image courtesy of Daveybot
While I was home for Easter last weekend visiting my family, I completely forgot to pack my tennis shoes. And since my one pair is a little worn, I figured I could use another pair. So I did some preliminary research online to see if there were any companies that manufacture tennis shoes in the USA. The only one that I found was New Balance. Not my first choice, but hey considering what I’d read from others who have attempted the buy American concept I felt lucky to find even one company that still does business here.
So we went off in search of some New Balance shoes that I actually liked. Much to my surprise virtually every pair we encountered in the dozen or so stores we went to were all “Made in China”. By the end of yet another incredibly frustrating shopping excursion, I had only managed to find three pairs of New Balance sneakers that were actually Made in the USA. And they were all too athletic looking for my tastes. Needless to say I was really deflated and angered when I wasn’t able to buy any new tennis shoes. My mom shopped very patiently with me, at one point asking me if I received the shoes as a gift could they come from another country? A very generous gesture that I refused but which made me smile anyway. Without her presence I doubt I would have persisted looking as long as I did.
This trend wasn’t exclusive to tennis shoes either. I couldn’t help but pick up a fair share of other cute pairs of shoes, knowing full well that they wouldn’t bare the “Made in USA” tag. I guess if you were to only buy American you would end up either wearing really ugly neon green and navy blue athletic tennis shoes or you’d learn to like walking around barefoot.
Oh and as it turns out, I simply didn’t browse New Balance’s web site closely enough. They have a very small selection of shoes that are Made in the USA as a menu option. And they are all pretty plain and ugly, in my opinion.