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Police Footwear Press Release

October 31, 2007

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Bates® Footwear to Develop and Manufacture Tora Bora™ Alpine Combat Boot for the U.S. Special Operations Command


ROCKFORD, MI—Bates® Footwear, a division of Wolverine World Wide Inc., announced today that it will complete development and manufacture 10,000 pairs of Tora Bora™ Alpine Combat Boots under a new $2.2 million government contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command.  Through initial development with the Special Operations Command, this new technical boot has been specifically engineered for soldiers operating in mountain warfare conditions. Bates will manufacture the Tora Bora Alpine Combat Boot with 100% U.S.-sourced materials at U.S.-based ISO 9001:2000 compliant manufacturing facilities in Rockford, Michigan; Big Rapids, Michigan; and Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Wolverine World Wide Chief Executive Officer Blake W. Krueger said, “We are honored to be a source of technical innovation for the Special Forces and strive to design the best possible footwear solutions that meet the specific needs of the U.S. military. In doing so, we are pleased to continue to develop domestically manufactured footwear that employs cutting edge technologies cultivated through the creative synergy between the Bates® and Merrell® divisions.”

Since 2004, Bates Footwear has worked closely with the Special Operations Forces to understand the performance characteristics required for their tactical footwear.  The Tora Bora Alpine Combat Boot incorporates proprietary design and manufacturing technologies from both the Bates and Merrell divisions of Wolverine World Wide to provide soldiers with the only domestically manufactured technical footwear suited for advanced mountaineering and high altitude combat operations. 

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The Tora Bora Alpine Combat Boot integrates new technologies developed to meet the needs of the U.S. military with commercially available design and construction innovations that have been tested and adopted by extreme mountaineers.  This new combat boot will provide soldiers enhanced durability, stability and traction to navigate across varied terrain including deep snow pack; arid desert sand; steep, muddy slopes; and sheer rock face.  The technical boot design offers total performance in a broad range of temperatures and optimum compatibility with tools commonly used by the Special Operations Forces in specialized ski warfare, ice climbing, and snowshoeing expeditions. 

Bates remains focused on providing soldiers with advanced footwear and is committed to keeping its domestic operations in Michigan and Arkansas technologically competitive. Bates will be equipping its factories with advanced equipment to enable the construction of this state-of-the-art boot and conduct training for the employees on new manufacturing techniques.  These resources will equip the employees with highly specialized manufacturing skills to build the complex footwear – a vital tool for the men and women who are serving in uniform.

Recognizing the military’s need for domestically manufactured, high-performance technical footwear, Bates® Footwear has received strong Congressional support from Members of Congress, particularly Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), Rep. Dave Camp (R-4th/MI) and Rep. Marion Berry (D-01/AR).

 “From their body armor to their boots, our men and women in uniform should have cutting-edge equipment at their disposal,” Senator Pryor said. “I applaud Bates for developing innovative footwear that better meets the needs of our soldiers, and I appreciate the hard work of their employees in Jonesboro and elsewhere.”

“We have a responsibility to give the brave men and women in uniform who defend our country the best equipment available,” said Congressman Berry.  “By providing the soldiers with this valuable tool, Bates is also developing a highly-trained and specialized workforce in Jonesboro, which will benefit the community.  I’m proud Arkansas will play a role in improving the equipment for our Special Operations Forces and commend the work Bates is doing to aid our troops in their mission and keep them safe from harm.” 

Congressman Dave Camp said, “I am pleased that Bates workers continue to innovate and produce the most cutting-edge footwear available to suit the specialized needs of our Special Operations Forces. It is important news that our troops will continue to have the best products available as they serve our country.”

Bates® is part of the Wolverine Footwear Group, a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. manufacturers and marketers of branded and licensed footwear and performance leathers. Bates is a leading supplier of uniform footwear to all branches of the U.S. Military and has been building a reputation for uncompromising performance in uniform footwear for more than 120 years.. For more information and to view the product lines please visit www.batesfootwear.com.

With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world's leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates®, Hush Puppies®, HYTEST®, Merrell®, Sebago® and Wolverine®. The Company is also the exclusive footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT®, Harley-Davidson® and Patagonia®. The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and are distributed internationally in nearly 180 countries. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com.