Footwear Brands – The China Report Card

Footwear Brands – The China Report Card

Last updated 11/5/23 with list of Made in USA options.

Are any Shoes or Sneakers NOT made in China these days?

This first “report card” of the top clothing brands will focus on footwear brands.

What’s especially galling about footwear brands is that so many of them are associated with the countries they originated in. Everyone knows that Nike is an American brand, Adidas is a German brand, Reebok is British, UGG is Australian.

But you’d be wrong in every case. Most of these companies have very few meaningful ties with their original countries anymore. Nike and Adidas shoes are mainly produced in China or Vietnam.

Reebok ceased being a British company when it was acquired by Reebok; it recently was acquired by Authentic Brands Group, which has plans to expand to China, and with its ownership of iconic brands like Aeropostale, Forever 21, Brooks Brothers, Barneys, Izod, Juicy Couture, Eddie Bauer, Nine West and many more, it would be a one-stop shop if CCP-backed entities wanted to take it over once it goes public.

And the UGG brand was never Australian. It was an American company that co-opted the design of Australian boots, trademarked a common Australian phrase, and outsourced production of its “Australian” shoes to China while locking authentic Australians out of the lucrative US market.

As the CCP becomes increasingly nationalistic, expect it to incentivize its local manufacturers to use all the secrets they learned from Nike and Adidas to build up China-based brand Anta. Anta, incidentally, already owns brands like Wilson Sporting Goods and Louisville Slugger. (That’s right, a China-based company doesn’t just make, but they own the production of all the basketballs and all the baseball bats used in professional sports. Chilling, isn’t it?)

In short, it’s a mess. This NPR article does a good job of explaining why shoe manufacturing is almost certainly never going to return to the United States. That said, the very least we can do as consumers is vote with our wallets to make sure shoe companies don’t put all their eggs into the China basket.

How this list was made

As I described in the introduction to these report cards, my approach here is to list out the top footwear brands by popularity and then to give them a “letter grade” based on how much of their supply chain they allow China to monopolize AND how shameless they are in kowtowing to the China Communist Party.

To summarize, I’m going to look at the most popular clothing and footwear brands, as measured by YouGov polls and I’m going to “grade” them based on how much they are tied to China.

Sadly, there isn’t one company that hasn’t moved at least some of its production to China. But many companies have started to diversify their supply chain, either because they recognize the foolishness of allowing China to monopolize their production, or (more likely) simply because China is becoming too expensive. This means that some shoes (even within the same model number) might be made in China OR in another country like Vietnam. In these cases, your best approach to avoiding China products is to go to a physical store and read the label yourself.

Best Shoe Brands Not Made in China

1. Adidas 🇩🇪 – C+

Adidas and Nike have a dilemma on their hands. They shut down their company-owned stores back in the 2010s in order to focus on using subcontractors. They taught these subcontractors all their manufacturing techniques and secrets. Around 2018, they realized they were putting too many eggs into one basket and started moving to other countries, but the damage had been done. Counterfeiters are making products that are indistinguishable from the real thing.

The CCP is starting to throw its weight around–it organized a boycott of Western brands in March 2021 because these brands hurt the CCPs feelings after they dared to question labor practices in Xinjian.

To Adidas’ credit, they were one of the first brands to speak against Uyghur forced detention and that stood behind the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which was one of the trigger points that led to China unleashing its wrath both through official channels and their vast army of trolls on social media. There was a coordinated effort to stir up social media mobs in China to boycott brands like H&M, Nike, Adidas, and Puma. Make no mistake–the CCP’s first priority is to terrorize the industry, making examples of these companies to make sure that smaller brands don’t fall out of line.

Again to Adidas’ credit, they stood their ground, unlike the weasels at Nike that paid lip service to their progressive customers, only to throw them under the bus with a groveling apology to China.

Adidas has been working to relocate manufacturing from China to Vietnam, perhaps because it realizes it has too much tied up in China, and perhaps due to the tariffs that Presidents Trump and Biden put in place. I do like how Adidas is very transparent about which factories in which countries it uses in its supply chain. Right now about 27% of their factories are located in China, but that’s much lower than it used to be. We’ll see if that continues a downward trend.

So right now, your chances are still high of getting a made-in-China Adidas product, but you can do your part by being selective about how you buy future Adidas products. Check the label. The best we can do now is to try to starve any remaining manufacturing in China. I hope in a year I can upgrade them from a C+ to an B or even an A, but time will tell.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Go to a physical store and check the label. If you go to Amazon, be sure to double-check the Customer Questions and Answers and Customer Reviews for the keyword “China”, and be sure to avoid third party sellers. Better yet, go for the New Balance 990, 991, 992, or 993 which are made in the US and the UK.

