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Are Nike trainers Vegan? - A brief history of where the brand stand

Many brands claim to be vegan friendly, but where do one of the world's biggest names actually stand?

Are Nike trainers Vegan? - A brief history of where the brand stand

The trainer industry is one that the surging wave of veganism has unfortunately not yet encapsulated, which means that people opting to go vegan are left with a tough choice when choosing their style. However, some strides are being made to contribute to an animal product-free industry, including those by Nike.

When Sean Wotherspoon (an outspoken vegan activist) partnered with Nike for one of the most sought after trainer releases of the 21st century, the SW 97/1's, many rightly questioned how ethical the production of the shoes would be. The base materials of the shoe were clearly not made using animal products, although Nike had been known the past to use glue featuring collagens extracted from horse hooves and as such Vegan followers of Wotherspoon became rightly concerned.

nike trainers
Image from Nike.

Wotherspoon then however revealed that Nike no longer use horse hooves in any of their glues, saying that all glues were created using synthetic materials. This was brilliant news for trainer enthusiasts and meant that the majority of newly created Nike shoes were actually in fact vegan. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that all of them are.

Nike still uses real animal leather in the production of it's leather shoes, so if you see the universal 'genuine leather' sign on a pair of Nike trainers, then they are clearly not vegan. It is also advisable that you look out for this sign on suede shoes, as suede is also a type of leather.

However if you do not see this symbol, then you can go ahead and assume they are indeed vegan friendly.

This means you are free to wear Air Max 270s, cotton-based Air Max 1s and basically any version of an 'Ultra' shoe. It also means that generally you should steer clear of Air Max 97s and Air Force 1s, for the time being.

N.B Asics, as well as its subsidiary Onitsuka Tiger, and Vans are two other companies that also employ the use of animal product-free glues, meaning all of their synthetic shoes are vegan too! Furthermore, Saucony and Superga offer an extensive range of Vegan friendly footwear as well.


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Manchester City season ticket holder and FC Schalke armchair. Wannabe trainer collector and travelling enthusiast.