02
Sep
15

Belts Made in USA

The History Of Belts

The belt may have been the very first item of clothing, even before underwear.  In fact, the “Ice Man”, whose body was recently unearthed and had a body dating back to 3100 BC, had a lime fiber sheath wrapped around his waist. It was felt that belts were not invented to keep up pants or keep robes in place, but as a way to hang things upon like amulets – ones that would offer protection against the evil eye, or ones that would protect against infertility. Soon belts were used to hold weapons and instruments. But the main function of the belt has been to hold up clothes, like in Ancient Greece, women’s floor length robes were often belted. The alternative to belts were suspenders invented around 1787, which were popular until men started wearing suits without the vests that would hide them.(From “Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible”)

How To Wear A Belt (Also from Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible)

Men

For men, the rules for wearing a belt are fairly simple: the belt must match the shoes. If a man is wearing a brown belt, he needs brown shoes-the same color brown. If you have tan shoes, you need a tan belt. If you have cordovan shoes, you need a cordovan belt. If they are mismatched, then you will look like you dressed in the dark. As for size, all your belts should accommodate the belt loops on your pants.

Women

Women may want to invest in three belts: 1) A wide black belt in matte, patent, or stretch; 2) A mid-width belt that fits the standard loop on your jeans; 3) A thin wisp of a belt for solid color tunics and dresses.

Tips:

  • Wide belts work well with patterns.
  • Small belts work best with solids. Smaller belts get lost in a bold pattern.
  • If you’re belting a tunic or a shirt, you have style options. It can cinch your waist or it can drape from your hip bones.
  • If you’re wearing a belt with jeans, the governing width element is the belt loop size.
  • When it comes to color, metallics or patent leather can dress up a more casual item, and a plain leather belt can dress down a fancier piece.
  • If you have a dress that has small belt loops that are not where the belt should be, cut them off (don’t be constrained by these).
  • The belt should be placed wherever it’s most flattering on you (it doesn’t have to sit on one’s natural waist).

Belts Made In The USA

Did you know that only 2% of clothing and clothing accessories are made in the USA. For some things like shoes, underwear, men’s pants – the percentage is even smaller. However, when it comes to belts, there is fairly good chance that you might find some “made in USA”. Even in some department stores where nothing else is made in the USA, some belts could may be made in the USA. Names associated with almost exclusively foreign made, may make some of their belts in the USA, names like: J Crew. Nordstroms, Banana Republic, LL Bean, Saks and Orvis.

Orvis belts made in the USA

Orvis belts made in the USA

So Why Does The USA Still Make Belts?

So why does the USA make belts? One reason is because America makes great leather, maybe second only to Italy, and  much better than the Chinese imports. Second, belts are not very labor intensive to make. In fact, belts are so easy to make that frequently one will encounter independent merchants (like at art and craft faires) that sell belts that they have crafted themselves. Also, for certain companies it is quite easy to make belts from the excess leather that they used for boots, these companies would be Tony Lama, Red Wing, Nocona, Chippewa, and Justin.

Tony Lama Belt

Tony Lama Belt

Types of Belts

Women’s Belts

Leatherrock Lizzie Five Strand Blet

Leatherrock Lizzie Five Strand Belt

There are many types of belts. For the women there are dress belts (usually made of leather), casual belts, fabric belts. There are waist belts, hip belts, skinny belts, gem belts, jeans belts, whip belts, wrap belts,  and chain belts.

St. John Leather and Chain belt

St. John Leather and Chain belt can be found at Nordstroms

Men’s Belts

For Men: there are a multitude of choices as well: dress, casual, western, and fabric.

W. Kleinberg belt made of Ostrich

W. Kleinberg belt made of Ostrich

Men’s belts are usually made of leather but more exotic ones can be made of Ostrich, bison, alligator, or occasionally snake.

W. Kleinberg - Watersnake

W. Kleinberg – Watersnake

Belts are our friends. They can make clothing go from dowdy to chic instantaneously. They can add a splash of color, keep pants in place, flatter an hourglass figure, or do all three at once. Experiment!

