Sick and tired of having to inspect every box in a store to see where it’s made? It’s gotten to the point where I can personally tell that a product is Made in China just by picking it up. Well, did you know that over 90% of clothes and shoes sold in America are made overseas? No wonder why it is so difficult to get your hands on a quality pair of work boots made in USA.
You know, the Made in USA stamp is a symbol of great quality from hard working people. Unfortunately, over the past 50 years the manufacturing of consumer goods has quickly been outsourced. Not surprising to see that manufacturing jobs decreased 23% from 1961 to 2010.
But there is an increasing sentiment to bring those jobs back home. Especially since many are trying to get their hands on a decent job in the tail end of the recession. And there is still hope.
While different price points play a heavy factor in where boots are made, companies understand that there are many people who want some badass American made work boots. Not only for the quality, but to support this great nation and the people pursuing the American dream. And we are willing to pay a premium for that.
We can make a difference…
While there can be an inherent belief that it is impossible for one person to make a difference, I say that is a bunch of hoopla. Yea yea, I know. It stems from politics, thinking that our votes don’t mean a thing. But let me tell you, businesses don’t operate the same way as governments. And that is why they are typically much more successful. The bottom line is that businesses listen to the consumers, because that is what got them in business in the first place and continue to bring them more success.
So, yes, we can make a difference. One step at a time. (Or in the Boots over Suits world, one pair of boots at a time.) If we become increasingly aware of where products are made, and choose to buy products made in the USA versus overseas, we will make a difference.
In fact, we are already making it happen. According to a WSJ report, Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative, said about 25,000 manufacturing related jobs have returned to the U.S. in recent years. Companies as big as G.E., Caterpillar, and Apple are just a few that are contributing to this number.
Enough said? Let’s talk about some tips to find work boots made in the USA!
Work Boots Made in USA: 5 Tips to Find them
Boldly Stated: While there are varying reasons companies manufacture work boots in the USA, they no doubt use it as a key selling point. Therefore, if they are going to spend the extra money to do so, they will normally market the heck out of it. You will typically see it as one of the top features in the product description section, and there is often an American flag closely in sight. Likely even sewn into the boot.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: On the other hand, if you are having difficulty locating the boots country of origin, there is a strong chance that it is made overseas. So move on to the next. Just as much as a company wants you to know that their work boots are made in the USA, they don’t want you seeing the dubious made in China seal that has taken over the US retail market.
Company’s Website: Tired of doing all of the digging on sites like Amazon, but can’t seem to pinpoint where the boots are made? An easy shortcut is to go direct to the manufacturer’s website. Typically one of the filter features will be “Made in USA.” Heck, I’ve even found that company’s have a whole page dedicated to it.
Give ‘em a call: Boot manufacturers tend to have a solid customer service team. So if all else fails, just give the manufacturer a call or email them. They can tell you right off the bat if the boot you’re interested in is made in the USA or overseas. Plus, they can give you a list of work boots made in the USA to get your search going. For example, I reached out to Wolverine because I’m a fan of their boots but they don’t seem to have American made work boots called out on their website. Here was my easy email conversation with them:
Sent: Sunday, October 05, 2014 7:40 PM
Subject: QUESTION Product Information – WOLVERINE.COM
The following question was submitted to Wolverine by EJ:
How can I tell if the boot that I like is made in the USA? Is there a site specifically for boots made in the USA?
Dear EJ,Thank you for your inquiry.
We do have several work styles that are manufactured in the U.S.; I have provided a list below:
– W03176 (Men’s)
We hope this information proves helpful.
E-Commerce & Consumer Relations, Corporate Customer Service Center
Richmond, IN 47374, P: 866.699.7369
Cheat Sheet: Do you just want the easiest way possible to find some American made work boots? Not a problem. I put together a list of the 5 best American made work boots. Sink your teeth into that, and see what real boots look like.
The 5 Best American Made Work Boots
I could have easily added Chippewa as one of the tips to finding American made work boots. Although rare, Chippewa has been dedicated to making boots in the USA since 1980. Since then, they only use the best raw materials from America, and the boots are hand crafted in the USA. To this day, you will find the “Hand Crafted in the USA” label on each pair of their boots.
This particular boot is covered with high quality leather and a vibram sole. And boom, the exterior of the boot is ready for some serious man hours.
Wait, what’s Vibram? Good question, because you will see this a lot. Vibram is a company that manufactures soles, amongst other footwear products, and it is synonymous with being heavy duty.
While this boot is rugged and equipped with a steel-toe, the Vibram gumlite sole featured here is lightweight to ease the load on your body. Plus, the removable cushioned insert creates a comfortable footbed to stand on during a long day’s work.
One of the most iconic looks in footwear, Thorogood’s American Heritage 6`Moc Toe Boot is a symbol of classic American quality.
It’s hard not to notice the genuine leather that is featured on this boot, because it is oil-tanned leather. With a Goodyear Storm Welt Construction, you will get years of use even in the toughest conditions. That’s because the sole is stitched instead of glued on.
And that sole is Vibram, of course. Which in this case is slip & oil resistant. Also, the Cotton Drill Vamp Lining is critical to keeping moisture out of your boot and preventing blisters.
For those of you standing for long hours, you will benefit most from the comfort in the removable dual density ultimate shock absorption footbed on Poron 4000 comfort cushion insole. Yup, lots of words, but lots of comfort.
A true testimonial to the American dream, H.J. Justin started his career as a boot repairman in 1879. However, with a strong work ethic and uncanny skills, he developed a top notch boot company dedicated to the American working man.
For an authentic look, this boot sports some mighty fine distressed five ounce leather. Whether you are racing to the job site, or just itching to get out of your boots at night, the J-Max Work Boot is easy to get on and off of your feet. All due to the extra-large pull loop and speed-lacing hardware on the shaft. So no more excuses for falling asleep with your shoes on!
With an 8” shaft, you will get great ankle support to prevent any rolling of the ankle. While 8” boots can often compromise comfort for support, you will find that the padded collar will help to enhance the comfort level.
Once again in the top 5 is another Thorogood Work Boot. Only this time, it’s got some extra badassedness to protect your feet and toes.
Earning its spot stitch by stitch, the Goodyear Welt Construction featured here is no doubt the most durable way to make a boot.
While the padded collar affords you comfort around your leg, the removable dual density Ultimate Shock Absorption insert on Poron 4,000 comfort cushion provides seriously manly comfort on your feet.
Truthfully, this boot is in the top spot because of all of the safety features. First, the steel toe keeps your toes safe and complies with ASTM. Then, the boots non marking rubber outsole offers slip-resistant and electric shock resistant soles and heels.
Last but not least, the fiberglass shank gives your feet, knees, and back support, all while protecting from objects penetrating through the sole.
According to the Red Wing Shoes website, “Today, 98.8% of all footwear purchased in the United States is manufactured offshore. RWSC continues to manufacture over 60% of our Red Wing brand products in the U.S.” Well there ya go, American made action going on!
With a durable stitch down welt and quality American leather, this boot will give you all of the comfort and durability you need while getting the job done. Whether it’s out in the field or home in the yard, it will make you man up! And that’s a gross understatement. These could very well turn into a family heirloom considering how long they will last.
To add more ruggedness to this pavement pounding boot, it is built on a non-marking, oil-resistant sole.
Enough said? Then, there you have it. Get your work boots Made in USA, and start seriously kicking some ass on the job site. One pair at a time, we will “boot” out these outsourced products and bring jobs back home.
Boots Over Suits, Over and Out.