2. Nike 🇺🇸 – F

Nike is, of course, the poster child for an apparel company that has completely sold out to China.

In a rare demonstration that it maybe had a conscience, in March 2021 Nike issued a statement expressing concern over reports of forced labor of Ughur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. But as soon as the CCP mobilized boycotts against them, NIke quickly gave a groveling apology to China, with CEO John Donahoe proclaiming “Nike is a brand that is of China and for China”.

You might recall a few years ago when LeBron James similarly kowtowed to China when Daryl Morey retweeted a Tweet supporting freedom in Hong Kong.

Ironically, as of 2021, Nike outsources more of its manufacturing to Vietnam (22.5%) than to China (21.9%), a trend that will hopefully continue as tariffs have their effect. But of course, Nike and its celebrity spokespeople are interested in the billions of people who (supposedly) will want to buy their products in China, and so they will clearly fold like a cheap tent to the CCP’s bullying rather than risk “offending” the CCP. And so they’ll stay silent about things like fair labor practices, the environment, and suppression of freedom. Is that really the kind of company that Americans want representing America around the world and to our children?

Hints for avoiding made in China: As with Adidas, by far the best thing to do is to go to a Nike store or outlet store and read the box. Buying online from Amazon can be risky, as Nike does not use Amazon as a first-party seller, so all the Nike listings on Amazon are from third-party sellers, many of whom may be counterfeiters. Better yet, go for the New Balance 990, 991, 992, or 993 which are made in the US and the UK.

3. Converse 🇺🇸 – F

Converse sneakers are of course an iconic American product. In 1960, 80% of Americans with sneakers had Converse, and they ran a huge plan out of Lumberton, NC. And until 2001, all of their shoes were made in the USA. Sadly, they declared bankruptcy in 2001, at which point their brand was purchased by Nike and all of their US-based plants were shut down.

In my research on the Internet, I tried to find out where Converse sneakers are made. Converse’s own Web site is completely devoid of any information about where their products are sourced and made.

When I contacted their customer service line, here’s what they said:

I guess I should give them points for honesty, but sadly, this means that even iconic designs like the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe that’s been around since 1920 is made in China and this “all American” company feels no pressure at all to bring manufacturing back to the US nor move the “majority” of its manufacturing from China.

Hints for avoiding made in China: There doesn’t seem to be any reliable way to guarantee which county a particular Converse sneaker comes from when you shop online. From this chat it seems your chances aren’t good of finding a non-China one in a store. But you can try.

If you happen to be in Japan, you’re in luck–Converse Japan (which is not affiliated with the main Converse brand owned by Nike, but does produce the same designs), does clearly specify the country of origin on its Web site. Most of their product is made in Indonesia.

In the meantime, USA-made Chucks from prior to 2001 are starting to become collector’s items. You can purchase them from specialized sites like this one.

4. Skechers 🇺🇸 – D

Skechers is an American footwear brand that was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Manhattan Beach, California.

When I contacted Skechers and asked them about their supply chain, they were, shall we say, a bit “skechy”.

Specifically, I asked them very specifically what percentage of their products were made in China or Vietnam, and how I could tell from online listings where they came from. Here was their canned response:

So clearly they’re hiding behind the “we have a very diversified supply chain and choose only the highest quality manufacturers around the world to make our products that are designed in the good old USA” load of BS.

I took a random sample of 5 of their highest rated and most popular products on Amazon. 5 out of 5 came from China. Until I see a little more transparency here, they’re going to get a “D”.

Hints for avoiding made in China: If you’re feeling lucky, visit a brick-and-mortar store to look at the box. Bear in mind that even variations of size and color in the same model may be made in China and supporting the Chinese Communist regime.

5. Reebok 🇬🇧, then 🇩🇪, then 🇺🇸 – B

Reebok has been owned by Adidas since 2006, but they have since sold the brand to Authentic Brands Group. Here was their response when I asked where their sneakers are made.

Top rated Reebok sneaker on Amazon, made in Vietnam

I did a spot check on their official Amazon store, and sure enough, best sellers like their Men’s CL Leather CTE Fashion Sneaker, their Men’s Classic Harman Run Sneaker, their Women’s Classic Leather Sneaker and their Women’s Clssic Renaissance Shoes were all made in Vietnam. I would have preferred for them to have been more upfront about Country of Origin rather than making me jump through hoops to find it. But I’m satisfied that they’re telling the truth.

Hints for avoiding made in China: You probably have a better-than-average chance of finding a product not made in China from shopping online, but of course you’ll want to shop at a real store to confirm.