Places to Buy Made in USA Belts

Brands of Belts Found in Brick and Mortar Stores

Belts

  1. Allen Edmonds (Dress belts)
  2. A. J. Skins (Crocodile, Alligator and Lizard Belts) – through Sterling Kane
  3. American Apparel
  4. B-Low the belt (women’s fashion belts)
  5. Banana Republic
  6. Bills Khakis
  7. Bison
  8. Brighton – (dress, casual and western)
  9. Brooks Brothers (rare – dress)
  10. Bruno Magli (rare)
  11. Calibrate (rare)
  12. Canterbury
  13. Cavendar’s
  14. Chippewa (Western belts)
  15. Croakibles
  16. Donna Karan (uncommon)
  17. Filson
  18. Freemans Sporting Club
  19. Halogen
  20. Hlaska
  21. J. Crew
  22. Justin (Western belts)
  23. Kiel James Patrick – (sailing belts)
  24. Leatherock (women’s belts)
  25. Lejon
  26. Leejin (Dress, casual and western)
  27. LL Bean
  28. Mainstream
  29. Martin Dingman (dress, casual and fabric belts)
  30. Nocona (Western belts)
  31. Nordstroms (mens, women’s dress and casual)
  32. Orvis
  33. Oscar De la Renta
  34. Rag & Bone
  35. Raina
  36. Red Wing
  37. Remo Tulliani – (Men’s dress belts US and Italy)
  38. Robert Graham
  39. Sak’s (Made in Canada)
  40. Schnees – (Western belts)
  41. Silver Creek (Western belts)
  42. Streets Away
  43. St. John
  44. Sun Valley
  45. Tony Lama (western belts)
  46. Tori Burch (women’s belts)
  47. Trafalgar (Men’s dress belts)
  48. Trask
  49. Tulliani (Remo) also see #36
  50. W. Kleinberg (Dress belts)
  51. W.C.M.
  52. 1901

Belts Made in USA Found Via the Internet

Belts

  1. All American Buckles
  2. All American Clothing
  3. American Custom Leathers
  4. Amish Made Belts
  5. Archival Clothing (at hickorees.com)
  6. Ball and Buck (one or two belts)
  7. Beltcraft – Custom made, different colors and styles
  8. BillyKirk (men and women’s casual belts)
  9. Bullhide Belts(western belts)
  10. Bullet Blues – (western belts)
  11. Cellar Leather
  12. Custom-Leather-Belts.com
  13. Diamond Gussett (western belts)
  14. Duluth Trading
  15. Eagle USA
  16. Flint and Tinder
  17. Gaveleather.net (western belts)
  18. General Knot and Co. Made out of vintage fabrics.
  19. Justin(western belts)
  20. Just Madras
  21. Leather Man (at hickorees.com)
  22. Loggerhead Apparel
  23. MiUS
  24. Moonshine Leather Company
  25. Natural Reflections
  26. Orion Leather Company
  27. Osmium
  28. Overland
  29. Pacific Star Leather Belts
  30. Red Ant Pants
  31. Royden Leather Belts
  32. Rogue Territory
  33. Shepler (western belts)
  34. Sole Survivor
  35. Thomas Bates
  36. Torino Leather (Not all US made)
  37. Wyoming Leather (Western belts)
  38. Your Tack(western belts)

 

Lists

The lists were from Listing of American Clothing Brands – Retail and Listing of Brands Clothing Made in the USA via Internet.

01
Sep
15

Consumer Reports: Made in America? | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Post-Gazette.com – Almost eight in 10 American consumers say they would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one, according to a recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports. And more than 60 percent say they’re even willing to pay 10 percent more for it. But in our increasingly complex global economy, how much meaning does a label stating “Made in America” still hold? Some iconic American products, from the Apple iPhone to Cuisinart food processors, have little or no manufacturing presence on these shores, while many foreign makers have invested heavily in manufacturing plants in the United States. But now, because of a wave of “reshoring,” many appliance manufacturers and other companies are moving significant operations back to the U.S. Since 2010, about 300 companies have returned here,

Source: Consumer Reports: Made in America? | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

26
Aug
15

Brand New USA: The Made In America List

Brand New USA: The Made In America List.

I have just discovered another “Made in USA” listing. This one is called Brand New USA. This website is a directory displaying the products and the websites that carry the products. Naturally, they are all made in the USA. And these products can be found through the Internet only.  They are divided into ten different categories: apparel, sports, gear, house, accessories, kitchen, beauty, food and drink, kids and pets. When clicking on the categories, there is a moderate amount of items that can be seen by scrolling down. Brand New USA also has a nice Facebook page.

From their Website Under “About”

We all want to help the local economy. We know it’s good for our community and ourselves. It creates jobs, and lowers our footprint. While it is unrealistic to shift overnight, actively buying 10-20% of our purchases from local businesses represents a huge boost.

At Brand New USA, we see the biggest challenge to helping our manufacturers being the availability of information. We want to make sure you know these innovators, and the breadth of their creativity. When you see their passion and vision, we know you will want to support them.

proudly made in the USA

We have built a Directory of Local Manufacturers so that you can find high quality products made in your community, your region, your country.

