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.