6. Crocs 🇺🇸 – C

Crocs is another American company, based in Broomfield, Colorado. It started in 2001 as a boating shoe, but quickly gained popularity as a casual and comfortable blog. They originally owned their own plants, but as with most other footwear manufacturers they closed their last plants (in Mexico and Italy) in 2018 and went to a 100% outsourced model. And like other footwear makers, they made the foolish decision to go into China, which essentially guaranteed that their products would be easily counterfeited.

Here is news I love to see. As a result of trade tariffs against China in 2019, Crocs committed to diversifying its supply chain to lessen its reliance on China for products users can buy in the USA. As of 2019, about 30% of its products were made in China, but it committed to bringing it down to 10% by 2020. I reached out to Crocs to see if they met their goal, and I’ll let you know what they come back with.

From my casual observation, it looks like they may be making a dent. When I look at their most popular product on Amazon, the Unisex Classic Clog, the country of origin information is missing from the product description (of course). But when I read the Customer Questions and Answers and Reviews, there are varying reports. It appears the depending on your size and color, you may get Crocs made in China, but also from Mexico, Thailand, Nicaragua, or Vietnam.

That’s a start. But the only way for consumers to make a difference is if you actively reject anything made in China and buy more of the ones made in other countries. Remember that quality is not necessarily the issue here, but how much of your purchase goes to fund an oppressive government. Granted, the governments of Mexico, Thailand, Nicaragua, and Vietnam aren’t necessarily pure as the driven snow either, but the point here is to avoid putting too much power and money into feeding the biggest beast of all.

So clearly, their customer service people are being told to be very non-committal–when I pressed they doubled down claiming that the information I asked was impossible to get.

I was going to give them a “B” here, but it makes me nervous that they’ve clearly got their fingers to the wind, hoping that consumers forget about the CCP’s atrocities and treat China any other country. I’ll give them a “C” but it’ll be clearly up to you, the consumer, to force them to improve, as they’re not going to do it on their own.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Buying online is going to be hit-or-miss. Again, your best bet is to go to a brick and mortar store and check the label for yourself. Unlike the brands above, you should have no problem finding a store that stocks Crocs not made in China. If one store doesn’t have them, just go to the next one.

7. Dr. Scholl’s Shoes 🇺🇸 – F

Dr. Scholl’s is another an All-American brand, started by podiatrist William Mathias Scholl in 1906. Through the years it’s been owned by a number of different pharmaceutical companies, from Schering-Plough to Merck to Bayer. Most recently it’s been sold to a private equity group called Yellow Wood Partners, who established a new company called Scholl’s Wellness Company to run the brand.

It’s most famous for its insoles and foot care products, but it also sells a line of shoes. Unfortunately Dr. Scholl’s has not only outsourced most of its manufacturing to China, it boasts about being one of the “pioneers of footwear manufacturing in China” and tout how they were instrumental in making sure that China built up specialized skills and machinery so that the world’s manufacturers came to them (you can read quotes from one of their executives in this lovely piece of propaganda here–this piece is a perfect example of how companies like Dr. Scholl’s helped lead the way in whitewashing the CCP’s true record in environmental and labor practices by cherry picking contrived statistics. Shame on them.

This was pretty much corroborated them I reached out to them on Facebook.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Just avoid them.

8. PUMA 🇩🇪 – B

Puma was founded in 1948 in Germany and continues to be headquartered there.

Puma is another company that is responding to tariffs from the US on China by shifting footwear and apparel manufacturing out of China and to countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Cambodia. While their production was evenly split a few years ago between China and Vietnam, it looks like more of their products are made in Vietnam these days.

Puma sneaker on Amazon, made in Vietnam

I checked Amazon, and surely enough Puma’s two most popular models, their Tazen 6 Fade Cross-Trainers and their Roma Basic Sneaker both appear to be made in Vietnam, if the most recent reviews are accurate.

Hints for avoiding made in China: You can buy on Amazon or Walmart and be pretty safe to not get something made in China, but to be safe, you’ll want to search the reviews or Q&A from a product you like to see what others are reporting. Or, of course, visit a brick and mortar store to check the box for yourself.

9. New Balance 🇺🇸 – A

Finally, a brand that gets a solid “A”.

Now to be clear, like most other shoe companies New Balance does make most of its products out of China and Vietnam. But remember, this “report card” is not about whether a company does business in China at all; it’s about how the extent to which a company has gone “all in” to China manufacturing and the extent to which the company sells out its own principles and its own country to ingratiate itself to the China market (through the CCP). And appropriate to its name, New Balance maintains that balance–on the one hand in order to survive and compete it does need to outsource a certain amount of manufacturing, but on the other hand it continues to maintain a meaningful manufacturing base in its home country and it’s diversifying its supply chain. It doesn’t spend millions on getting celebrity endorsements; instead, it makes a really, really good shoe.

New Balance was established in 1906 in Boston. They continue to be headquartered there, and they’ve managed to keep production of certain lines out of one of their five facilities in Maine and Massachusetts. They’re the only major shoe brand to do so.