We need your help as well: if you like your local manufacturers, tell us about them!

Stephan is an Engineer who became a Web Producer for Fortune 100 companies as the Internet rose exponentially. He kept is passion for the innovative ideas that come with designing and actually making products.
This project is a way to get consumers connected to the creation process and informed on the techniques, distribution and impact of how products are made.

Leslie’s passion for manufacturing stems from her belief that it provides more than good wages: it also fosters creativity and innovation while supporting economic growth. The daughter of a manufacturing worker, Leslie has devoted her career to supporting community and business development programs. She was appointed to Executive Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses (IMB), where she led the City’s effort to help businesses start, operate, and grow.

Why US Manufacturers

Support people around you
Buying goods manufactured in your city, region, or country is the best way to support the community you live in. You are helping the innovators, the workers, the office managers stay in business. They earn a living, and taxes are funneled back into local services. Buying locally helps your immediate neighborhood.

“48 cents of every dollar spent locally goes back into the community” — Civic Economics
Buying American creates jobsCompanies grow their workforce.
Buying from companies who build their products in the country keeps jobs here. Companies you buy from are able to keep and grow their workforce. Creating jobs starts with every one of us buying more goods created and produced here.

“Local businesses have generated 65% of new jobs over the past 17 years” — Small Business Administration

 

 

 

 

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Another good listing that I recently blogged about is Homerica. Homerica is a website and directory to help you find things for your home (made in the USA) whether it is building supplies, decorations, furnishings, appliances or furniture. It has a nice selection of US made appliances.

To see other listings like these, see my link: Best Made in USA Movement Websites.

21
Aug
15

Costco sued over claims shrimp is harvested with slave labor

Costco sued over claims shrimp is harvested with slave labor | The Seattle Times.

Costco Sued Over Claims Shrimp Is Harvested With Slave Labor

Costco Wholesale was sued for selling farmed shrimp from Thailand, where slave labor and human trafficking in the fishing industry are widespread, and allegedly misleading U.S. consumers about it.

A California woman filed what may be the first such lawsuit against the retailer over liability for the Thai fishing industry. She cited state laws that bar companies from making false claims about illegal conduct in their supply chain, including human rights violations.

shrimp

Costco’s purchases of Thailand’s farmed prawns, which are fed a diet of cheap fish caught at sea with unpaid, forced labor, helps prop up an industry whose practices are ignored by local authorities, according to the complaint filed Wednesday in San Francisco federal court.

“Human suffering cannot be ignored to enhance a company’s economic bottom line,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Niall McCarthy, of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, said in a statement. “California consumers are unknowingly supporting slave labor.”

Costco Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said in a statement that the Issaquah-based company has been working closely with the Thai government, the Thai fishing industry and other retailers “to address the issues that have surfaced” over the past year.

The cooperation will continue, Galanti said, and any consumers who are dissatisfied with a Costco product “can return the item for a full refund.”

Thailand is the world’s third-biggest exporter of seafood, with annual sales of about $7.3 billion, according to the complaint. The Thai fishing industry, which extends into international waters around Indonesia, employs more than 650,000 people, mostly migrants who enter Thailand looking for work or who are taken there against their will, the lawyers said.

In its annual report examining human trafficking in 188 countries, the U.S. State Department in July cited concerns about slave labor in Thailand’s fishing industry and faulted the Thai government’s record in fighting exploitation.

The plaintiff in the California case, Monica Sud, cited news reports, documentaries and reports by London-based Environmental Justice Foundation. As a purchaser of shrimp from Costco, she seeks class-action status on behalf of similar California consumers.

The rights group listed abuses at sea including torture, chaining of workers and killings of those who seek to escape illegal fishing vessels, known as ghost ships. Costco and its distributors aren’t accused of engaging in such practices.

Costco’s reputation for stocking high-quality products at bulk rates has helped it outperform Wal-Mart Stores and Target in recent years. Its comparable-store sales jumped 6 percent in its most recently reported quarter, and its profit topped analysts’ estimates.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant the U.S. distributor of the prawns, Columbia, Md.-based CP Food Products, and the company’s Thailand-based parent company, Charoen Pokphand Foods, a “global conglomerate.’”

Costco’s relationship with CP Foods contradicts its public statements about slavery in the company’s supply chain, according to the complaint.

“Costco publicly represents that it does not tolerate human trafficking and slavery in its supply chain, yet it continues to purchase the tainted farmed prawns from defendant CP Foods,” according to the complaint. “Any representation by Costco that slavery in the supply chain is not allowed is simply false.”

The situation may be a result of overfishing around Thailand, and the thin profit margins on farmed fish, the lawyers contend. Fishing companies that must go farther out to sea to catch cheap fish can no longer make a profit if they pay workers.

