Part 12 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. Have you ever tried to find a pair of shoes that was made in America? It's not easy. These days the overwhelming majority of footwear is manufactured overseas, especially China. When it comes to running shoes, in fact, only one company still manufactures footwear in America: New Balance.
Founded and still headquartered in Boston, New Balance operates five domestic factories. They're all in New England (Boston and Lawrence, Mass.; Norridgewock, Skowhegan, and Norway, Maine). Together they produce 25 percent of New Balance shoes sold in North America, collectively provide more than 2,000 jobs, and are economic mainstays in their communities, especially in the smaller Maine towns.
New Balance prominently identifies its Made in the USA shoe styles, which the company defines as "proudly manufactured in the USA with a minimum of 70% domestic value." They also include another category, Assembled in the USA, which indicates that the shoe was made in U.S. factories using mostly imported materials. The New Balance site offers extensive info and videos about it all on their USA Collection page.
New Balance is also a great option for giant-footed individuals like me; many of their styles go to size 16. Other styles offer a range of widths, perfect for folks with thin and narrow (or fat and flat) feet.
Support your Northeast gear companies! Here are the 11 others I've profiled to date:
Delorme (Yarmouth, Maine)
Ibex Outdoor Clothing (White River Junction, Vt.)
Jetboil (Manchester, N.H.)
New England Ropes (Fall River, Mass.)
Nemo Equipment (Manchester, N.H.)
Orion Signal and Survival Products (Easton, Md.)
Dermatone Sunscreen (Windsor, Ct.)
Darn Tough Socks (Northfield, Vt.)
STABILicers (Biddeford, Maine)
Noble Biomaterials (Scranton, Pa.)
Hyperlite Mountain Gear (Biddeford, Maine)
Have a suggestion for a Northeast-based gear company to profile? Please let me know!
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.