Is Nike A Vegan Brand? Does It Sell Vegan Shoes?

Nike is a multinational company that has been part of the fashion industry since 1980. Everyone knows this brand, especially for its sneakers/trainers. However, is it vegan-friendly? 

Nike is not a vegan brand. It does sell some products without animal materials, but they tend to use leather, which is essentially animal skin. 

Veganism can be defined as a philosophy that seeks to eliminate animal cruelty. Therefore, a vegan brand does not use animal ingredients, nor does it harm animals in the entirety of its supply chain. 

This article goes into detail about what materials are used and where Nike products are manufactured.

Materials Used By Nike

Nike sells a wide variety of apparel, footwear, and accessory products, and so the list of raw materials is large. Some are of synthetic or vegetable origin, while others are of animal origin.

Tênis Nike

Because it is better known for its footwear, leather is among the main animal materials used, but they also use other materials such as duck and/or goose down to fill their jackets. 

Leather is known for its durability, but there’s tremendous cruelty involved in its production. It is mostly made from cow skin, but it can also come from sheep, pigs, goats, among other animals. 

With that being said, It is great to know that Nike has recently released several products made with vegan leather and recycled materials. For example, the Nike Sportswear Tech Pack jacket is made with 100% recycled polyester and nylon; and the Nike Air Force 1 ’07 LX sneakers contain piñatex and cork.

How To Know If Your Sneakers Have Animal Materials?

Knowing whether or not a pair of sneakers contains animal materials is not easy unless the brand clearly states that the product is vegan. 

Animal-based materials can be included in the upper of the sneaker, the sole, and also in the adhesive glue that is used in the assembly.

There are two things you can do:

  • Check the symbols on the label

symbols

A symbol in the shape of a leather rug means that the item is indeed made from animal materials. A symbol that looks like a net or in the shape of a diamond represents man-made materials or materials that do not derive from animals. 

  • Contact the brand

You need to contact the brand to find out if the adhesive glue is of animal origin. Historically, shoe glue used to be made from animal collagen, a process in which bones, skins, tendons, and connective tissue from animals are boiled, however, that is not the case with most brands.

Today most companies/brands use synthetic glues even though there are still some that use adhesives that contain animal ingredients.

Companies that have a supply chain that is not fully traced usually do not know what type of glue is used to make their shoes, so even if you ask them, they won’t be able to give you a clear answer. 

Does Nike Use Animal Glue?

Many Nike sneakers are not made with leather and can technically be considered vegan. The question that remains is whether the glue used to construct the sneakers is animal-based or not.

To find out the answer to this question I contacted Nike. Fortunately, the glue is synthetic and free of animal by-products.

You no longer need to worry about whether the glue is vegan or not — however, you still need to check if their products have animal ingredients. 

Where Are Nike Shoes Produced?

Nike products are manufactured in 36 countries/regions with a total of 458 factories, including countries with a high risk of labor exploitation. 

In China alone, materials are being produced in 42 facilities and finished products in 103 factories.

Manufacturing occurs in 101 factories in Vietnam, 34 in Indonesia, 24 in Thailand, 18 in Sri Lanka, 16 in Cambodia, 14 in Brazil, 8 in Argentina, 6 in India, 4 in Pakistan, 4 in Turkey, etc. This number of factories does not include the ones where raw material production takes place. 

All this data is made available by Nike on the following website: Nike Manufacturing Map

Now that we know the production takes place mostly in poor countries, several questions arise. We know that Nike is an American brand, but how ethical is its supply chain? How does it ensure that workers are not exploited and receive a living wage? How are we sure that it wasn’t a child or a slave creating the sneakers we buy?

According to Good On You, part of Nike’s production chain is certified by the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct, which aims to promote decent working conditions. Still, there is no information suggesting that Nike ensures the payment of a living wage in most of its supply chain.

There is information available on this and other issues on Nike’s website— but even so, it received a score of 55% in the 2021 Fashion Transparency Index. This index selects 250 of the largest and most powerful brands in the apparel industry and measures what the brands know and publicly share about human rights and environmental impacts in their production/supply chain.

What Brands Belong To Nike?

Nike currently owns the Jordan Brand and their only subsidiary Converse, however, they have also acquired digital sales company Datalogue in 2021, a machine learning technology company based in New York.

Brands That Sell Vegan Shoes

Veja Shoes

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Uma publicação partilhada por VEJA (@veja)

 

The Veja brand is not 100% vegan because it uses leather in some of its sneakers, but I still feel like it should be mentioned because it is very transparent, ethical (supply-chain wise), and a more sustainable brand overall. 

  • It differentiates which 121 sneakers are vegan – the website has a tab that shows only vegan sneakers and there are 121!
  • The brand is super transparent – it has all the detailed information on its website (in English), including the raw materials used, the price paid per kg of raw material, suppliers and related contracts, salaries, working hours of the people in the factory, and other important data. 
  • The cotton they use is organic – bought from farmers in Brazil and Peru.
  • The rubber is from the forest – bought from farmers in Brazil who are fighting illegal deforestation.
  • It uses more sustainable materials – recycled polyester from PET bottles, organic cotton, recycled cotton, vegan leather from cotton, and corn.

You can buy VEJA via their official website, as well as Amazon.  

Nae Vegan Shoes

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Uma publicação partilhada por NAE Vegan Shoes (@naeveganshoes)

The name says it all: NAE – No Animal Exploitation – and so the brand is entirely vegan.

The manufacturing is done in 4 factories— 2 factories in Portugal and 2 factories in Spain; plus, the materials used are piñatex, organic cotton, cork, recycled PET, and vegan leather.

Final Thoughts

Nike manufactures several sneakers using animal leather (fur) and is therefore not a vegan brand.

The adhesive glues do not derive from animals, so some sneakers are completely free of animal raw materials. Unfortunately, from the website, it is not easy to distinguish between sneakers with and without leather. 

Additionally, Nike is not synonymous with ethics, which is another reason why vegans often choose different brands even if one brand has vegan products. 

Companies like Nike tend to have their manufacturing plants in countries where the risk of labor abuse is high. They often cannot trace the entire production chain, nor ensure that both workers making the final product and farmers have a living wage.

If you choose to buy Nike sneakers, make sure that the label does not show the leather symbol, and if in doubt, contact the brand.

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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