The irony is that these shoes are so well made that consumers in China make up a lot of the demand for them.

New Balance 990 made in the USA. The sneaker of choice of the author.

There are only a few lines that New Balance makes in the USA, namely the 990, 992, and 993.

(1540s used to be made in the US, but production has moved to Vietnam as of April 2021. But it’s still not China).

For the last 20 years I’ve bought nothing but 990s, and I can personally attest to how long they last. I’ve gone through at least two pairs where I’d wear them every day.

I buy a new pair every few years, but even my old pairs going back many years are still in incredible shape–I’ve worn the soles down to nothing, but the stitching and leather are still in perfect shape and look brand new when I run them through a washing machine. If I could find a way to get them re-soled, I would (actually, TIL that I can!)

Until recently you were able to get these for under $100, but after the COVID lockdowns the price skyrocketed. When I went to the New Balance Outlet, I got a pair for about $180. The New Balance sales guy explained to me that the price went up because the lockdown severely impacted the facilities in New England (in other show of great patriotism they converted some of the factories to make face masks during the lockdown when PPE was difficult to find). But he implied that once they become fully operational again, the price should come back down. I decided to pay the $180 anyway.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Buy one of the models I listed above offline or online and you’ll be guaranteed get an authentic, solidly built made in the USA product. If you want other styles, check customer reviews online and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find one made in Vietnam. And of course, the best approach is to go to a New Balance store and look at the box yourself.

10. Timberland 🇺🇸 – C

Timberland was another footwear company that was founded in Boston. They were founded in 1952 and today their headquarters continue to be in New Hampshire. Since 2011 they’ve been part of VF Corporation.

Over the years, it looks like Timberland tried to keep a few products made in the USA just like New Balance did, but all those products are gone now. In 2017 they had a USA-Made 8-inch boot that sold for $500, but that’s completely gone now. Up until recently they offered American Craft Moc-Toe Boots, but those also look completely sold out, as are their American Craft 8-inch Waterproof Boots or their American Craft Chukka Boots. There’s no indication if or when these will ever return.

Timberland is at least transparent about their supply chain–to a certain extent. They provide quarterly reports that list out every one of the factories they outsource to throughout the world, and they do appear to have a somewhat diversified supply chain. But China is clearly still their largest manufacturing supplier, and they don’t make it easy on their Web site to find the country of origin of any particular product.

When I spot check their product listings on Amazon, it looks like most of their most popular products are made in China, although some products look like they’re made in Vietnam or the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately, without country of origin labeling on their own site or on Amazon’s, it’s practically impossible to tell where a particular shoe is made. You can search the Customer Question and Answer and Reviews, but the country of manufacture may vary even by size and color. Here’s a popular product where customers have reported over time getting the product from Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, China, and Indonesia. and they’re all right.

Hints for avoiding made in China: This is one where I’d make sure to visit a store in person and check the box.

11. Hush Puppies 🇺🇸 – D

Hush Puppies does a very good job of hiding their country of origin from customers–it’s nowhere on their Web site, and on very few Amazon product pages. When I contacted their chat agent to ask where their shoes were made, they said “most are either made in China or Vietnam” but they didn’t give me a percentage. Later in the chat she said “I actually forgot to mention we have quite a few styles made in India”

When I pressed, the woman on the line told me to tell her what product I was interested in, and she’d be able to look it up. So the information does exist. I asked her about the Women’s Hazel Pointe and she said it was made in India. Other popular styles like the Sienna Shootie and the Sienna Boot are made in India.

From time to time if you’re lucky you’ll be able to find a country of origin, like these popular women’s boots, also made in India.

I think Hush Puppies would probably get a C+ or even a B here if they just didn’t obfuscate their country of origin as much as they do. But right now it’s just too much of a hassle to figure out which models are made where.

Hints for avoiding made in China: If you see a style you like, chat with an agent on their Web site to ask where it’s made. Or visit a store in person.

12. Vans 🇺🇸 – C

Like Timberland, Vans is owned by VF Corporation. It was originally started in 1966 in Anaheim, California as a skateboarding brand, and continues to be headquartered in Costa Mesa. They were made out of several factories in California until the late 1990s, when all manufacturing operations moved to China and Vietnam.

In 2011 the son of the founder said in an interview with Vice that he hoped to bring manufacturing back to the United States. Ten years later that hasn’t happened. And unfortunately, there’s very little transparency of visibility into their supply chain.

