual Equipment industry, the federal legislative policy process, and the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Our membership includes companies throughout the equipment and clothing industry and with companies at every point in the industrial supply chain who represent the best in American manufacturing.

Fear Not, New Recruit – Your American Made New Balance Running Shoes Aren’t Ugly

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

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.

Warrior Expo – New Balance

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The New Balance Minimist line has been a huge success and they continue to introduce new models. Here are two of the latest.

First off, I’ll show you a sneak peek at the MX20 V4 which comes early next year. It offers a 4mm drop from heel to toe.


The MX00 is a completely neutral shoe meaning no drop heel to to toe. Think gym shoe. It’s meant to get those weightlift into a minimalist shoe. It allows for biomechanically correct foot positioning. It’s out now.


Finally, we’ve got the Fresh Foam 980 which is a neutral cushion running shoe with a 4mm drop from heel to toe. It has been winning awards since being released about two months ago thanks to its innovative Fresh Foam midsole. It’s a single piece of foam that offers concave foam for cushioning
and convex for stability. Awarded “Best Ride” in the Competitor Magazine Spring Shoe Guide. Available now!



New Balance – Minimus Military Exchange Exclusive Colors

Friday, October 4th, 2013


New Balance will soon be releasing two models of Minimus athletic shoes, the MX20 and MT1010, in colors exclusive to Military Exchanges.

The MX20 is a training shoe with a 4mm drop from heel to toe designed for weight lifting, resistance training, and mid distance running.

The MT1010 is a trail shoe with a 4mm drop from heel to toe designed for trail running. It features a 1mm ultra-lightweight REVlite midsole and a ROCK STOP plate in the forefoot.


USAF Approves New Balance Merino Clothing

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013


New Balance announced that on July 19, 2013 the Air Force Uniform Office approved several New Balance items for use with FR uniforms. The items on the list are intended to be worn next to skin only.

It includes a wide range of No Melt No Drip products that are appropriate for a wide range of climates. NB’s synthetic blends and proprietary Merino wool blends will offer Airmen a next to skin layering system appropriate for their unique mission.

AFR701 Flame Resistant T-Shirt
AFR105 Flame Resistant Boxer
AFR105w Flame Resistant FR Women’s Boy Short
AFR801 Flame Resistant Mid Weight Top
AFR201 Flame Resistant Mid Weight Drawers
MIL865 Flame Resistant Mid Weight Light Weight Top
MIL245 Flame Resistant Mid Weight Light Weight Drawers
MIL126 Flame Resistant FR Women’s Boy Short
MIL708 Light Weight Merino Wool T-Shirt
MIL810 Light Weight Merino Wool Crew
MIL811 Mid Weight Merino Wool ¼ Zip
MIL102 Light Weight Merino Wool Boxers
MIL211 Light Weight Merino Wool Drawers
MIL212 Mid Weight Merino Wool Drawers

More information is available at www.newbalance.com under Military. Additionally, unit and agency ordered can be handled by www.ADSinc.com

Warrior Expo – New Balance

Friday, July 12th, 2013


Each year, New Balance offers a special color run of select shoes from their Minimus line to AAFES. This year, they will be the MX20 and 1010v2. Both will hit Exchanges in October.


I’m pretty excited about this new MX20 mid-trainer. It offers all of the advantages of a minimal training shoe with the mid height. It kind of reminds me of a wrestling shoe. Look for these 1/1/14.