Big Rapids boot factory scores military contract

Posted at 10:26 PM, Mar 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 22:26:40-04

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. -- Future boots on the ground will be made right here in West Michigan.

Bates Footwear, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, in Big Rapids signed a five-year contract with the U.S. government to provide the Marine Corps with their line of temperate weather boots. They're expected to manufacture more than 300,000 boots for the military.

Vice president and general manager of Bates Footwear, Andrew Fowler, says it's an honor for he and his employees to provide footwear for the military.

“Whenever I see military personnel out in public or on TV, it’s great to know that many of them are wearing our products," Fowler said.

In addition, this contract is expected create 50 new jobs in Big Rapids, adding to the 600 people already employed at the factory.

Bates Footwear also provides boots for police officers, as well as dress shoes for almost all branches of the military.