Overstepping Their Bounds: Deceptively Marketed Made in USA Shoes

May 22nd, 2020

One way consumers show their patriotism is to purchase products that are made in America. The problem is some products say they are made in the USA but contain imported parts or use foreign labor. Take shoes. Over the years, TINA.org has found several brands running afoul of the FTC’s Made in USA standard to deceptively market their shoes as American-made. Here are four examples (click on the brand to read more):

New Balance

Having been the subject of an FTC inquiry into its made in the USA marketing, New Balance should be familiar with the agency’s “all or virtually all” standard for unqualified U.S.-origin claims. Yet New Balance publicly acknowledges that the company labels its shoes “Made in the USA” when the “domestic value is at least 70%,” which is not “all or virtually all” by any stretch of the imagination and New Balance doesn’t disclose the foreign-made components it uses.

Red Wing

In 2018, TINA.org discovered that the outsole of several pairs of Red Wing women’s boots, made by a company called Vibram, was manufactured in Italy, undercutting the company’s “Made in USA” claims.

Wolverine

Earlier in 2018, after TINA.org found that Wolverine’s Original 1000 Mile boots would literally fall apart without the help of imported glues or threads and alerted the company to its findings, Wolverine removed from its marketing claims that the collection was “Made in the USA.”

Thursday Boot Co.

Circling back to hides, Thursday Boot Co. claimed in an FAQ that while its hides originate in the United States, an unspecified number are then sent to Mexico to be tanned. Yet this did not stop the company from suggesting in an online ad that all of its shoes are “Handcrafted in the USA.”

Find more of our coverage on made in the USA claims here.

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