The “v” in New Balance 990v5 now stands for vegan. While the upcoming 990v6 sneaker is still on the minds of many, its 990v5 predecessor will arrive on the European front later this month with a twist. As New Balance continues its efforts to find new ways to boost the 990 series, the latest 990v5 shoe is getting a fully-vegan construction.
No thanks, I’m vegan — The sneaker is comprised of a gray color scheme that seems to dress New Balance’s best releases, like the Salehe Bembury 574 and the “Version Series” 990. On the uppers, mesh is found underneath the vegan suede overlays to add some breathability. Cushioning and tread on the soles makes this a shoe that can withstand everyday use, an element familiar to New Balance’s king-of-dad-shoes reputation.
Additional detailing comes in the form of a green “V” logo on the heel, a nod to its sustainable composition and the roman numeral for five. The splash of green is also a tribute to the pair’s “green” ethics and a familiar American flag on the tongue is still front and center.
Talk the talk and walk the walk — Announcing a vegan sneaker seems like an attempt to draw attention away from all the Made in the U.S.A. legal attention, but for a good cause. Though New Balance typically uses materials like pig skin suede and leather in its releases, swapping animal material for rubber, plastic, and vegan alternatives is a step in the right direction.
As consumers push companies to take on more sustainable practices, vegan makeups are still an untapped sector of the footwear market. Adidas and Nike are on track with their eco-friendly initiatives, but leather and suede remain major components in sneaker construction.
As of now, the vegan New Balance 990v5 will arrive in select shops in Europe starting January 21 with a price of $297. Hopefully, New Balance’s innovation will start the conversation for more major brands to offer products made without animal materials. If vegan food and clothing are a norm, why can’t sneakers be?