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Have you ever wondered where your running shoes are made? Like you, I have wondered the same thing. Back then, I thought that running shoes were manufactured wherever their headquarters were. But as I looked at running shoes after running shoes, almost all of them were made somewhere in ASIA.
I wasn’t surprised. After all, a business is a business, and outsourcing to countries that can mass-produce running shoes at a cheaper price is good for us and the company that sells them.
But, just to keep you aware of where your shoes are made, I compiled the data from 21 shoe manufacturers as to where they were founded and where they’re manufactured.
|China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam
|Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL)
|Los Angeles, California
|Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
|Vietnam, Indonesia and China
|China, Vietnam, USA, Taiwan,
|Hoka One One
|Italy (60%), China (28%), Vietnam (12%)
|Waitsfield, Vermont, USA
|USA, Vietnam (and other Asian countries)
|China, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia
|Boston, Massachusetts, USA
|USA, China and other parts of ASIA
|Boulder, Colorado, USA
|China, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
|Eugene, Oregon, USA
|China, Vietnam and Thailand
|China and Vietnam
|Bolton, United kingdom
|China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam
|Annecy, Annecy, France
|France, China and Vietnam
|Kutztown, Pennsylvania, USA
|USA, China, Vietnam,
|China and Vietnam
|China, Jordan, Vietnam and Malaysia
Ahead, we will discuss why most shoes are outsourced, if it affects the quality of the shoes as well as touch base with some of these companies.
Where Your Running Shoes Are Made
Adidas is the number one sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest manufacturer in the world. They are the company behind the famous Ultraboost lineup.
Adidas was founded on the 18th of August 1949 in Herzogenaurach, Germany which remained the place of their headquarters.
The majority of their shoes are made in ASIAN countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Altra is a running shoe company based in the USA that is known for popularizing ‘’Zero Drop”.
They are one of the 10 best producers of running shoes for both road and trail. They are the company behind some of the best running shoes, the Altra Lone Peak and Altra Escalante.
Altra shoes are manufactured in parts of ASIA.
ASICS, formerly known as Onitsuka, is a company based in Japan. They are behind some of the most comfortable running shoes in the market like the Gel-Cumulus and the Gel-Nimbus lineup.
Most of their production happens in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China.
Brooks, based in Seattle and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet’s company) focuses on creating high-performance shoes like the Brooks Ghost 13 used as an everyday trainer and the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 used in racing.
Brooks previously had most of their production in China but has decided to move most of it to Vietnam.
By the way, If you’re in need of a stability shoe, I highly recommend the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 (I have the 20 but I recommend you get the 21 because it’s newer and better). I find them to be really comfortable and great for everyday running. You can find them on Amazon.
Hoka One One
Hoka One One was founded in 2009 in France and is known to have ‘’Maximalist’’ shoes that are deemed to be very soft on the foot.
They are behind some of the most comfortable shoes in the market like the Hoka Clifton and the Hoka Mach 4.
Their shoes are designed in France but are manufactured in China.
Merrell is an American company that manufactures, markets, and sells shoes mainly for the trails.
They are headquartered in Michigan, United States but are also manufactured in Vietnam.
Mizuno, based in Osaka, Japan, began production of baseball wear in 1907 in an effort to spread the sport of baseball in their country. Over the years they branched out to make gears for other sports including running.
Today, they are headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and have manufacturers in parts of ASIA including China, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
New Balance was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, the USA in 1906 and stands shoulder to shoulder with big sports brands such as Adidas and Nike.
They are the company behind New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 and FuellCell RC Elite.
They boast of themselves as the only major company that makes or assembles more than 4 million shoes in the United States. But it doesn’t mean that all their shoes are made in the USA. They label their shoes ‘Made in the USA’ when 70% domestic value is met.
They have factories in China and other parts of ASIA.
Nike leads the market in innovation and sales.
They are behind some of the best and most popular racing shoes in the market, the Nike Vaporfly Next%.
Despite being a USA-based company, they outsource all their manufacturing in parts of ASIA. China, Vietnam, and Thailand being the biggest Nike manufacturers in the world.
On-Running is a particularly new competitor in the running shoe space, only founded in 2010, but is already making waves in the running shoe industry thanks to their one-of-a-kind innovation in how they provide comfort underfoot.
