Running shoes

Many Mainers know that New Balance makes athletic shoes in Maine. It is one of the last big companies making sneakers in the USA.

When I need a new pair, I make a stop into the factory store in Skowhegan to see what they have. There is a factory store in Oxford, ME too.

What many people do not realize is that not all of their sneakers are made in the USA, only some. You have to look at each pair and see. I have seen friends who are very disappointed when the look under the tongue of the shoe only to discover their New Balances were made overseas.

Be sure to look to see if they are made in the USA before you buy, and then lace up and hit the road!
http://www.newbalance.com

You can buy New Balance footwear in lots of stores, including Lamey Wellehan stores across Maine, a terrific local business.

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STABILicers

Here’s a timely Maine made item! It’s no surprise some of the best winter gear is made in Maine or in Canada.

My driveway is pure glass right now– so I have to put on my STABILicers over my boots when I head to get a load of wood from the shed. We sure have had an icy winter.

Stabilicers are made in Biddeford, Maine and they are like ice picks on your feet. I consider it a winter essential.  https://www.stabilgear.com/shop/outdoor-recreation/stabilicers-lite/

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I lost one in the woods a couple winters ago, so when I got my second pair I opted for the blaze orange color so that if I lose one I will be able to find it.  I have the “lite” pair, but they make more extreme sets as well.

I got mine at the hardware store up the street, I think. They sell them all over the place, even at shoe stores. I have not tried other comparable brands like Yak Trax, but these are made in Maine and they make a huge difference in walking on the ice. Good for winter hiking too.

Yoga Mat

Well here’s post where I feel like a cliche hippie-ish woman. Yoga mats!

I got my previous yoga mat on the side of the road in Orono, when a guy I knew was getting rid of all his stuff as he moved away after graduation.   By last winter it was shedding pieces of blue on the studio floor and I think my instructor was probably getting annoyed at having to clean up after I attended class.

I went on the quest for a USA made yoga mat, and this is the only one I found.

http://www.jadeyoga.com/store/yoga-mats-execise-mats-pilates-mats/

Jade yoga mats are made in the US and made from natural rubber. I got the Harmony mat, 3/16 in. I actually ended up buying it in person at Whole Foods in Portland rather than ordering it online, because they sell them right there.

I recommend it. So far it has held up well- it was a Christmas gift from my mom last year and I use it about once a week. It’s a little worn already where my feet are usually stepping during practice. The colors are nice and the surface feels good under my feet.

It was slippery at first– if you get one, you may slide in your downward facing dog for the first few practices. Luckily after a few practices it was broken in enough and no longer has that problem.

Basic tops for women

On my Christmas visit to my brother in Oakland, California I passed a store in his neighborhood called “Cotton Basics.”  True to it’s name they sell simple cotton tops, skirts, and dresses, that are all made right there in Oakland.

You can buy their clothes online.  http://www.shopcottonbasics.com/

I picked up two shirts there and I really like them. They are nicely cut, pretty affordable, and come in nice colors.  I am wearing one today, it looks like this:

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Hiking Boots

My old LL Bean hiking boots had been purchased in 2002, so I guess it was okay that they were toast. I got a good decade out of them and they went many places with me.

Imagine my excitement to discover union made, made in the USA hiking boots! The company is called Danner and the workers are organized with UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) Local 555.

Check them out: http://www.danner.com/

Super comfortable, very supportive, and very waterproof. Love ’em. I bought these about a year ago and they have been all over Maine with me already.

Danner boots

Snowshoes

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My old snowshoes broke last winter and I can’t imagine winter in Maine without a pair. After doing some research online I drove up to Bingham today to try out a pair of Maine Guide Snowshoes.

They are made by Bob right there behind Pine Lodge on Pleasant Ridge just outside of Bingham. The sales also support the program there to get disabled veterans out fishing and hunting, so it’s a great pair of shoes and a great cause.

They have lots of styles, all the traditional wooden frames with modern material lacing and bindings.

I love them so far. You can get studs put on the bottom to help in icy conditions.

Here is my new pair of “modified bear paw” snowshoes after my first hike around Hallowell in them.

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Introduction

First post! My name is Sarah and I live in Maine. Sweatshops make me sick. I spend a lot of time researching when I buy something. I try to support fair trade, union made, made in the USA, and local businesses as much as I can. It is not easy, but with some effort it can be done. Certainly not everything I buy is ethically made, but I am trying.

From cars to coffee to underwear, I want to know where it was made and what the working conditions are there.

I want to make it easier for others to buy ethically and sustainably made goods, so I figure I will share my research. Thus, this blog is born! My friend Ben Chin named it Bigney’s List.

Here I will share with anyone who is interested the Made in the USA, fair trade, union made, or Maine made goods I find.

Have suggestions? Please send them to me at sarah.bigney@gmail.com.

Please note: I have not personally visited the factories or spoken with the workers who make these goods. (Unless otherwise noted.) I am going on whatever information I can find. If you have reason to believe the products I mention are made under unethical working conditions, please let me know! It is always hard to be sure and sometimes there is limited information to go on.