Making tri gear in the U.S. helps these companies innovate and improve quality.

Making tri gear in the U.S. helps these companies innovate and improve quality.

This article was originally published in the Sep./Oct. 2013 issue of Inside Triathlon magazine.

Building products in the U.S. isn’t just about patriotism. Situating the engineers charged with designing and refining a product in close proximity to the place where their ideas come to life can result in higher-quality gear. Here’s how two triathlon companies are making better equipment by manufacturing in America.

New Balance

Made in America: One of every four New Balance shoes sold in the U.S. is made in one of the company’s five domestic factories.

How and how many: 1,300 workers in facilities across New England build New Balance’s shoes using materials from America and overseas.

Why in the U.S.: In addition to “taking pride” in making the only athletic shoes manufactured in the U.S., keeping manufacturing close to the people who actually use the shoes has several advantages for the large shoemaker. It helps New Balance work more closely with the suppliers it relies on, and allows the company to get the right shoes to the right retail stores so popular models are more likely to be available.

RELATED – Sneak Peek: 2014 Running Shoes


Made in America: Zipp’s carbon clincher rims, tubular rims and discs are made in its Indianapolis factory.

How and how many: “Tens of thousands of wheels per year” are produced in Zipp’s facility that combines both office and factory. A single Super9 Carbon Clincher disc takes 38 hours of hand labor to complete.

Why in the U.S.: For Zipp, it’s all about interaction between the wheel design engineers and manufacturing. “Keeping everything under one roof has allowed us to test, revise and ultimately control the entire process of making a wheel very closely,” says technical PR manager Dave Ripley. That equates to a more refined wheel.

RELATED – Fast Company: The Zipp Story

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