XtraTuf is a brand of neoprene boots manufactured by Honeywell International, Inc. They are common throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest in general, especially in coastal areas and among fishermen.
BF Goodrich first commissioned Norcross Safety Products to manufacture the Xtratuf in a factory in Rock Island, Illinois in the 1950s. The boot was originally designed for commercial fisherman. The chevron outsole is slip-resistant on boat decks, and the neoprene lining keeps fish oils from penetrating through the rubber. Norcross bought the brand from Goodrich in 1985. In May 2008, Honeywell Safety Products acquired Norcross and the brand. The "Made in USA" on the boots was significant: Norcross was the last remaining rubber footwear manufacturer in North America.
In 2011, Xtratuf introduced a line of casual footwear in both men's and women's sizes: the Sharkbyte, a leather slip-on; the Chumrunner, a leather sneaker; and the Finatic, a classic-style leather boat shoe.
At the end of 2011, Honeywell—the corporate conglomerate who purchased the Xtratuf brand in 2008—closed its plant in Rock Island, Illinois where Xtratufs had been made since the 1970s, and moved production to an existing Honeywell facility in China. Reportedly, 250 to 300 people lost their jobs, as David Pauley, mayor of Rock Island, told Alaska’s KCAW radio station in 2010. As a result of the move, many have complained quality has fallen dramatically. The company responded to initial concerns in quality by offering to replace defective pairs of boots, and by stating that quality issues in initial production runs have been addressed. In response to public outcry, Alaska Senator Mark Begich even wrote a letter to Honeywell Safety Products asking they bring manufacture of its storied boot back to the U.S. A Honeywell spokesman remarked at the time production moved to China to keep the company competitive in the global marketplace. In late 2013, the company engaged in a public relations campaign to reassure consumers that product quality production issues have been addressed. Production of all lines remains overseas, with no plans announced as of 2013 to return manufacturing to the United States.
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