I was pleased when I did a spot-check of the most popular styles on Amazon, that many of them were made in Vietnam. This includes Van’s Men’s Low-Top Sneakers and their Unisex Adult Authentic Core Classics. But other popular styles like Unisex Low-Top Trainers are being reported as made in China. And worse, by outsourcing to China, Van’s has all but guaranteed that its styles will be heavily counterfeited, so if you buy from any third party seller, there’s a decent chance you’ll be getting a knock-off.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Aside from asking and getting a sample of customer reports on Amazon product listings, your best bet is to visit a physical store and check the box for yourself.

13. UGG 🇺🇸 – F

Did you know that before UGG (all caps) became a brand name, the term “ugg” (lowercase) was used for years to describe the style of sheepskin boots that started in Australia? “ugg boots” were invented in Australia and worn by surfers in the 1960s, spreading to the United States and Great Britain in the 1970s and becoming a fashion trend in the late 1990s.

The company known as UGG was founded in the USA in 1978 by Australian surfers Brian Smith and Doug Jensen. They started out by selling Australian boots, but decided to create their company called UGG (all caps). Most of their sales were in California, but the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer gave them exposure around the world, and 2003, Oprah helped them really take off by including them as one of her “favorite things”.

In move that was either sleazy big corporate BS or smart business, depending on how you look at it, UGG sued to stop people from selling shoes using the term “ugg”. They won in the US, but they lost in Australia. This is why you see marketing in the US only for UGGs, but in Australia you can still find “uggs” (ugh).

I fall into the camp of seeing UGG’s legal nonsense as sleazy for one reason. UGG (all caps) boots are unfortunately pretty much all made in China these days.

But there are plenty of small businesses in Australia who make “ugg” boots using Australian workers and Australian sheep whom UGG has essentially blocked out of the world’s largest marketplace so that they and China are the only beneficiaries. The irony, of course, is that UGG is the one that co-opted the generic term “ugg”. Now that they’ve become the most popular creators of that style of footwear, they’re stopping others from using the term they stole.

I’m glad to see that some Australian companies are fighting back with ugg boots that are more authentic ugg boots than UGG boots. I believe the way that trademark law works, they’re allowed to maintain their own Web sites in Australia, and if you seek them out and find them in Australia, they can sell you products. But they just aren’t allowed to market to the US. But I can certainly share some Australian web sites with them (I’m not being paid for this, I’m just providing this as a service because it should be an insult to Australians everywhere that UGGs have the appearance of being Australian, but Australia is not benefitting at all from their national treasure.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Don’t buy UGG brand boots. Buy geniune ugg boots from one of these real Australian companies.

Burlee Australia – This was the only brand I could find selling on Amazon. The rest are Australian-based Web sites
Wild Wool Australia
Emu Australian
Ugg Since 1974
Ugg Boots Made in Australia
Ugg Australia
Original Ugg Boots

14. Red Wing Shoes 🇺🇸 – A+

I was pleasantly surprised to see that like New Balance, Red Wing continues to maintain some manufacturing in the USA. In their case, their entire line of “American Heritage” shoes and boots is made out of their factory in Red Wing, Minnesota. They also have factories in Potosi, Missouri and Danville Kentucky.

Red Wing Heritage Men’s Classic Moc Boot, made in the USA

I can’t say enough good things about Red Wing Shoes. On their own Web site, they make sure that every product, whether it’s made in the USA or elsewhere, has Country of Origin clearly marked. As I go through a random sampling of boots and shoes, I see products made in Vietnam, Cambodia, and no trace of China. And on Amazon, all of their shoes that are made in the USA clearly say so in their product description.

And of course, when I go to the Heritage section of their Web site, every single product is gloriously marked as made in the USA.

Red Wing Shoes needs to climb up from the 14th most popular brand to the first. Any consumer who cares about the future of their country needs to buy at least one pair of work boots, hiking boots, athletic shoes, or casual shoes from them. Here are some of their most popular models.

Classic Moc 6″ Boot

Iron Ranger 6″ Boot

Iron Ranger 6″ Vibram Boot

Hints for avoiding made in China: Buy anything from their Heritage line and be assured you’re getting the best quality shoe available. Or, visit a store in person to confirm that you’re buying a shoe made from a country other than China.

15. Wolverine / Merrill 🇺🇸 – A

Wolverine was a company that went all-in to China back around 2010. But in recent years, it realized the foolishness of its ways and has decreased its footprint (no pun intended) to an amount that is now smaller than the rest of the industry.

Wolverine Men’s 1000 Mile Fashion Boot, Made in the USA

Similar to Red Wing Shoes, they also maintain a clothing line called Heritage that is completely made in the USA. The 1000 Mile boot you see to your right at one point had been made in China, but now it’s made in the USA; even the raw materials are from the USA–the upper leather is from Chicago, the outsole leather is from WIlliamsport, PA, and the laces are from Bowling Green, KY or Landrum South Carolina. As with Red Wing, their Web site does a nice job of identifying where their products are made.

