Saucony, Merrell and Bates could soon have their logos on more military members’ feet across the country. Thanks to a policy shift announced by Pentagon officials last week, new active duty soldiers entering boot camp will be supplied with American-made athletic footwear when using a voucher given to them by the government to purchase shoes for training purposes. The rule change is in response to years of pressure from U.S. shoemakers and lawmakers in Maine, Massachusetts and Michigan, home to some of the country’s few remaining shoe plants, to ensure that soldiers have access to domestically manufactured products, keeping in line with the Berry Amendment.
“I am grateful that the Department of Defense has recognized the importance of providing the Armed Services with athletic footwear made in the United States,” says Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide chairman and CEO. “Our Saucony, Merrell and Bates brands have partnered together to advance this effort and we are well into the process of producing state-of-the-art athletic shoes at our manufacturing plant in Michigan. Wolverine Worldwide is committed to utilizing the research and development capabilities of our entire corporation to support the training needs of those who serve our country.