The shoe company showed the new prototype off to two Congressmen who toured a New Balance factory last month in Massachusetts. Called the 950v2, the running shoe is manufactured in American in order to meet the guidelines of the Berry Amendment.
The Berry Amendment mandates the military buy American-made goods over ones produced by foreign manufacturers. Military officials told Congress the law couldn't apply to running shoes for new recruits because a suitable running shoe manufactured totally in America didn't exist in the market.
New Balance is not the only shoe company trying to build the military a 100-percent American-made shoe, but it is the most high profile and first to issue a prototype. New Balance is headquartered in Massachusetts. The company boasts that one out of every four shoes they sell is made in America.
The Army, Air Force and Navy issue $80 to new recruits to buy a pair of running shoes. The Marine Corps expects recruits to buy shoes from their clothing allowance.
When the possibility arose that Congress would mandate a single style of running shoes for recruits, troops and military leaders have pushed back. Military.com readers pointed out how runners buy a host of different types of shoes to adapt to different body types, feet and running styles. Mandating everyone wear the same type of shoe could increase the rate of injuries, service members said.
New Balance chose to model the 950v2 after their Leadville 1210 shoe. The Leadville is a shoe designed for ultra marathons. Company officials didn't say how much the shoe would cost the military.
“We wanted to make a shoe with the highest technical performance, but also light, and it’s going to be durable enough to withstand any conditions or terrain,” New Balance spokeswoman Caitlin Campbell told Military Times.