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Military Recruits May Soon Be Required To Buy Shoes 'Made in USA'

Army recruit examines his shoes.
Army recruit examines his shoes.

The Pentagon may soon require its military recruits to purchase athletic shoes made in the good ol' U.S. of A.

The Department of Defense allows military recruits to buy their own athletic shoes with an allowance it provides them. A new rule issued Friday, reported by the Military Times, would require that allowance to be spent on athletic shoes made domestically.

You have to do a little digging into American history to find out why. Way back in 1941, Congress passed the Berry Amendment to promote the purchase of American-made goods. The amendment was updated in 2006 to require the Defense Department to buy American for the following products...

An article or item of food; clothing; tents, tarpaulins, or covers; cotton and other natural fiber products; woven silk or woven silk blends; spun silk yarn for cartridge cloth; synthetic fabric or coated synthetic fabric (including all textile fibers and yarns that are for use in such fabrics); canvas products, or wool...

It goes on and on. You get the picture. OK, then! So why haven't military recruits been required to buy American made shoes since 2006? It turns out there is no shoe whose components are entirely made in the United States, according to the Military Times. Not yet...

But the athletic shoe company New Balance has come up with a prototype that would comply with the Berry Amendment.

The Associated Press reports Maine Congressman Mike Michaud was a driving force behind the new rule. Interestingly enough, three of the New Balance shoe company's factories are in Maine. And, according to Runner's World, New Balance is the only major manufacturer that makes its shoes in the United States.

It should be noted that several other shoemakers have notified the Pentagon, letting the folks there know they want to start making wholly American-made shoes that would pass Berry Amendment muster.

Patriotism, or pork? Put your foot down and have your say in our comments section!