07 April 2012

Equipped in the USA

It can be hard to buy products made in the USA today. Everything in the store seems to be made in China. Also products that are American made can be more expensive. But before you make your decision, it is worth checking out the domestic product to see if will actually be the best value in the long run. You might just find the the companies with the determination to keep production in the USA are going the extra mile to find quality materials and solid construction.

Training for the marathon and bike commuting through four seasons has worn through some equipment, so as I replace it, I do my best to buy USA made. Nearly every time I search, I am rewarded with the surprise of an American made product better than the alternative. Here are a few examples:

J&G Bicycle clothing, Oregon


J&G makes quality specialized bicycle gear. They outfit policemen and are used to building products that have to stand up to abuse. I picked up an incredible rain jacket that I can wear on and off the bike. It has a breathable liner, and a waterproof shell. There are reflective cuffs and a tab to hang a light.

Wickers Long Underwear


The boys and I needed long underwear for biking and bus stops, and cold days in the snow. A little research and we were surprised to find Wickers, USA made breathable, comfy, and toasty long underwear.

Their mission statement is a clear perspective on why it is so important to you and your neighbors to buy American


I am 100% satisfied with the product, and it makes me feel like I'm helping a tiny bit every time I wear them.

Soark Running Apparel, Kansas


Soark has been making running gear in the USA since 1986. They have been the official sponsors of the Boston and Columbus marathons. Their recent initiative for green manufacturing and recycling has reduced the volume of trash they produce to only two barrels each week. Their split side shorts brought back vivid memories of the 70's and Bruce Jenner, but I opted for a longer legged style to leave a little more to the imagination. They are lightweight, solidly built, and even have three back pockets for change, keys, energy gel and stuff.

New Balance


Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was to find that New Balance is still making sneakers in the USA. They have 7 factories in the USA employing my fellow citizens, and every year they try to bring more and more of their production back from overseas. On their website they label which models are made in the USA or assembled in the USA. When it was time to commit for the marathon, it was time to get a pair of shoes that could stand up to the miles and I was able to design a pair made here.

There are lots of good reasons to buy Made in USA. I do it because I want jobs in the USA, I want our neighbors, in our community and all the communities around the US to have jobs. I'm not saying that we should buy an inferior product just to buy American, I'm saying look at the US made options available, you might just find they are a better value in the long run, for all of us.

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