The official celebration of our military veterans kicks off on Sunday, and with New Balance being the only major sneaker brand to manufacture its sneakers in America, it’s fitting that the Boston-based company is outfitting our U.S. soldiers with special-edition footwear.
The production process started over the summer: 1,300 New Balance employees in October completed the first batch of the sneakers, known as the 950v2. The company is expected to ship out 92,000 pairs of the model by the end of 2019.
The relationship between New Balance and the Department of Defense dates back to seven years ago when the company pushed it to reinstate a law from the 1940s known as the Berry Amendment, requiring U.S. troops to be outfitted with domestically made gear. The department argued that there weren’t enough American footwear manufacturers to equip the entire military. The deal eventually fell apart until 2014 when the Pentagon finally agreed to purchase shoes produced in America.
Two years passed with no orders being placed — until Maine congressional representatives Bruce Poliquin and Niki Tsongas battled on behalf of New Balance for the DOD to comply with the terms. In March, the sportswear giant inked a $17 million contract to create American-made kicks for the armed forces.
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