The once massive American footwear industry use to employ hundreds of thousands of craftsmen and women in factories throughout the country. As with so many labor intensive manufacturing processes, (there are about 150 individual processes involved in making a shoe), production moved to low-wage labor in China and other countries. The United States imports over $20,000,000,000 worth of footwear per year, 75% of which comes from China. So what footwear is still made in America?
Top Quality American Made Leather Work Footwear
There are two brands that stand out in producing top quality work footwear right here in the U.S.A. The First in Thorogood, produced by the Weinbrenner Shoe Company of Wisconsin. Started in 1892, Weinbrenner and Thorogood brand are the leaders in American made work footwear. The Thorogood line features over 60 different styles of plain and safety toe work shoes, from specialty roofing shoes, to traditional work boots, western style pull on boots to heavy duty logger boots.
The other brand with a long history of making boots in the U.S. is Danner. Danner is ramping up its domestic manufacturing and now has a variety of top quality, fine leather work footwear.
Materials used to make these products
The hallmark of American made footwear by Danner and Thorogood is the use of top quality, fine leather. The footwear is generally traditional in styling, as excessive stitching of multiple layers and trendy materials is cost prohibitive. As it is, the manufacture of a leather footwear involves more than 200 individual steps and is truly a handmade process.
Different Sizes Including Big Size or King Size Work Footwear
For the most part, imported work footwear comes in two widths. Medium is typically a “D” width and Wide is generally an “E” or double “E” width. One the advantages of American made shoes, is that many styles of Thorogood for example, come in widths from B to D to EE and even EEE. In addition, sizes can range from men’s 6 to men’s 14, 15, 16, 17 and even men’s 18.
Proper sizing means more comfort, better performance and less foot fatigue.
For example, the 8144201 Thorogood 8 Inch Moc Toe Wedge comes in the narrow width of B, as well as D, EE and 4E ultra wide. The 8044203 and 8044204 Thorogood American Heritage Safety Toe work boots, 6″ and 8″ respectively, come in B width up to size 13, D width up to size 18, EE up to size 14, and EEE up to size 18.