The lawsuit seeks to represent all California consumers of Costco shrimp products under a 2010 state law that sought to expose slavery in the supply chains of U.S. companies.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Costco from selling products tainted by slave labor and requiring it to disclose tainted products in its supply chain. It also seeks to compensate purchasers of the shrimp products.

 —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Editor’s Comment

So, Costco uses a company that uses slave labor. So does Wal-Mart, so does Nestle. That is not new. But what is new is that an individual is actually suing a large corporation for contracting with a company that is known to use slave labor. If the suit prevails it sure would send a chill through the Board of Directors at many large corporations. In the future, corporations can no longer say – oh, we aren’t responsible for the ones we do business with. (Oh,I didn’t know the jewelry fence wasn’t trustworthy). It is quite well documented that Thailand sea vessels are probably the worst (“floating labor camps”) when it comes to enslaving people to work – see:‘Sea Slaves’: The Human Misery That Feeds Pets and Livestock – The New York Times . In this Costco story, it is unreasonable to assume that Costco did not know of the reputation of CP Foods. Maybe this is the tipping point. Is it acceptable for major corporations to purposely look away just to maximize profits? That is the burning question.

In discussion groups, I find it interesting that there are so many people who don’t know that slavery still exists or those who deny its existence because of “free will”. For those of you that fall into either of the latter category, I suggest you read the synopsis: 13 Major Takeaways From the Times’ Big Story on Fishing Slavery.

References

  1. Costco, Walmart Linked to Human Trafficking and Slavery through Supplier CP Foods. From June 13, 2014
  2. 13 Major Takeaways From the Times’ Big Story on Fishing Slavery — Grub Street. Synopsis of NY Times Story
  3. ‘Sea Slaves’: The Human Misery That Feeds Pets and Livestock – The New York Times. July 27, 2015
  4. CP Foods stops frozen shrimp production in Thai plant, cuts 1,200 workers | Undercurrent News. March 27, 2014  Just a regular story about CP Foods and its employment practices.
17
Aug
15

Why it’s now cheaper to produce some goods in the South than in China

Why it’s now cheaper to produce some goods in the South than in China – The Washington Post.

Why It’s Now Cheaper To Produce Some Goods in the South Than in China

August 4, 2015 from The Washington Post

Before World War II, red-brick textile mills that processed cotton and wove it into cloth were all over the southern United States, dotting the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. But in the past 50 years, automation, free trade agreements and competition from countries like China whittled down the historic industry until it was almost gone.

Now some textile jobs are coming back, but on much different terms. As the New York Times reported Sunday, some Chinese manufacturers are setting up shop in the United States, after finding it cheaper to produce their goods in the American South than in China.

Keer Group, a Chinese yarn-maker, is investing $218 million in a factory in South Carolina. Another Chinese manufacturer, JN Fibers, is investing $45 million in the state. And Indian company called ShriVallabh Pittie is investing $70 million in a yarn-spinning plant in nearby Sylvania, Ga.

The changes are happening in other industries and locations, as well: Chinese auto glass maker Fuyao is investing in a $230 million production facility in Ohio, and Chinese acquirers are expanding manufacturing capacity at Cirrus Aviation in Minnesota and Nexteer Automotive in Michigan.

An index created by Boston Consulting shows how much the difference between the cost of manufacturing something in the United States and making the same thing in China has narrowed. In 2004, a good that could be made for a dollar in the United States could be manufactured in China for 86.5 cents. One decade later, that $1 product in the United States would cost 95.6 cents to make in China – not a whole lot of savings.

The narrowing of the gap has a little to do with what’s happening in America and more to do with what’s happening in China.

Americans are still making far more in wages than Chinese manufacturing workers. Adjusted for productivity, Chinese factory workers made $12.47 an hour last year, a little more than half of what American workers made, $22.32 an hour, according to figures from the Boston Consulting Group.

But other attributes of doing business in America make up the difference in cost. For example, state and local governments offer ample tax breaks and subsidies to companies that set up shop in their jurisdictions. America’s natural gas boom has also lowered the cost of electricity, attracting energy-intensive manufacturing industries.

Overcoming trade barriers and taking advantage of free trade agreements can also make a big difference: For example, yarn manufacturers might set up shop in the United States to take advantage of agreements with Mexico and Central America, whose factories transform the yarn into fabric and clothes that are shipped back to American consumers.

And U.S. workers are relatively educated and productive, making them especially suited to advanced manufacturing, like auto parts and consumer electronics. All in all, the United States is now one of the lowest-cost locations for manufacturing in the developed world, BCG has said.

