Fulfilling the Berry Amendment, the Department of Defense has awarded New Balance a $17.3 million firm-fixed price contract to produce sneakers to recruits arriving at basic training.
Passing in 1941, the Berry Amendment requires the U.S. military to provide its personnel with high-quality American-made equipment. The congressional delegation of Maine, home of three New Balance factories, has pushed the Pentagon to observe the law for years.
According to Mainebiz, the contract is awarded by the Defense Logistics Agency and contains a base performance period of 18 months, with an additional 18-month option clause.
"There are nearly 1,000 New Balance employees in Skowhegan, Norridgewock, and Norway who work hard to manufacture high-quality, American-made athletic footwear," U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin said in a joint statement. "By including our provision in the fiscal year 2017 NDAA and ensuring the Department of Defense applies the Berry Amendment to athletic footwear for recruits, the Pentagon is now rightly prioritizing American workers and supporting American jobs to equip U.S. troops."
Making military-specific footwear isn't new territory for New Balance. In 2014, the brand introduced the American-made 950v2 prototype.
Following the election of Donald Trump in 2016, New Balance took some heat for publicly backing the then president-elect, citing his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Later, VP of public affairs Matt LeBretton attempted to clarify the brand's position, saying that its support related specifically to the context of the TPP and not "large geo-political anything."