Is sneaker production making a return run to the US?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Reebok is announcing plans to open a new high-tech manufacturing laboratory in Rhode Island to make sneakers by pouring liquid plastic.

Reebok Head of Future Bill McInnis said Monday that the new facility bucks the practice of most shoe-molding and production work happening in Asia.

Germany’s Adidas, which owns Massachusetts-based Reebok, is also opening its first U.S. factory in Georgia next year as part of a trend of saving costs by bringing goods closer to the people buying them.

McInnis says an industrial robot at the Burrillville, Rhode Island, facility will draw ribbons of liquid that harden into an outsole. It’s a partnership with footwear plastics company The AF Group, Inc., which is headquartered in nearby Lincoln.

Equipment is being installed so that work can begin early next year.

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