But Thilo Hanemann, a research director at Rhodium Group who studies Chinese investment in the United States, says that the return of these manufacturing jobs is not really due to changes happening in America. “I think what’s mostly being reflected is the change of commercial realities in China,” he says.

As China’s economy has developed, wages have risen, and so have the costs of land, energy and other raw materials.

The chart below, from Boston Consulting Group, shows how the competitiveness of manufacturing in China and Russia has changed over the past 10 years. Even when adjusted for productivity, Chinese manufacturing wages have risen by 187 percent over the decade. Industrial electricity costs have grown 66 percent, while natural gas costs are up 138 percent.

In the same time frame, U.S. wages have risen only 27 percent, while natural gas costs have fallen 25 percent, according to Boston Consulting.

Boston consultingBoston Consulting Group

For products where Chinese companies need access to qualified labor or proximity to American consumers, and don’t require lots of low-cost labor, it can make a lot of sense to manufacture in the United States, Hanemann says.

The yarn-spinning operations are in this mold. That industry is heavily automated and doesn’t require a lot of labor. More labor-intensive work, like actually sewing garments, still relies on inexpensive workers in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Mexico and elsewhere. Those types of jobs won’t be coming back to the United States anytime soon.

And because the industries that are returning to the United States are heavily automated, they won’t provide anywhere near the number of jobs that manufacturing facilities did in past decades. The Economic Policy Institute, a think tank, estimates that the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China eliminated or displaced 3.2 million American jobs between 2001 and 2013, three-fourths of which were in manufacturing. And that’s not to mention the millions of manufacturing jobs that were lost to automation and offshoring in the decades before that.

Chinese investment in the United States remains small, but, as the chart below by the Rhodium Group shows, it is bringing tangible economic benefits in the form of jobs.

Manufacturing in the United States may never return to the heights it reached in the 1980s, and the industries that come back onshore today are much more automated, creating fewer jobs overall. But these more skilled manufacturing jobs will still be a boon to the U.S. economy. For one, they tend to be better paid: Manufacturers these days need more highly trained workers who know how to operate automated systems.

China’s manufacturing prowess is also unlikely to disappear anytime soon. The move out of China mainly applies to new factories, rather than existing ones. Companies have invested lots of money over the past decade to build factories in China that may have life spans of 20 or 30 years, and most will likely see those investments through. And China offers manufacturers other advantages besides just price: It’s become a manufacturing hub where suppliers and consumers of all types of goods can coexist in proximity to each other, which brings down the manufacturer’s price.

But Hanemann of Rhodium Group sees Chinese manufacturing investments in the United States as a great opportunity, not just for individual workers but also the U.S.-China economic relationship. In the past, Americans also benefited from trade ties with China, but in less visible ways – like having cheaper price tags on TVs and sweaters. In contrast, the negative consequence of trade with China – the migration of manufacturing jobs overseas – was far more tangible and immediate to people, says Hanemann.

Now, with the rise in U.S. employment at Chinese firms, the benefits of trade with China will be a little more visible.

Editor’s Comment

With the increasing costs associated with manufacturing in China, to the point that the costs are getting close to the United States, one would think that more US businesses would bring jobs back or stop offshoring more jobs to China, but that still isn’t happening. But there is a new trend, Chinese businesses are coming to the US and hiring US workers in their factories. Chinese companies such as: The Keer Group, JN Fibers, Fuyao Auto Glass, Cirrus Aviation, Nexteer Engineering, Lenovo computers are hiring American workers. The United States should start getting used to be a a supplier of low cost laborers working for the number one Economy – China.

This presents a conundrum for traditional American thinking. It used to be the US economy was number one far and away. It used to be American companies hiring American workers. Then, it became multi-national (traditionally European but also Japanese) companies hiring US workers, while, at the same time, US owned companies were offshoring American jobs to China, Vietnam, Mexico – leaving America with chronically high unemployment. Now it is China that is hiring Americans. For some, it is difficult to get over our prejudices, but for the most part we have gotten over it in the past – we buy Anheuser Busch Beer (owned by Brazilian-Belgian company,In Bev) and Toyota American-made-automobiles. But, for some, China hiring Americans is a premise that is hard for some to swallow. Maybe because China is from Asia, maybe because they are “Communists”, or maybe because they were way behind us economically and zoomed right past us like we were in neutral.

Is it better for the U.S. that Chinese companies are coming to the US and hiring US workers or Ford Motor company opening a plant in Mexico and hiring Mexican workers? The math is simple – the Chinese company. How does Ford making autos in Mexico help the US in anyway? It doesn’t. And as long as US companies continue to offshore US jobs, the United States, in response, should be enticing other countries to open their businesses here in the United States.