I’m lumping Merrill in here mainly because Wolverine owns Merrill, and Merrill happens to be one of my favorite shoes. Specifically, I haven’t had any problems finding their Moab 2 Hiking Shoes made in Vietnam. Other Wolverine brands seem to be hit-or-miss, as I referenced with Hush Puppies above.

Hints for avoiding made in China: Buy anything from their Heritage line and be assured you’re getting the best quality shoe available. Or, visit a store in person to confirm that you’re buying a shoe made from a country other than China.

Best Shoes Made in the USA

These posts have focused mostly on big brands, but I’ve had a few people come up and ask for advice on smaller brands.

It’s a great question. One pattern I’ve seen over and over again is where an entrepreneur invents a product and manufactures it locally, using local workers and local material. They get big. Then, in order to scale they (or more likely, the venture capitalists who fund them) shop around for the cheapest contractors. And of course, no country can compete with China on price—their government makes sure of it.

So there’s something to be said about buying from smaller brands that stick to domestic manufacturing. The challenge, of course, is figuring out which smaller brands are the highest quality (the point of this site, after all, is to help you find “the best”, not just give you a laundry list of brands to go through).

While it’s not perfect, I’m looking at brands where I can find some kind of independent confirmation of their popularity and quality (e.g., Amazon reviews, Reddit, etc.) and more importantly, have some kind of statement on their Web site or product listing that they are made in the USA and intend to stay that way.

(I don’t have the time at the moment to research non-USA manufacturers, but if you know of some standouts, please leave them in the comments!)

Here are some of the best.

SAS Shoes – Short for “San Antonio Shoes”, SAS Shoes are made in the USA. They’ve received rave reviews for both their sneakers and shoes for their comfort and (something you haven’t heard for a while) how long they last. I’m happy to see a retailer like Zappos selling them, but I just wish they got a little more attention.

Keen – Keen boots are renowned for their durability, strength, and construction. You can buy these Keen boots made in the USA.

Okashabi – I love how they boldly state right on their Web site home page and their Amazon storefront that they’re made in the USA. They sell rainboots and Croc alternatives for kids, sandals and Croc alternatives for men, and a line of women’s flats and sandals. Amazingly affordable, and very highly reviewed.

McRae – Military-style boots from a company that actually supplies the US military, so you know they’re made in the USA and will remain made in the USA (Mount Gilead, Tennessee, to be precise).

Allen EdmondsCasual shoes and dress shoes for men. From what I can see most of the higher end shoes are made in the USA, while lower end shoes made in countries like the Dominican Republic and India. For the best selection of Made in USA shoes, visit their Website directly.

Oak Street Bootmakers – They state boldly on their home page that they are 100% committed to manufacturing all their footwear and accessories in the USA. They don’t list on Amazon so I can’t see any reviews there, but they are loved by Redditors.

Softstar Shoes – A family-owned company based out of Oregon that’s also one of the tiny percentage of brands that still makes all of its products in the USA. They make every kind of shoe you can think of, from sheepskin boots that looks as good as UGG, to oxfords, to moccasins, to mary janes and balllerina flats, to kid’s shoes.

SOM Footwear – Made in Colorado and committed to stay there, SOM also produces a wide range of athletic and casual shoes. They even offer free resoling if you choose to purchase a second pair, so you can reuse your old shoes instead of throwing 90% of a perfectly good shoe into a landfill. That’s something you never hear of anymore, but which used to be common back when there were cobblers and not prison camp workers.

These are just a small fraction of Made in USA shoe makers I found. Again, please feel free to add more (and if you’re a shoe maker who I missed, feel free to reach out in the comments).

Do you know of other shoes or sneakers not made in China worthy of mention here? Let us know in the comments!


  1. The New Balance shoes are fantastic, I have had several pairs, both the Made in USA and Made in UK versions.
    The US made 990’s are like you mentioned the best ever, what a quality! They last for years. The cheaper New Balance shoes from Asia are from a totally different quality.

    Fortunately, the choice of European made shoes in Europe is still quite large.
    Portugal, Italy and Spain produce a lot of shoes. Mostly leather shoes and boots.
    Besides that, you can also get some shoes made in the northern European countries such as the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
    Bata for instance has a very large range of safety shoes and socks, made in the Netherlands.

    Sneakers are more difficult, but you can also find a few brands that still make sneakers in Europe, see this list:
    – Diadora, several sneakers from the Heritage line are Made in Italy
    – KangaROOS COIL-R1 Shiraz, Made in Germany
    – Adidas Samba Classic MIG, Made in Germany
    – Le Coq Sportif, a few sneakers are Made in France
    – Walsch, Made in UK
    – Atlantic Stars, Made in Italy

    Adidas also make the classic Copa Mundial soccer shoes in Germany.

