Footwear brand wins $30M contract


Temperate weather boots by Bates, a brand of Wolverine Worldwide. Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

A footwear brand has been awarded a $30.5-million contract to make boots for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bates Footwear, a brand of Rockford-based Wolverine Worldwide, announced it has been awarded a new five-year federal government contract to make Temperate Weather Boots for the Marines, or USMC.

The boots will be made in Big Rapids.

Although the Temperate Weather Boot will be a new production line for Bates Footwear in 2016, Bates said the boot itself is not unfamiliar to the USMC, as Bates produced a similar Temperate Weather Boot from to 2007 to 2014.

The boots will be constructed with 100 percent American-made materials, and each boot will be constructed with Vibram Sierra soles to provide “superior grip” with “increased longevity.”

Andrew Fowler, VP and general manager at Bates Footwear, said the brand is “proud” to provide the USMC with the Temperate Weather Boot.

“Bates remains committed to upholding the values of the United States Department of Defense and the Marine Corps,” Fowler said.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) commended the announcement, saying it will “support jobs” in Big Rapids and further diversify Michigan’s manufacturing industry.

U.S. Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI) congratulated “all the hardworking men and women” at Bates on winning the contract.

“This is wonderful news for Big Rapids and for manufacturing in Michigan,” Moolenaar said. 

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