Some of their most popular shoes include the Cloudflow. They are truly unique and one of a kind. You can check them on Amazon.
They manufacture their shoes in China.
Salomon was founded in the heart of the French Alps in 1947 and is one of the biggest names in the trail running/outdoor industry.
They produce outdoor gear from clothing, shoes, running vests, belts, and water bottles developed to provide the needs of the athlete in the outdoors.
They are behind some of the most trusted trail running shoes like the Speedcross 5 and the trail racing shoe S/Lab Sense 8.
They manufacture their product in France, China, and Vietnam.
Saucony is named after Saucony creek where it was founded in 1898. It is popular for developing racing shoes like the Saucony Endorphin Pro.
Saucony manufactures its shoes in the USA, China, and Vietnam.
How to Know Where Running Shoes are Made?
To know where running shoes are made, simply look at the tag inside the shoe tongue. The country where that particular running shoe was manufactured will be printed together with the shoe size.
Why Most Running Shoes Are Manufactured in ASIA
Most running shoe companies design, develop and test their products in their headquarters but when it comes to mass production, they set up factories in China and other developing countries in ASIA.
The main reason why most running shoes are made in China and other countries in ASIA is because of cheap labor.
They are able to mass-produce high-quality items up to 70% cheaper when they move their production to some parts of ASIA compared to the USA.
That way they can offer the same product to us for a cheaper price.
But aren’t there some people willing to pay for an all-American-made running shoe? True, there are, but there are very few people who actually would.
According to a study in consumerism, though consumers trust products made in the USA more, they will hesitate to pay a premium exceeding 15% and would likely choose the cheaper alternative made from a developing country.
I mean, would you pay $200 for a shoe to be made in the USA when you can pay $150 for the exact same shoe made elsewhere?
This alone makes outsourcing manufacturing in some parts of ASIA the right choice for shoe companies.
Are Running Shoes That are Made in China (and other countries in ASIA) Good Quality?
Yes, running shoes manufactured in China and other developing countries have good quality.
Some of the best shoe manufacturers in the world including Nike, Adidas, ASICS, and Brooks are made in parts of ASIA.
The best running shoe brands go through a lengthy process of assuring their factories live up to a certain standard which they themselves made.
And although some counterfeit shoes come from the same countries, it doesn’t mean that all shoes coming from China and other developing countries are fake.
What separates branded shoes made in China from counterfeit shoes made from the same country is the quality assurance, research, and technology that goes behind these shoes.
All shoe brands have strict compliance with their manufacturers to prevent the leaking of their design and technology. Because of this, counterfeit goods often don’t live up to par with the original ones. They may look similar but they most often don’t perform the same.
So, the next time you see a running shoe ‘Made in China’ or Vietnam or Taiwan or wherever, as long as they come from a verified product distributor, they are most probably real.
How are Running Shoes Developed and Made?
Running shoe companies go about this differently but all follow the same process.
Most often than not, development begins with new research or a compilation of customer feedback regarding their shoes.
Next, they bring the problem to the engineering team that will then create a solution for these problems.
Once they come up with the design and technology, they will send it to their manufacturer overseas and come up with a prototype.
This prototype will then be tested by a bunch of professional athletes that will run in their shoes for quite some time in various running conditions in their testing facility. The engineers will gather the data from advanced AI technologies and the athlete’s feedback in order to move forward with the design and make the necessary changes.
Iterations will be made from the original design and another prototype will be produced. It’s a back and forth procedure at this point between the research team and the shoe manufacturer until they find the best shoe they could possibly produce to tackle the problem.
Once they find the right design, they will send it to their manufacturers for mass production.
The shoes produced after careful testing and research are the only ones that will come to the stores.
Some of the biggest running shoe brands are designed and developed in their respective headquarters but are manufactured in ASIA in order to take advantage of cheap labor.
This allows them to sell their running shoes at a fair price point which is somewhere around $90-$160.
The key to choosing the right running shoes is not to look at where it’s made but to look at the research and technology behind the shoes as well as try them out to see which one is most comfortable for you.
If you need help in choosing the right running shoes, I’ve made an entire article to help you do just that. Check it out.