Keen increases US production on both coasts – Footwear News
After President Joe Biden fueled new conversations about Made in America this week with an executive order to boost domestic manufacturing, Keen is ramping up production on both coasts.
The brand announced today that it will increase production in Portland, Oregon by 26% after seeing strong demand for its “American Built” utility boots and hikers.
Across the country, Keen is diving deeper into the sock business through an expanded partnership with Nester Hosiery, a company based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The manufacturer, who has worked with Keen for 14 years, will now manufacture socks for Keen’s casual and utility brands, in addition to its outdoor segment.
“Built in America has never been more important,” said Erik Burbank, vice president of Keen Effect. “We are excited to increase the number of boots we manufacture at our Portland plant. We have continued to invest in technology to ensure the facility is state-of-the-art, and our talented team puts heart and soul into every pair of boots and sandals they put together.
The expanded relationship will ensure that Keen’s socks continue to be made in America, Burbank said. “Keen is one of our long-time partners and we share the same core values,” said Kelly Nester, CEO of Nester Hosiery.
Biden’s executive order aims to increase local content requirements and revise the definition of “made in the United States” products, as well as make it more difficult for federal agencies to purchase imported items.
“With this ordinance, President Biden ensures that when the federal government spends taxpayers’ money, it is spent on products made in the United States by American workers and with components made in the United States.” , we read in a press release from the White House.
A number of notable companies continue to take pride in their US-made products – and in some cases, like Keen, are making bigger commitments. New Balance, for example, is set to open its “Factory of the Future” in Massachusetts this summer. (It also closed a manufacturing plant in Boston at the end of 2020.)
Overall, only a tiny fraction of shoe production remains in the United States – 99% of all shoes in the United States are imported, with 2.5 billion pairs of shoes shipped to American shores. in 2019. Chief Executive Officer Matt Priest explained that in general, ‘Buy American’ has “a limited impact on our industry – not a ton of pairs and / or applications involving shoes.” “- With contributions from Samantha McDonald