WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13), Mike Bost (R-IL-12) and Rick Crawford (R-AR-01) introduced the Better Outfitting Our Troops (BOOTS) Act – bipartisan legislation to ensure that all of our military personnel's footwear is made in the United States in line with critical safety standards.

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Despite the Berry Amendment, which requires the military to give preference to domestically produced products, the market for Army soldier footwear has been taken over by foreign manufacturers that meet metrics for appearance while skirting crucial safety guidelines and quality standards. The BOOTS Act would address safety concerns for our military personnel while bringing military footwear manufacturing back home to the United States with American-sourced materials. The legislation would support domestic military footwear production at places like the Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company.

“We shouldn’t be outsourcing the production of critical military equipment to countries like China – we should be making things here in the United States,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “Today, I’m introducing the BOOTS Act to ensure that our men and women in uniform have high-quality, American-made footwear that supports the demands of training and deployment. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that our troop’s footwear is made right here in the United States at places like the Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company to ensure the safety of our military personnel and support good-paying manufacturing jobs here at home.”

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“As a Marine, the father of a Marine, and the grandfather of a Marine, I know firsthand how important it is that our troops have the high-quality boots required to face tough terrain. This legislation will better protect our troops by ensuring their equipment is consistent, safe, and produced on American soil,” said Congressman Bost.

“Our soldiers deserve to be outfitted with quality footwear that will provide them with the best protection and functionality while they are risking their lives for our freedoms. As an Army combat veteran, I know firsthand the difference quality boots truly make. Not surprisingly, the footwear options that were made overseas just simply fall flat on these quality standards. That is why I’m proud to be a part of the effort to ensure our warfighters are in quality Made in America footwear,” said Congressman Crawford.

The Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company is the oldest and leading manufacturer of boots for the U.S. Military – beginning with their first combat boot supply order during WWI. Belleville Boot supplies the largest selection of certified boots to the U.S. Military and develops an assortment of styles to meet specialized needs.

Last year, Budzinski announced a $7,816,274 contract for Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company to make temperate weather combat boots for the U.S. Army. Budzinski and Bost recently announced a $10,334,376 contract from the Defense Logistics Agency for the Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Company to make flight deck safety boots for the U.S. Navy. The pair also successfully included a bipartisan amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to require the Department of Defense to examine current military footwear regulations and provide recommendations on improvements to support the footwear needs of our troops. This provision aims to support domestic military-grade boot manufacturing. This provision also ensures that military footwear complies with the standards that military members need as large companies increasingly move into military boot manufacturing.

Full text of the BOOTS Act can be found here.

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