The New Balance running shoe organization is one of the major players in the athletic shoes and sneaker industry. Just like all their competitors, almost all of their footwear is produced in different Asian countries for cost motives. However, New Balance are different in the market in that they do retain some production facilities in the United States, so some New Balance models do have the ‘made in the USA’ label. This is however, marked by controversy in that a lot of the components included in these shoes that are made in the USA include parts, including the sole units, which are made in Asia. This has brought up concerns concerning if they are increasingly being valid to make the claim that the footwear is ‘made in the USA’.
The Federal Trade Commission in the USA (FTC) policies point out that if marketers and suppliers wish to promote their products as being ‘Made in USA’ they have to fulfill the Federal Trade Commission standard of “all or virtually all” getting manufactured in the US. To fulfill this standard, the FTC considers where the manufacturing happens and exactly how much of the items full manufacturing costs will be assigned to the US parts and producing, and exactly how far removed any foreign material is from the completed goods. New Balance state on their web site as well as on their footwear labelling that they do meet up with this criterion when they label the footwear as being manufactured in the United States. New Balance think of that rule to indicate that greater than 70% of the cost of making the product in based in the US, so that is enough.
These claims by New Balance have not been enough to cope with legal issues to their assertions and that they might be misleading. Back in the 1990s, the FTC did make an effort to bring an enforcement action in opposition to New Balance covering the assertions that New Balance were making that the FTC finally let go its enforcement following a legal obstacle coming from New Balance. In 2019 a class action suit was negotiated and paid out by New Balance for $750,000 over assertions that the Company made that the footwear is incorrectly promoted as “Made in the US'. In July 2021 the Federal Trade Commission released fresh regulations for the using the ‘Made in USA’ assertions which is apparently more rigid than before. This motivated the organization, Truth in Advertising Inc to prepare a grievance towards New Balance with the FTC claiming that for too much time New Balance has been openly breaking the ' Made in USA' origin laws. This was in addition to an additional class-action suit being sent in on the 20th December 2021 against New Balance regarding their “Made in US' assertions. The suit claims how the New Balance footwear that have this tag line aren't totally produced in the US which is deceiving buyers into believing they are purchasing a USA product. The litigants are trying to get $5 million in damages.
New Balance might be pushing the boundaries with their assertions, but they claim how they do not breach the laws. For marketing reasons it does enable the organization to be able to convince consumers that New Balance do help manufacturing in the US.