    1. One way that I have managed to buy clothes and shoes bearing popular brand names, without feeding the CCP beast, has been through online and brick-mortar sites that offer quality, used items. Online, I’m talking about the likes of ebay, Poshmark, Etsy, etc… Certainly you have to do your research and ask the sellers for as many specifics as you can think of about sale items, before you commit to buy. Sometimes it’s hit or miss. Online, I stay away from buying footwear. Obviously, with B&M stores, such as thrift or second-hand clothing stores, being able to physically exam items that catch your eye, eliminates the risk of buying something that doesn’t fit or turns out to have flaws that an online seller failed to divulge. Overall, I’ve had many more successful online buying experiences than not. Hope my comment is of help.

      1. But you’ll advertise by wearing them around town telling everyone else you condone “made in china” gear? Don’t do it. Better to support workers, manufacturing, trucking, and bricks and mortar here in the US. Buying used “made in China” is still, made in china. You feel better because you skip a step, buying them used?

        Do the right thing. Buy American end to end.

      2. An amazing article. As I attempt to avoid purchases from China, research like this is invaluable!!

    2. Sadly… I was a huge buyer of Dansko, which were formerly all made in W European countries but now I am unable to find even a single pair that is not made in China and the quality is very noticeably gone. If anyone finds otherwise I would luv to know!

      1. In 2008, Dansko started manufacturing in China after ending their partnership with Sanita. Last time I purchased Sanita, which admittedly was years ago, they were still not made in China and Sanita had the better design, in my opinion.

  2. Some New Balance shoes are indeed made in the UK but are expensive. Models include 577, 670, 911, 991 and R770. The factory used to be in Warrington but I think has moved to Lakeland more recently.

    1. 577 is Vietnam now – used to be USA. Just got a Vietnam pair from Amazon that I will be returning…sigh…

        1. Keep in mind that products made in Vietnam are often made by Chinese owned companies operating in Vietnam, the quality is usually on par with Chinese produced and you’re still feeding the PRC economy.

  3. Hi, I’m an American from Pennsylvania. I have a Made in U.S.A. shoe fetish and I absolutely despise the inhumanity of any government so I thought I’d chime in.

    SAS – South Antonio Shoes

    Thorogood – work boots

    Double H – cowboy boots

    I used to buy Redwings avidly but today you have to be careful and look at the fine print to see where they are made. This is true for most shoe companies including Redwing, Carolina, Wellco and NewBalance. I recommend SAS because they make a variety of different types of shoes including sneakers. As a blue-collar guy I also recommend Thorogood work boots. Double H has been around for a while; look them up on Wikipedia.

    The above are some of the highest quality and longest lasting shoes for everyday wear that are made today but… Back in the day shoes used to last forever, or at least a lifetime. Today you have to hunt find shoes with a real welt construction that can be re-soled. If you are looking for a high quality dress shoe that you are willing to maintain it’s worth buying from one of the small companies still surviving out there. Many still hand-make their shoes. Ask your local cobbler (yes, they still exist although it’s usually under signs that say “shoe repair”) or try searching for “resole” on the internet. Here’s another one from Maine,

  4. China is purposely working through Vietnamese companies to hide their true origin or ownership. Remember that Vietnam was our enemy not long ago.

    1. This is a great point. Technically, they’re still our enemy. They’re ruled by the Communist Party of Vietnam, just as China is still ruled by the Chinese Communist Party. Both countries have atrocious records when it comes to human rights, civil liberties, and the environment.

      it’s ironic (but perhaps not surprising) that it’s the communist countries that Western companies are pouring their manufacturing to. Communism does two things very well–first, it eliminates corruption among the masses (only The Party Elite are allowed to cheat and steal–everyone else goes to prison or gets executed); second, it dehumanizes people to the point where they are happy to become the equivalent of manufacturing robots working long hours at slave wages, as long as The Party tells them this is what they should be doing.

      This is why we need to buy made in USA or made in Europe if we can afford it, as well as support emerging countries who value human rights.

    2. Germany and japan were our enemies during WW2. We need to let the past lie in the past and judge governments on their actions today, not their actions of the past

      1. I agree largely with this, but remember that Germany and Japan lost their hot wars, while Vietnam won theirs and then had to deal with the consequences of ruling with a Communist government—rife with human rights abuses, corruption, and censorship—into the 21st century.

        So there are a ton of very concerning things about Vietnam, and a lot of it is reminiscent of what we see with China’s one-party system that had roots in Marxism but was “forced” into a form of market capitalism (where Adam Smith’s “moral sentiments” are controlled not by the market, but by a central power).

