New U.S. military members will begin receiving U.S.-produced training shoes as a result of a multi-million contract awarded by the Defense Department last year.
Boston-based New Balance has started production in Maine on nearly 100,000 training sneakers for military recruits.
The $17.3 million contract was awarded to New Balance by the Defense Department in March. It has a duration of 18 months with the option of an 18-month extension.
The initial order is for 92,000 pairs of sneakers, but could be expanded to 248,000, according to the Associated Press.
New Balance employs about 1,000 workers at the Maine factory where the sneakers will be produced.
Maine lawmakers Senators Susan Collins and Angus King lobbied for sneakers provided to initial entry service members to be made in accordance with the Berry Act – a 1941 provision that requires the U.S. military to provide personnel with American-made equipment and uniforms to the best of its ability.
New Balance did not return FOX Business’ request for comment.
It is one of the few major companies that produces athletic shoes domestically. The company operates five factories across the country. New Balance is more than 100 years old.
The company sparked backlash in 2016 after saying then President-elect Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was moving in the “right direction.”
In addition to New Balance, two smaller companies will also produce sneakers for the military – Texas-based San Antonio Shoe and Missouri-based Propper International.