Quabaug, the American company that makes soles for Vibram, has announced a joint investment of $1.2 million with Vibram in product research and development. The goal is to develop new types of soles in response to a new directive from the U.S. Department of Defense that requires all new military recruits to wear U.S.-made athletic footwear for training purposes. The same ruling previously applied only to military boots. Mike Gionfriddo, president and chief executive of Vibram USA, said that this should provide an opportunity for his company to supply soles made by Quabaug for American brands of running shoes such as New Balance and Saucony. The announcement was made at an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Quabaug's production of Vibram soles. The licensing agreement between Vibram and Quabaug was modified three years ago with Vibram taking over product development, sales and marketing for the soles made by the company in the U.S. Meanwhile, Wolverine Worldwide has praised the new policy of the U.S. Defense Department, noting that the group is well advanced in a process to make state-of-the-art Saucony, Merrell and Bates athletic shoes at its manufacturing plant in Michigan.