Maker of bunion-friendly shoes faces challenges

A New Balance factory in Maine faces challenges in light of impending free-trade agreement with Vietnam. 

Maker of bunion-friendly shoes faces challenges New Balance offers a variety of sneaker models designed especially for individuals with the bony deformity known as a bunion, according to They feature plenty of toe space with mesh on the inner area to provide room for bunions, and many of the styles are made here in the U.S. - but perhaps not for long. 

The Washington Post has reported that a possible free-trade agreement with Vietnam may force the shoemaker to move its Maine factory operation overseas due to potential cost savings.

"We are deeply concerned by the inclusion of Vietnam in a potential free-trade agreement," said New Balance CEO Rob DeMartini, quoted by the news source.

The company is seeking a rare exemption to maintain a tariff on American-made New Balance shoes, with the help of some legislators in New England.

The article reports that about 25 percent of New Balance's shoes are made at its Maine plant. The factory reportedly employs about 1,000 people.

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