Finding running and athletic shoes made in the USA

In my last post, I explained why I’m trying to avoid products buying made in China. If I can’t find a particular item made in the USA, I hope to find a version manufactured in a country other than China. This is especially tough when it comes to running shoes.

Calling myself a “runner” might be a stretch–according to my mile times, I am more of a “jogger.” Either way, I need to wear shoes designed for running when working out because they offer extra protection as I pound the pavement. I learned the hard way what happens when you run in shoes not designed for jogging. The protection offered by running shoes subsides the longer you wear them, so I recently set out in search of running shoes made in the USA.

New Balance is the only company I could find that offers athletic shoes made in America. Not all New Balance models are made in the USA, but if you search for “made in USA” on the company’s website, you’ll get a list of its USA-made running and athletic shoes.
Update: A May 4, 2014, website posting by New Balance states that the company defines “made in the USA” as a shoe that has a “domestic value” of at least 70 percent, meaning at least that much of the shoe was made or assembled in America.

Unfortunately, New Balance didn’t offer shoes in my size, so I kept looking. I ended up buying a pair of Mizuno Wave Alchemy 11 shoes from Endless.com (a great source for hard-to-find sizes), which are made in Vietnam.¬† Not all Mizunos are made in Vietnam; a Mizuno customer service representative told me some are made in China. Looking on the back of the shoe’s tongue can tell you the manufacturing location. Mizuno delivered good customer service by answering my email within 36 hours.

I emailed the Nike Store to ask where Nike running shoes are made. Here’s the response I got: “Virtually all of our footwear is produced outside the United States. We also have manufacturing agreements with independent factories in Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy and South Africa to manufacture footwear for sale primarily within those countries. I cannot pinpoint which exact shoe are made in China and other countries.” The representative did point out one pair of Nike women’s running shoes made in the USA. I will give Nike’s customer service team a “thumbs up” for responding promptly and honestly to my email. I got a response in less than 48 hours.
Update: As of Dec. 31, 2013, no Nike running shoes (men’s or women’s) are made in America, according to a Nike representative.

I also emailed Dick’s Sporting Goods, a large online and bricks-and-mortar retailer, to ask which shoes it carries are made in the USA. The response from Dick’s staff was less helpful: “If you would like information on a specific product we would be more than happy to find out the country in which the item is made. We don’t have a way of searching for items made in the U.S.A on our website and therefore, are unable to suggest a specific product.” Dick’s staff does score well for customer service here. They answered my email on the same day they received it.

My last running shoes were Asics Gel Cumulus. The shoes’ tongue shows they were made in China. My husband’s Saucony Pro-Grid Ride running shoes (purchased recently) were made in Indonesia.

Have you found quality running or athletic shoes made in the USA? If so, please share information so others can buy shoes made in America.

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20 Comments

Filed under Customer service, Made in USA, Shopping tips

20 responses to “Finding running and athletic shoes made in the USA

  1. Sean

    I am also trying to get American made shoes. New Balance seems to be it. Went and tried on some at my local running store and then looked at the tags, Made in China. This is sad. They use basically slave labor. Nike seems to be really bad. These were started in Oregon too. I have decided I am not buying another pair of shoes from anyone promoting slave labor. China doesn’t care about its people. Others countries are just as bad. They get beaten if they fight for better wages.

  2. I found some running shoes here, made in Oregon. They are leather “minimalist” shoes.
    http://www.softstarshoes.com/running-moccasins/runamoc.html
    Hope this helps!

  3. Rick Lewis

    Like you, I avoid buying ANYTHING made in China. Thanks for the great article.

  4. Sandy

    Hi Friends, I am on the same quest to find shoes made in the U.S. but for a completely different reason. My Naturopathic Doctor showed has tested the shoes coming out of China. China uses highly carcinogenic chemicals in their plastics and rubber soles that are highly toxic. You may or may not know how absorbent our feet are, but just ask anyone the Essential Oil business. Most oils are applied to the bottom of the feet. So, imagine that we wear shoes all day walking, running, sitting etc and our bodies are soaking up toxins all day long. Anyway, shoes from China have made me extremely ill.

    The only store that I have found so far in our area of Texas that manufactures all shoes in the U.S. is the SAS shoe store. Sadly, these are THE UGLIEST shoes you never want to wear. They have tennis shoes and they are built great. Unfortunately, they look like your grandmother’s shoes. I am in the process of having all of my shoes tested and the only other shoe company not made in the U.S. that isn’t toxic have been either 100% leather shoes or BORN (B.O.C.) shoes made in various other countries.

