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20200901 Caval apple leather shoes
Apple leather sneakers by Caval. Image: Caval via AFP Relaxnews

Why buy leather sneakers when you can get sneakers that take into account animal welfare and respect for the planet? There are many arguments against vegan models — too expensive, less aesthetic, not trendy — but these are increasingly falling by the wayside given the latest models coming on the market. They prove that switching to vegan sneakers is not harmful to your style or your wallet.

Once relegated to the category of accessories used solely by sports fans, sneakers made a massive comeback several years back to become a first-rank must-have for fashionistas and those who do not pay particular attention to the fashion sphere.

One need only look around to take stock of how big the phenomenon has now become. Almost everyone wears sneakers, so much so that sports giants like Adidas, Reebok and Nike have multiplied their launches and lines, and are reissuing models from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.

However, one thing could change the situation: the growing interest of consumers in animal welfare and perhaps, even more so, the environment. Leather, the material of choice for sneakers, is not exactly a paragon in this regard — unless you opt for vegan models.

What are the alternatives to animal-based leather?

Today, there are many vegan alternatives to leather — synthetic, vegetable or recycled materials — that offer the possibility of wearing sneakers while supporting the animal cause.

Brands such as Veja, Toms, Yatay and Subtle already offer a multitude of vegan models for men, women and children, which also have the advantage of being environmentally friendly.

Among the materials most often used to compensate for animal leather are recycled cotton, fibers of certain fruits such as pineapple and C.W.L. — a bio-sourced material made of cotton coated with polyurethane and resin.

The Caval brand, known for its mismatched sneakers, made headlines in the first half of 2020 with its first collection of apple leather sneakers.

Aiming to reduce its environmental impact while promoting animal welfare, the brand turned to recovering apple waste to form a new vegan material by combining it with polyurethane. The result is a whole collection of ultra trendy and colorful models that are sure to please sneaker addicts.

Sports brands get in on the act

Anyone who still thinks that vegan sneakers are unattractive will soon realize that animal welfare and respect for the planet are no longer synonymous with unsightliness. The proof? Specialized brands are gradually getting into it. In fact, there’s a good chance you are already wearing (without realizing it) a 100% vegan model.

Nike and Reebok are among the sports giants that have already integrated synthetics in their lines, among others. And Adidas is not sitting on the sidelines. After a vegan collaboration with Stella McCartney for the Stan Smith model, the three-striped brand launched “The Clean Classics” collection offering its most emblematic models in recycled and vegan materials.

“Yes, but eco-friendly, vegan sneakers are very expensive.” A large number of consumers believe this, but is it true? A small detour to the Adidas e-store would show the Stan Smiths with a vegan upper priced around 110 euros (or approx. P6,300), which is around the average price seen for this model.

Caval’s apple leather sneakers are priced at about 140 euros (or approx. P8,100), whereas Veja’s V-10 pair retails at about 130 euros (or approx. P7,500). These prices may seem like a far cry from some of the exorbitant amounts other sneaker addicts would pay for their shoes. CC

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