Last week China once again devalued its Yuan, this time by 2%, making Chinese imports once again a little cheaper. China continues to devalue the Yuan year after year, at some point, they will no longer able to do this. Of course, the United States could protest to the World Trade Organization – the final arbitrator of the Free Trade treaties, but the United States will not do this because our major industries, the ones that offshore American jobs and benefit most when the Chinese devalues their monetary units, lobby to make sure the US government stay out of this.

Some people who are novices to economics and business-thinking wonder why don’t American companies stay in the U.S.? Aren’t they loyal to the U.S? The answer is from Business 101, capitalism is loyal only to profits rarely if ever to country. If more profits can be made by employing children in Bangladesh, then so be it. So, the question remains “why do we make it easier for companies to offshore US jobs?”  Good question, ask your Congressman.

Thanks to the Alliance of American manufacturing for highlighting this article.

 

12
Aug
15

How to Find the Right Running Shoes without the help of a salesman

New Balance Made in USA This article is aimed at helping you find the right running shoes. First, we will look at the characteristics of the perfect running shoe. Second, to find the right type of shoe, we will need to determine how your feet rotate after it strikes the ground – does it pronate or supinate. And then, determine what type of arch your foot has. Finally, we will see how shoe manufacturers try to compensate for all of these different types of feet. But, when it comes to running shoes made in the USA, there is only one choice – New Balance.

New Balance 990

New Balance 990 Made in USA

The Characteristics of The Perfect Running Shoe

When we think of the perfect running shoe, we imagine a light-as-air-shoe that you barely know you are wearing that makes you run faster and without injury. The problem is that this is an impossible dream. The lightest shoes have the least amount of cushioning and the least amount of stability. So, everything is a sort of compromise. The most important factor is attaining a running shoe is a comfortable and correctly-fitted shoe that is cushioned and well-balanced. Don’t go strictly by the size. Always try on the shoes, tie them and run around before buying a pair. Sizes may very between brands and sometimes within the same brand. Tip: it is best to try on shoes later in the day or after a run (feet do swell from a minimal amount to a moderate amount throughout the day, the least amount of swelling is right after waking up – which is the worst time to try on shoes). Don’t pick shoes that are too small. There should be enough room for a thumbnail at the toe end of the shoe. Shoelaces should be tied snugly but not too tight. And, pick a type of shoe based on your own feet to decrease injury – see below.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Which direction do your feet Go? In describing the way the feet rotate, first we need to define a couple of terms: pronate and supinate. To easily visualize this, let us use your arms (instead of your feet): Sit in front of a table with elbows on the table and thumbs pointing straight at the ceiling – this is the neutral position. Rotate your arms so that you end up with your palms down on the table – this is pronation. If you rotate your arms so that the backs of the hands are on the table – that is supination. Now, when we talk about the feet and ankles, all feet will pronate, the issue is how much. In running, 95% of people land on the heel (the outside half of the heel) and then there is a rotation (or pronation) onto the rest of the foot of about 15 degrees.

Overpronation

Overpronation

The 15 degree pronation is called “neutral pronation” or just “neutral”. When the foot rotates inwards more than 15 degrees, this is called overpronation or sometimes just “pronation”.

Overpronation

Overpronation

If the foot rotates inwards less than 15 degrees, it is called underpronation or sometimes “supination”. An underpronator will land on the outside of the heel and will transfer the weight to the front of the foot mostly on the outside of the foot. prone supinate Runner’s World article on Pronation and video of underpronator on treadmill.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————– Feet – Type of Arch (from Runner’s World) A second method in choosing a shoe is determining the arch of the foot. What type of arch do you have? One way is to just look at your foot. A more accurate method is to examine your footprint by either running in the sand or on paper with wet feet. (Not everybody agrees that the arch of the foot tells you whether you overpronate or underpronate or are neutral).

The Arch of the Foot

The Arch of the Foot

There are three different types of feet (having to do with the arches):

Flat Feet

If you’re looking at your foot, you’ll know you have flat feet if you don’t see any arch. The bottom of your foot, from your toes to your heel, is completely flat. If you do the footprint test, your print will look like a foot-shaped blob. You won’t see an inward curve from your big toe to your heel. Problem? If you’re flat-footed, you’re most likely an overpronator, which means that your feet roll inward when you run. What to Buy: “Stability” or “Motion Control” shoes.

Arch imprints on the floor

Arch imprints on the floor

High-arched Feet

You should be able to easily determine if you have high arches — you’ll notice a high and definite arch on your foot.

