Last year about this time I started walking. I hadn't bought new tennis shoes in many years (also hadn't WALKED in many years!) but after a few weeks of walking in my Dr. Scholls, I knew I had to get some real walking shoes. I had a really tough time finding the right ones. I actually bought and returned 4 different shoes before settling on a pair of Skechers, which have held up pretty well but after I lost over 50 lbs. from walking, the shoes are too big!
So after watching a special on ABC about finding stuff made in America, I started checking all kinds of stuff from shoes to clothes to see where these things were made and sadly, my Skechers were made in China. (So are Dr. Scholls) Very disappointing, but I'm trying to do everything possible to support companies who make their products here in AMERICA, therefore providing jobs for Americans. So I thought I had found the solution for my new shoes:
New Balance is the only athletic shoe company that continues to prove high-quality athletic footwear can be produced competitively in the United States. We are committed to American workers. Twenty-five percent of New Balance shoes sold in North America are produced by our U.S. workforce using U.S. and imported materials.
Hmmm...only 25%? Well, at least they've listed which ones are made here or just assembled here. It will take a little more work on my part, but I'll feel like I've tried anyway. It's still sad that it's only 25% and that they make their marketing sound like they're USA all the way! You have to read it very carefully.
Twenty-five percent of New Balance shoes sold in North America are produced by our US workforce, using US and imported materials. When possible, we obtain materials from domestic suppliers. At times, due to availability, economic or quality reasons, there is a need to import components from foreign sources. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we have labeled the shoe "Made in the USA." Where it falls below 70%, we have qualified the label referencing domestic and imported materials. This determination is based in part on the Federal trade Commission's survey of consumers.
It just feels like we're "settling" instead of demanding goods that are at least 80% made here from 80% domestic materials and labor. I know we consumers are always looking for the cheaper price, but look where it got us....with cheaper quality for so many products and even higher prices for stuff made in America. And the Skechers cost as much or more as the New Balance!
It's just tipped so far out of balance (excuse the pun) and I don't know what the answer is other than what we can each do individually. This mess didn't happen overnight so the fix will not come quickly, but I can tell you this....is it good enough to do SOMETHING, even if it's only 25% worth? After starting this article on finding some new walking shoes, I'm happy to announce that I've also found some 100% made in the USA!! Unfortunately, NB is still the only one that makes walking/running shoes. It's still encouraging to find that there ARE companies out there still providing the choice for products made at home. Be sure and check out the Americans Working site for as many new purchases you can find.
If more of us are just aware of the choices we DO have, it will help. This is a cool map showing some of the products made so check out what is made in your state and help support products MADE IN THE USA! I'll post a picture of my new shoes when I get them. :)
Here's wishing you some great walks!