Military recruits getting Made-in-the-USA athletic trainers

Military recruits getting Made-in-the-USA athletic trainers
In this Monday, Dec. 17, 2018 photo, Ruby Williams inspects a pair of athletic shoes designed for the military at a New Balance factory in Norridgewock, Maine. The new contract fulfills a federal law requiring the military to outfit new recruits with American-made apparel. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine (AP) — U.S. military personnel wear fatigues, helmets and boots that are made in the United States. Now they’re getting Made-in-the-USA kicks, too.

New Balance, the last major athletic footwear maker in the U.S., and two other companies based in Texas and Missouri, are producing Made-in-the-USA trainers for military recruits.

Members of the congressional delegations in Maine and Massachusetts are among those who pushed for athletic footwear to be made subject to the Berry Amendment, which requires the defense department to give preference to home-grown products.

The changes were adopted and the sneakers are in production. They will be distributed to recruits beginning later this year.

The contract reflects only a sliver of New Balance sneakers produced each year in the U.S. but it’s a victory for workers in Maine, where they’re produced.