US buys $180 million in sneakers from Mass. firm

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BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts-based New Balance is getting a big boost from the U.S. Defense Department that announced plans to buy $180 million worth of sneakers for military recruits.

Matt LeBretton, the company’s spokesman, calls it "big win" for manufacturers in Maine and Massachusetts and across the country.

He says New Balance is one of the few companies that makes a shoe meeting all federal requirements. The company manufactures shoes in Lawrence, Boston and Maine.

Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox announced Friday that the Department of Defense will provide military recruits with the American-made footwear, rather than giving them a stipend to buy their own training shoes. U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, a Lowell Democrat, had pushed for the change.

Tsongas said at least five other companies have begun making the footwear.


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