01 Jul Step Inside the Biggest U.S. Factory Making Military Boots, Shoes
There is constant motion inside Big Rapids’ largest footwear factory.
A slight breeze propelled by big industrial fans cuts through the warm air. Workers, evenly split between women and men, wear T-shirts to stay cool, and plugs in their ears to shut out the loud hum of sewing machines.
The majority of military-issue footwear comes from this plant on the edge of Michigan’s Manistee Forest.
With a few exceptions, most of the shoes are made by hand. Workers have to be fast, and precise.
“It’s our soldiers, they’ve got to have good shoes,” said Brenda Bouwen, a supervisor who oversees four lines. “We want to make sure their feet are protected.” She is the mom of a Marine, who served for five years. He is now a teacher.
Nearly 80 people touch a pair of shoes, from inspecting the leather to packing them into boxes, says David Warren, vice president of owned manufacturing, for parent company, Rockford-based Wolverine World Wide Inc.
Click here to read the full article at Michigan Live.