Vegan football boots | How to stay cruelty-free
If you're after a pair of vegan football boots, you've never had more options...
Veganism is no longer niche. Throughout the last five-ten years, we have started to see more and more people trading in their meat-eating, dairy-consuming diets for a way of living that places more emphasis on benefiting the environment and preventing animal cruelty. With several hard-hitting documentaries released on both Netflix and Amazon Prime in recent years, the public have become more inclined to change their outlook on things and as such we are seeing a growing number of people becoming vegan.
Football is one of many industries that is starting to show a drastic change, too. There is a common myth that athletes must eat meat and vast amounts of carbohydrates to ensure they maintain their strength and fitness levels, but that is in fact all it is - a myth. Studies have shown that sports stars who have opted for a vegan diet are actually now reaching optimum levels of performance, feeling more energised throughout the day and sleeping much better during the night.
Famous vegan footballers
Chris Smalling is one of the most well-known footballers to have gone fully vegan, following in the footsteps of his wife by going meat and dairy free. The Manchester United defender, currently on loan with Roma, is enjoying a fantastic season in Italy at the moment which is proof that his new-found dietary requirements are in no way hindering his performances on the pitch.
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin is another well-known advocate of veganism. The Gunners full-back, who suffered a long-term knee injury last season - ruling him out for the majority of the campaign - cites the fact that his body recovers much quicker than it has done before due to his new diet. Bellerin has now returned to action for Arsenal and is hoping that his new-found way of life will steer him clear of further issues with injury.
Former Norwich defender and Scotland international Russell Martin became a vegan to prevent a recurring health problem from flaring up.
"It started because of a health problem I have which can sometimes flare up,” Martin said, speaking back in 2016.
“I had stopped taking my medication for it and turned to alternative Chinese therapy. And now along with not eating any animal products I have not had any flare ups since.”
Jermain Defoe, Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph are three more players who have praised a vegan diet in the past, with each hailing its ability to improve their performances on the pitch and assist in speedier recovery times following matches.
Vegan football clubs
In 2017 Forest Green Rovers, of League Two, became the first football club to go fully vegan. The Gloucestershire outfit do not sell any meat or animal produce in their stadium - offering oat milk to fans as opposed to regular cows milk - with each of their players adopting a plant-based diet to enhance their performances.
Considered a carbon-neutral club, Forest Green use solar-panelled robots to cut their organic pitch and wear a kit made from 50% bamboo material. In December, the club had plans approved to construct a brand new stadium made entirely of wood.
The aptly-named Eco Park will boast a 5,000-capacity and significantly reduce the club’s already-low carbon emissions. When it is completed, Forest Green Rovers claim that it will be the ‘greenest football stadium in the world’.
Vegan football boots
Football boots are one of the biggest things currently changing as well. With more and more focus on veganism in sport as a whole - specifically football, in this case - manufacturers are starting to produce equipment which falls in line with a vegan diet and way of life.
This shift has brought with it a number of challenges. Football boots have traditionally been made with leather - whether it be fully or just on the trim - and boots have not been vegan-friendly over the years.
Kangaroo leather is the most popular type of leather which football boots are made from. The trend started back in the early-noughties with David Beckham’s adidas Predators prior to the 2002 World Cup in Japan (you know the ones), and despite a raft of technological advancements the popularity of leather boots remains high. The world-famous adidas Copa Mundial is made from Kangaroo leather, too, as it is widely known to be a comfortable material with more flexibility than other types of leather.
Despite this, a growing number of football boots are being made from vegan-friendly synthetic materials. Synthetic boots have always been popular with younger football players, thanks to their affordability and typically larger range of colours, but it is now common to see options available for all sizes from all brands. Popular silos such as the Nike Phantom Vision or adidas Predator are available in synthetic versions, and you’ll find that cheap boots and lower tier versions of popular models in particular make good use of materials other than leather.
If in doubt, check the product of page of each boot (ideally directly from the manufacturer, or an approved retailer like the many on FOOTY) and pour over any information regarding materials. As mentioned before, you’ll sometimes find small amounts of leather across the details of a boot, so be sure to look not just at the predominant material a boot is made of but also the rest of its construction.
Football is evolving at a rapidly accelerating rate, and with a vegan way of life becoming more and more prevalent in modern day society, more clubs and players will likely start to follow in the footsteps of Forest Green Rovers, Hector Bellerin and Chris Smalling. Us, as the public, can also contribute towards this by buying vegan football boots and avoiding products made from leather.