Düsseldorf, Germany — The made-in-the-USA running shoe business is about to get a lot more competitive.
Earlier this year, sporting goods giant Adidas AG announced it was backing plans to open a SpeedFactory plant in Atlanta — its second globally, behind a similar plant in Germany — to make high performing running shoes.
Now Reebok is ready to launch a new plant in Rhode Island to make its new Reebok Liquid Speed running shoes, using 3-D printing.
It's a big step forward for an industry that has produced the bulk of its shoes off shore, although production for Adidas and Reebok will be limited at this point. Adidas' new Atlanta SpeedFactory will be able to make up to 500,000 pairs of shoes at full capacity. In its Oct. 20 announcement for the new plant in Lincoln, R.I., Reebok did not specify production targets. Its first Liquid Speed production will be a limited 300 pairs made at headquarters in Canton, Mass.
Reebok is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Adidas, purchased by the German firm in 2005.
The two companies will join a “made in the U.S.” branding for athletic shoes by Boston-based New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., although New Balance's output is far higher. It says it “makes or assembles” more than 4 million pairs of athletic shoes per year in the U.S.
Adidas was the first to announce plans for U.S. production, although Reebok may beat it to bringing those shoes to market.