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There are many American and non-American tennis shoe brands that make high-quality performant shoes. But many of them choose to manufacture or assemble their footwear in other countries with cheap labor such as China, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and more.
Finding tennis shoes made inside the US factories is difficult to the point where you question whether you can find one single company that still operates in the United States in 2022.
We’ve done a thorough research and here’s what we found.
New Balance is the only major footwear brand that has a Made in USA collection, but it does not contain any shoes destined for tennis.
Other companies like Nike, Adidas, K-Swiss have several factories that assemble shoes in the USA, but they never tell the public the specific models.
We can make an educated guess that 99% of tennis shoes are not made in the USA.
Where Are Tennis Shoes Mostly Produced?
Tennis shoes are mostly made by manufacturing companies located in Southern Asia. The top manufacturing countries are China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.
How many times did you pick a tennis shoe or a normal sneaker to see the tag with a big “Made in China” or “Made in Vietnam”?
For example, Adidas manufactures its athletic shoes in 45 countries including the US, the UK, and other European countries. However, most of their producing factories are located in Asian countries specifically:
- China: 103
- Vietnam: 76
- Indonesia: 45
- India: 32
- Cambodia: 24
- Pakistan: 16
- Turkey: 16
Why Do Major Brands Manufacture Their Tennis Shoes in Asia?
They do it because of the cheap labor that brings the production cost down. Wages in Asian countries are low compared to the US or Europe.
Another reason is that the labor unions in Asian countries are mainly weak and divided due to oppression.
China’s average minimum wage is 364 USD/mo compared to 1160 USD/mo in the US. The salaries are also lower to large and unknown extents. There are multiple stories about the work conditions in some Chinese factories.
To recapitulate, the tennis shoe brands want to reduce the factory cost as much as possible to be able to make a profit, considering other expenses that we always seem to forget as consumers.
Here are the main expenses that the brands pay before they make a profit on every tennis shoe they sell.
|Production (free on board)||Cost to have the tennis shoe on the ship headed to the selling country|
|Custom duties||Each country has different customs duties that the brand must pay|
|Salaries||The big brands employ thousands of workers and highly paid executives.|
|Marketing||They spend millions on marketing|
|Retailer margin (50% in general)||Retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Dick Sporting Goods, and many more take a 50% margin from the shoe brands|
|Depreciation||The shoes lose their value over time which decreases the profits|
|Taxes||Income taxes, social security…|
Tennis shoe production costs between $10 and $40 in the producing factories. But in general, big brands like Nike and Adidas only make around 5% in net profit. (According to their public financial statements)
Are Made-in-USA Tennis Shoes Better?
This is not true if we are talking about major tennis shoe brands like Nike, Adidas, Asics, K-Swiss, Wilson, and others.
Despite that, the Made-in-USA tag is often associated with higher quality, branded tennis shoes made in other countries are in general of the same quality if not better.
We could find hundreds of comments on forums and public posts where people praise the Made in China Adidas athletic shoes and say they were equally comfortable and durable to Made in USA shoes they bought previously.
The reasons are as follows:
- The manufacturing companies must comply with quality and environmental standards and processes.
- The major brands impose constant quality checks and only accept tennis shoes that respect the initial design with the requirements.
- The manufacturing companies would not risk their businesses with low-quality products because the brands can simply move to other competitors who want business.
Why do Americans Prefer Made in USA Shoes?
According to an infographic made by standardtexile, 60% of Americans are willing to pay more for Made in USA products. This goes the same for tennis shoes.
In addition, 66% of Americans associate the Made-in-USA slogan with higher quality.
From what we’ve found from multiple sources, Americans prefer Made in USA products including tennis shoes because:
- they like to purchase higher-quality products
- it supports local businesses and provides jobs to American citizens
- it feels better to buy products free of potential child labor or awful work conditions