If you do the footprint test, your print will curve inward, making the middle part of your foot look very skinny. When you push your hand against the bottom of your foot, your arch will stay rigid.

Problem? If you have high arches, you probably supinate or underpronate, which means your feet roll outwards as you run. It’s very important that runners with high arches periodically re-measure their feet because running will cause their arches to gradually fall, making their feet longer. What to Buy: “Cushioned” type shoes.

Neutral or Normal Feet

If you’ve examined your foot or your footprint and it doesn’t look flat-footed or high-arched, you most likely have a neutral or normal foot. Your footprint will have a noticeable curve inward, but not by more than 3/4 of an inch. Problem? As long as you pick a running shoe that doesn’t counteract your foot type, you shouldn’t encounter any problems. This is the most common type of foot, and it’s also the least susceptible to injury provided it’s outfitted with proper footwear. What to Buy: Just about any well made running shoe. Avoid “motion control” or a strong “stability” shoes.

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How Do You Know Whether You Overpronate, Underpronate or are Neutral?

The simplest way to see which way you run (overpronate, underpronate or are neutral) is to look at your own old running shoes and look at the wear pattern: Everybody will have increased wear on the outer heel first (95%) but it is the forefoot which will tell you which way you pronate. If there is increased wear on the inside of the forefoot of the shoe, then you are an overpronator; if there is increased wear on the outside of the forefoot, then you are an underpronator; if the wear is in the middle then you are neutral. See the diagram below:

Wear Patterns

Wear Patterns

If this is method is unavailable, the the very best way of determining pronation is going to a store that specializes in running shoes and have the salesperson evaluate your running motion or, better yet, video tape you running on a treadmill.

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Types of Shoes

There are three types of shoes: Cushioned, Motion Control and Stability.

Cushioned Shoes

The simplest to explain is the “Cushioning” shoes. Cushioning is actually a “neutral” shoe, it is does not attempt to move the feet in any unnatural way. They are usually the most flexible and the most cushioned. Cushioning is on three levels: first, the treads – often a soft type rubber, like blown rubber: second, the insert is a cushion – usually the more expensive the shoe, the better the cushion: and third, the sole – the sole has cushioning, and usually the more expensive the shoe the more cushioned the sole.

Best Bets for Cushioned Shoes

Cushioned shoes are best for neutral runners, people with high arches and especially underpronators (because the other two types: motion control and stability shoes tend to cause the foot to underpronate which would exacerbate the underpronators’ problem.)

Motion Control Shoes

Motion Control shoes are made specifically for overpronators. On the arch side of the Motion Control Shoes has more support – either denser rubber or other materials (which do not compress as easily and therefore gives more support) and/or roll bars to eliminate excessive roll towards the inside of the foot. The motion control shoes are usually the stiffest, and some are well cushioned. (If there is no salesperson around and you see a different colored and harder rubber on the arch, then you know you are dealing with a motion controlled shoe. Shoe manufacturers do not ever put dual density (denser) rubber only on the outside of the shoe – if it happens, it is going around the whole heel and arch as well.)

New Balance motion control shoes has a different colored Dual Density rubber on the arch side of the shoe

New Balance motion control shoes have a different colored Dual Density rubber on the arch side of the shoe

Best Bets For Motion Control Shoes

Motion Control shoes are best for overpronators and people with flat feet. Mild pronators may be okay. Underpronators – stay away.

Stability Shoes

Stability Shoes are a kind of hybrid between the motion control and the cushioned shoes. Stability shoes have some arch support which prevents overpronation when one is tired.  Often there is mid-foot support with a good amount of cushioning. These are the best sellers as they are good for mild pronators, normal arch, neutral runners and flat feet – which constitute most runners. Overpronators can also benefit from some stability control.

Types of Running Shoes Based on Where You Run

If you are not a serious runner, you may be awed by the all of the different types of shoes for running. The most common type of running shoes are called Trainers or road shoes. They have the most cushioning, they are more durable and the treads are made for hard surfaces.

Trail shoes are similar to trainers except the treads are different, made specially for softer surfaces and trails.

Cross Trainers are a shoe designed for both running and aerobics. For the serious runner, these types of shoes usually are not adequate.

Race shoes are ultra light weight shoes with just a little bit of cushion, if any. The bottoms differ based on the surface to be raced on – road, track or trail (spikes).

New Balance Shoes

New Balance has been making shoes for 75 years. Whereas all other athletic she manufacturers have abandoned the United States for the cheaper shores of China and Vietnam, New Balance still makes some athletic shoes in the USA, they are the only athletic shoe manufacturer in the USA presently. What is great about the New Balance shoes, besides being of incredible quality, is that they proudly display that they are made in the USA. On the outside of the American made shoes, there is a stamp of the American Flag on the box, and on the shoes, stamped “Made in the USA” is on the tongue or on the back of the shoes.