    I hope this helps you. I bought a pair of the SAS tennis shoes but I am hoping to find some cuter ones so I can take these back. I have some time since I am not allowed to exercise until I detox more of these toxins out of my body.

    Please let me hear from you.
    Sandy@solomonswann.com

  5. Allan

    There are plenty of New Balance running shows made in the USA, I’ve had two pairs and about to but my third. Not sure how you couldn’t find your size though….all are available. Try amazon.

    • Allan, I wear a women’s 11.5 medium. On the New Balance website, there is only one New Balance running shoe in my size that’s made in the USA; a second running shoe in my size is assembled in the USA. If I wore a size 8, I’d have six options for made in the USA.

    • Sandy

      I recently went to a running store and they only had two pair made in the U.S. One said manufactured in the U.S. with imported parts. Probably from China. No stinking way.

  6. Mike

    I was able to find New Balance 10.5 running shoes at Sears. But be careful– there are multiple styles some Made In USA and some Made In China. Was also looking at Chuck Taylor’s. I have a pair Made In USA from 1993 that are STILL good 20 years later. I bought a pair the other day Made In India. The canvas is thinner, the threads are different and the rubber seems cheaper. Was thinking about wearing one old shoe and one new one and comparing. Made In USA Chuck Taylors can still be found for a decent price on Ebay.

    • tonyahancock

      Which pair of Women’s Nikes were made in the USA

      • Tonya, thank you for your question. I have confirmed that the one pair of Nike running shoes that was made in the USA is either no longer manufactured here or no longer sold at all. Today, no Nike shoes are made in America, according to a Nike representative I corresponded with on Dec. 31, 2013. This includes men’s and women’s shoes. I will update the article accordingly.

  7. jack lang

    I am switching from Nike (after more than 20 yrs) to New Balance. Nothing made in China any more if I can help it, only US made.

  8. Jenna

    Since making the decision to avoid products made in China, finding running shoes has been very difficult for me. Staying physically fit is a must for military members so I am a bit surprised at how hard it is to find anything made in the US. All of our uniform items are made here, so it would be nice to find running shoes made here as well since they are a necessity for our workouts.
    Thank you for the great article though! I’ll be sure to check the New Balance site.

  9. Sandy

    I have found several NB tennies at a local running store that are made in the U.S. But look closely. They say Made in the U.S. from parts made in China. So essentially they are only assembled in the U.S. They still contain toxic materials.

  10. Gregg

    New Balance are not made in the USA as you state. Even they, on their front page say they are not. (All)
    “In 2013, 1 out of every 4 pairs of shoes we sold in the USA was made or assembled here. Where domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes “Made in the USA.” ”
    http://www.newbalance.com/Made-in-the-USA/made_in_usa,default,pg.html

    Question all….

    • Gregg, thanks for your feedback. While I did note that not all New Balance shoes are made in the USA, I will gladly update the article to include the information you mentioned. Thanks for the tip!

  11. JJ

    there is one more company to add to the mix, aside new balance, there is hersey but they are custom made and over 300 dollers for the first set, there is wassak moccasin company, and russle moccasin company that both make minimalist shoes, and now som foot wear they are a little thicker but still minimalist, like running in converse they say from there, and you might be able to get away with a cross training workout in sas shoes they are padded to the 9’s though ugly and heavy but they are built like tanks for everyday shoes and are usa made, but like that neighbor on the corner that looks ugly as sin, but can do any job and big enough no one will mess with them but will give you the shirt off his back, that is what they are like

    you might also check a few of the boot makers if you dont mind the weight and run in combat boots, there are several companies in the usa that make those, like bellview, therogood, and wolverine.

  12. Researching running shoes and noted recent posting that 97-98% of all shoes sold in USA are imported. Believe article is not only correct, but it is almost true of the entire world.Big factory in China produces most of the running shoes you see in your local stores. Ditto for the big European brands as well. Believe only one
    European Brand still making shoes in Finland: Karhu
    Link to Wikipedia article:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karhu_%28sports_brand%29

  13. Tom

    SOM shoes are fantastic athletic shoes. Made in Colorado. I have been working out in mine for the past year,
    hiking at about 12 miles on gravel my feet started to ache a bit, but prior to all good.
    gym-like moccasins
    short runs- 2-3 miles concrete- I was surprised but no pain

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