It has been difficult getting U.S. companies to make items like consumer electronics and apparel-related products in the USA, often because of higher costs here. A few months ago, we blogged about Apple’s decision to do more iMac manufacturing in the United States.
With this in mind, how far should we go to support the LAST American-made running shoes (from New Balance)?
As reported by Timothy Aeppel for the Wall Street Journal: “Time may be running out for the last American-made running shoes. New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., owned by former marathoner Jim Davis and his wife Ann, is the sole athletic-shoe maker that still has factories in the U.S. Those plants churn out about a quarter of the shoes it sells domestically. The rest are imported. The company has continued to make shoes in the U.S., even though that means settling for less profit. New Balance says the flexibility of its U.S. factories and turnaround times counted in days, rather than weeks, help make up for the higher cost. But a push by rivals to do away with tariffs on imported running shoes, as part of a larger trade deal, could finally tip the scales against its American strategy. ‘A rapid reduction of the existing [tariff] agreements would put our factories here at significant risk,’ says Robert DeMartini, CEO of the Boston-based company, which is fighting to keep the tariffs in place.”
Click the Wall Street Journal image below to read more and click here for a WSJ video on this matter.
12 Replies to “New Balance Athletic Shoes: Made in the USA — But for How Long?”
It’s always good to see products being made in the U.S. in a way that actually provides benefits to the manufacturer. Unfortunately, it seems the cons will soon outweigh the pros for New Balance when tariffs on foreign goods are lightened, forcing market value down. It seems New Balance will ultimately need to conform to the trend of offshoring if they want their shoes to remain competitively priced. The alternative strategy is for New Balance to keep offering American-made products at a greater price, with potential features like extensive quality testing or lifetime warranties. There is additional costs associated with this, but New Balance will need to decide how much potential profit they are willing to forego to keep their manufacturing jobs in America no matter what they decide to do.
For the sake of the country, it would be ideal for New Balance shoes to continue making their shoes in the United States. Unfortunately, that will also create higher costs for the company itself. It would be selfish for consumers to ask the company to stay in the country, especially if the consumer stating that idea does not purchase their shoe.
Considering only a quarter of their production takes place in the US – how much can they even be considered a “Made in America” company, in the first place? It would seem as though they’re already reaping the benefits of outsourcing, and are likely utilizing american factories for special expediting circumstances, tax benefits, and a “good image”.
I’m all for the idea of continuing shoe production in the U.S. Heck, even the president advocates it with his ideal of making our country a heavier manufacturer of goods so we don’t need to rely on other countries as much. American shoes were born in America and should keep its production there because that is what makes it distinct. That’s what helps give America a name for making some cool things too.
I think that New Balance should continue to make their products in the United States and avoid outsourcing. Our country needs jobs just as much as any other country in the world, and for the sake of our own economy it would be beneficial. Additional costs for New Balance will ensue, but they will develop more of a profit due to job creation.
Today with the pace at which globalization is expanding it seems that less companies want to open manufacturing facilities in the USA because of the high costs. Government could provide more incentives to investors and maybe that brings back to America more industries while opening up more jobs. They few trademarks that still produce their products in the USA like American Apparel, New Balance and a few others do get the business of some very patriotic individuals who are all about American culture. However, most buyers don’t bother to look at the tag of where their clothes are made.
Tariffs on foreign imported goods are something that should stay in place. The rival shoe companies are selfishly hurting the American economy. A lot of the goods we use today are already made in other countries. Eliminating taxes on imported goods from other countries will encourage buisnesses to seek products outside the United States. American markets need to remain protected.
Let me tell a story first. One of my best friend in China told me to buy a pair of Nike shoes in U.S. for him. But he mentioned, he only want to buy the shoes which marked Made in U.S. Because he thought that the real Nike should made in U.S. Unfortunately, I can’t find it. But I found New Balance shoes at last. Sometimes, made in U.S. means high quality in China. So I hope I can still buy shoes made in U.S. in the future.
I respect their attempt at somewhat maintaining a made in America running shoe, but from a business standpoint who can blame new balance if they completely move all production overseas. The company has taken a hit for some time and I commend their integrity, even if it was only a quarter of their production that remained in the us. But I doubt consumers would pay a higher price to make up the difference. Some may say they would, but in these times it’s doubtful.
I admire New Balance for remaining to be made in the U.S. I’m not a hard-core “only buy American” but if I know a brand is American made then I would definitely consider that when making purchases. I feel that many people probably share the same view; however, New Balance has not been educating people that they are American made. If New Balance were to make that a key marketing point and people knew the facts about that appeared in the Wall Street Journal, I believe that their popularity, as well as sales, would increase.
I believe New Balance will be securing itself a terrible fate if they switch manufacturing outside of the U.S. My dad, uncles, and all their friends only wear New Balance sneakers instead of any other brands because they are made in the US. New Balance has achieved a high level awareness of where its shoes are made and if that were to switch I believe they would lose a lot of business. Why give up your competitive advantage?