New Balance 998 Made in USA

New Balance 998 Made in USA

New Balance also allows you to design your own shoes. Choose your own colors or designs on certain models, check out their website: New Balance customize your own shoes.

Other References

Runner’s World Tips and Videos Runners Advisor

Huffington Post It’s All About The Roll

Is It Harmful to Heel Strike While Running? Myths of Forefoot striking

How to choose running shoes – REI

06
Aug
15

Trump promises to bring back offshored jobs – Can it even be done?

Economists club Trump over promises to bring back offshored jobs – Chronicle-Telegram. August 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump vows to bring back the millions of American jobs lost to China and other foreign competitors if voters put him in the White House.

Economists say he wouldn’t stand a chance: Trump’s boundless self-confidence is no match for the global economic forces that took those jobs away.

Since the beginning of 2000, the U.S. economy has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs. A study published last year by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that between 2 million and 2.4 million jobs were lost to competition from China from 1999 to 2011.

Announcing his presidential bid June 16, Trump declared: “I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs, and I’ll bring back our money.”

Economists were unimpressed. “It’s completely implausible,” says former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder, a Princeton University economist who has studied the offshoring of American jobs.

Companies shifted low-skill jobs to China in the 2000s because American workers couldn’t compete with Chinese workers earning around $1 an hour. Now China itself is losing low-wage manufacturing jobs to poorer countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.

If America tried to block foreign-made products and make everything at home, prices would skyrocket and foreign countries would likely retaliate by blocking U.S. goods from their countries. “You can’t turn back the clock,” Blinder says.

But there’s an even bigger problem for those who want to restore U.S. manufacturing employment (now 12.3 million) to its 1979 peak of 19.6 million: Technology has taken many of those jobs for good. Today’s high-tech factories employ a fraction of the workers they used to. General Motors, for example, employed 600,000 in the 1970s. It has 216,000 now — and sells more cars than ever.

“No matter who becomes president,” says economist David Autor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “I cannot foresee a scenario where 5 million additional manufacturing jobs … reappear in the U.S. in the decades ahead.”

That’s especially true with U.S. unemployment at a seven-year low 5.3 percent, a rate close to what economists consider full employment.

“If you took all the jobs we outsourced and brought them back, you’d have negative unemployment,” says Harold Sirkin, senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group and an expert on manufacturing competitiveness worldwide. “We’d have to bring in people from other countries to do the work.”

Trump, author of “The Art of the Deal,” says he could have protected American jobs by negotiating smarter trade agreements with U.S. competitors. “When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal?” Trump said in June. “They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.”

But economists say trade deals — for all the political heat they generate — play only a modest role in job creation. “Better trade deals are unlikely to be a panacea,” says Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University.

Prasad says U.S. policymakers should focus more on investing in things that will improve America’s competitiveness over the long haul — schools, roads and airports, for example. And Blinder says the U.S. should do more to retrain American workers who lose their jobs to foreign competition.

Companies often decide where to locate factories and hire people on factors that can change: labor costs, energy bills, transportation expenses, proximity to customers.

Currently, several of those factors favor the United States over China. The fracking boom has cut energy costs for U.S.-based factories. Chinese wages have soared, while American wages have been flat. In parts of America, land is cheaper than in China.

So some American companies already are bringing jobs back, and some Chinese companies are investing in plants in America. Last year, for example, Chinese glassmaker Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co. announced plans to take over an abandoned GM plant in Moraine, Ohio, near Dayton, and create 800 jobs.

The Reshoring Initiative, which encourages companies to bring operations back to America, says the number of manufacturing jobs created in the United States by returning American companies and foreign investors exceeded those lost to offshoring last year by 10,000 — modest, to be sure, but a big change from the massive job outflows of the 1990s and 2000s.

Trump declared: “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created. I tell you that.”

But Daniel Rosen, partner at the New York economic research firm Rhodium Group, says: “Global direct investment — including from China, Mexico and Japan — is already flowing into the United States, not due to God’s political leanings but because the U.S. economy is open both to those who would invest here and those who would decide to move abroad.”

Conclusion

It is not surprising that economists, who are nearly 100% Free Trade advocates, see any way to bring back American jobs as implausible. But the US can reverse these trends since 2000, if it really thought it was important. The question remains who will be employing U.S. workers: the USA or China? On the road that we are travelling, Chinese corporations will be one of the USA’s biggest employers.




September 2015
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