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Buying tough American-made work boots isn't tough at all
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
May 8, 2009

With the ranks of American manufacturing jobs wearing thin these days, wearing American-made work boots from The Union Boot Pro ( can show you're standing up for an American industry that is in danger of extinction.

The United States once held a position that was virtually unchallenged in footwear. The share of imported footwear didn't pass the 10 percent mark until 1964, but it had reached 50 percent by 1979, and topped 75 per cent in 1985, according to the Footwear Industries of America. Ninety-Four percent of all footwear purchased in the United States was imported by 1999, and today, I doubt that percentage is any more favorable to American industry.

According to Gus Stelzer in his book The Nightmare of Camelot, President Gerald Ford set specific limits on imported shoes in 1976 until July, 1981. During this period, over 100 factories opened, $400 million was invested, and 30,000 new jobs were created. The footwear industry turned a profit for the first time in a decade.

When the quota limits set by Ford came up for renewal in Reagan's first term, the International Trade Commission recommended that the import limits be continued, realizing the large national investment and employment gains that resulted from the quotas. The industry was still on shaky ground, and it was questionable if the profits earned over the past decade were sufficient to invest in new technology for future production.

However, U.S. Trade Representative William E. Brock, who was paid $500,000 by Mexican interests to grease the skids for NAFTA, advised Reagan not to continue the import limits. Reagan sided Brock. Within five years, over half of the newly reopened factories had closed and over 40,000 jobs vanished.

But these grim statistics certainly don't mean we have to stand around in a pair of imported footwear with our arms folded thinking there's nothing we can do.

Even if 94 percent of the footwear purchased in America today is imported, patriotic consumers can buck the trend of ever-increasing imports if they know where to find the six percent of footwear that is still made in USA. We definitely should not be a walking example of why the share of imported footwear is increasing with each passing decade.

A good place to start is to support an American company that has been making work boots in America since 1892! The Weinbrenner Shoe Company (WSC) of Wisconsin is one of a few remaining American footwear companies that still make work boots in the USA, and they offer over 140 styles, so you're bound to find something that fits your style and your needs.

Weinbrenner makes boots from popular names you can trust like Thorogood, Hell Fire and Work One. And since Weinbrenner is employee-owned, you know they have a stake in making sure your boots are the best-fitting ever and providing the best customer service so you'll be a return customer as well.

I currently have a pair of American-made Red Wing steel-toed boots, but the next time I order boots, I'm going to order from Why? To make absolutely sure that my next pair is American made since Red Wing has started to import some of their shoes and boots from other countries.

And as you can see from website, boots from brands like CAT and John Deere are made in China, while Wolverine has a confusing mix of products that can sport either a made-in-china label or an assembled-in-USA label.

At, they have an unbeatable 120% best-price guarantee, which means if you find an item for a lower price on another web site, they will refund you 120% of the difference between the lower price and their price. Shipping is absolutely free on all ground orders (there is an extra charge for express, 2-day or 3-day shipping). There is a minimal $5 handling fee added to each pair of boots purchased on the website, which is a fee charged to for the convenience of drop-shipping directly from either the Thorogood or WorkOne warehouses in Wisconsin.

If you happen to belong to a union like the workers who build fine Weinbrenner boots, you can apply to get 27% off your order by filling out a simple form.

So saving money and getting a guaranteed, great pair of American-made boots couldn't be simpler. Simply visit for great footwear you can wear on the job and keep other American workers employed at their jobs at the same time.

Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications, and is now a weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily.


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