Pentagon Runs into Running Shoe ‘Snub’

Posted May 3, 2016 at 5:02am

Stars and Stripes reports that “the Pentagon has stepped into more procurement quicksand, this time [in Lawrence, MA], where it touched off a war of words with the New Balance footwear company, the Lawrence City Council and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, by alleging the company’s athletic shoes are not fit for military duty. The company is not allowed to sell shoes on military bases, which it says will cost it the sale of many as 225,000 pairs to recruits and soldiers annually.”  

“It was a snub heard ’round the world, sparking allegations that the Department of Defense prefers shoes made in Vietnam and Malaysia rather than in American hometowns like Lawrence, and amplified by New Balance’s decision to retaliate by taking up arms against President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership. The trade pact would lower tariffs on goods imported from 11 other nations, which New Balance says would flood the market with cheap foreign-made athletic shoes.”  

“Rob DeMartini, New Balance’s president and CEO, said he agreed not to oppose the trade pact in exchange for assurances from Michael Froman, the Obama administration’s top trade official, that he would ease the impact by helping the company get a Defense Department contract to produce up to 225,000 pairs of athletic shoes a year for military recruits and soldiers. That never happened, the company said, then unleashed its attacks on the trade pact after years of reluctant silence.”