        So right now, when I see “made in Vietnam”, I celebrate it mainly because they offer SOME alternative to China’s monopolization. But time will tell if the US opening relations with Vietnam again in 2016 will go the way of Japan after 1945 or the way of China after 1972.

  5. I despise buying anything made in China. The prices aren’t lower, but the quality is just not there. Some executive is happily pocketing the difference. And forget about proprietary anything. I’m glad this website is here. Re

  6. Thanks for the article, hope it’s updated with more brands and grades, if and when companies change their manufacturers. Really trying to avoid footwear and clothing made in China, don’t want to feed CCP and their inhumane treatment of Uyghurs.

  7. This was very needed! Anything I want to buy today, I also look for alternatives to brands made in China. I hate the CCP and I’m saddened that U.S.A who is a superpower of the world hands our businesses to countries that stand against our beliefs and are potentially our enemies. Still looking for a nice modern looking running shoe that’s made in U.S.A. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything that would resemble some of the nice sneakers like Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour that is American.

  8. Karen Kane is mostly made in USA but pricey . I wait for sales and clearance. Finn Comfort work shoes being a nurse made in Germany. Noat made in Israel.

    1. Mephisto shoes, including the Mephisto, Mobils, and Sano lines, appear to be made out of Mephisto’s factories in Portugal and France, except for its Allrounder line which is made in China.

      Ecco shoes are made our in a variety of countries, including Portugal, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. There are many reports of Ecco shoes that are made in China being a shadow of what they once were ( and yet Ecco persists in spinning its PR to paint its China factories in the most glowing of lights–ironic that they purport to be a champion of human rights, religious freedom, freedom of association, and against forced labor–and yet 40% of all the money you pay for a made in China Ecco shoe goes to the worst regime for human rights in global history.

  9. Thanks for the article. I too am sick and tired of spending good money buying crap Chinese made footwear that may last 3 months. I am in New Zealand but buy regularly from Amazon so will check out your US made recommendations.

  10. To briefly share my discouraging experience with Timberland, there was a specific style that I wanted and inquired whether it was made in China. The response I got was that I would have to order them to check the label myself to find out where they were made. I explained that this process seemed like a potentially massive waste of fossil fuel–shipping them to me, me checking the label and if they were made in China then shipping them back–then potentially repeating this process several times until I may eventually get a pair made somewhere else! That seemed crazy to me and I pointed out that they claim to be an environmentally responsible company so how does this fit into their philosophy. The rep I chatted with was quick to point out that there was no shipping cost me (!) as if this somehow negated the waste of natural resources. I suggested that maybe the person filling my order could check the labels for me, but apparently they either don’t employ people who are intelligent enough to do that or, more likely, they don’t care enough about the concerns of their customers to help me out.

  11. Are SAS sshoes still in Texas? Also, I avoid Chinese AND Vietnam shoes for same reason. Bad commies and Vietnam killed so many Americans.

  12. I have New Balance protected toe and made in China is printed on the tongue label.
    Hence I will look for another brand come replacement time.

  13. Redwing boots are very expensive. Made poorly. And on top of that theyre simply ugly. I purchased a pair few years ago that were $300. Within 60 days the sole of the boots were worn nearly completly out.

  14. Thursday Boots state they are made in North America and Europe, specifically León (Mexico), Porto (Portugal), Alicante (Spain), or Arkansas (USA). No mention of China.

    Nisolo manufactures all of their footwear in either Mexico or Peru.

    G.H. Bass makes its penny loafers in El Salvador. Also noticed some leather boots made in Brazil. But under other footwear, like slip on sneakers, there was no mention of place of origin.

  15. ABLE clothing (clothing, leather goods, footwear, jewelry): all state clearly under product description where they are made. Footwear: Brazil and Portugal.

  16. Thank you so much for the effort to examine fashion brands. It is so hard to buy things avoid “China” nowadays. Your article guides me to find the right items! Please keep the great work, always support you!

  17. Well done. Was looking online for products not made in China and found this site. Great. More people need to know about it.
    Again…THANK YOU!

  18. From what I know, Puma and Adidas moved their production to Asian contractors as early as the 1970s, on a per-model-base. So theoretically, each model could have been made by a different contractor.
    Adidas, then Adidas-Salomon (after the merger with the French Salomon brand) was criticized by human rights organizations when about that some contractors ran sweat shops. But Adidas-Salomon showed the right reaction, saying they are right. We can’t support third world countries in Africa (African sports clubs are heavily sponsored by Adidas, and poor sports talents get all the gear for free) and produce in sweatshops elsewhere. They not only forbid sweatshop conditions in the contracts, but also have field inspectors who visit the production
    without prior notice. If a contractor doesn’t treat the workers well, he loses the contract.

    A brand I miss is ASICS, because it is very common in Europe and has a good reputation for it’s quality.

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