Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

New Balance’s Vegan V’s Are Now Animal Free

Beatle founder Paul McCartney famously went vegetarian in 1975, beginning a celebrity trend that continues through today with performers like A$AP Rocky and Billy Eilish shunning livestock products. Not only do these stars not consume meat, but they also don’t wear animal-tested goods or allow beast-made clothing or furniture at venues hosting their shows.

These animal-free lifestyles helped to shape the current moment with the emergence of dozens of meat alternative foods and sans-animal apparel. This January, the Boston-based New Balance shoe company jumped on board the creature-free product train.

New Balance's vegan MADE 990v5 sneaker in the shoe company's classic gray.
New Balance

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of its 1982-released 990, New Balance transformed the iconic 990V5 into a 100% vegan sneaker. Served up in the shoe manufacturer’s signature gray, the shoe has been updated with sustainability in mind. This is punctuated with a vicious, glow-green ‘V’ on the heel logo to affirm the shoe’s vegan progeny. From panels to swatches, New Balance has traded pig suede and creamy cowskin for soft, buttery, plant-based materials.

New Balance’s vegan-friendly MADE 990V5 sports vegan leather on the shoe’s uppers with three-quarters and heel cups overlaid in plastic. The sneaker’s midsole is made with ENCAP — a core of soft cushioning of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), which helps to disperse weight and provide stability. The foam-like material is lightweight, flexible, and cushions the foot with each step. This is topped with a tough polyurethane rim for more support and durability and sits atop an-all rubber outsole (shoe bottom).

Related Guides

New Balance has updated the 990V5’s with subtle shifts from the original model over the years. These tweaks are based on maintaining and upgrading the sneaker’s performance-centered engineering. White soles set off the 990V5’s gray grain and a steel label still proudly claims the runner’s American pride with a “Made in the USA” label.

Green logo on the back of New Balance's vegan shoes.
New Balance

At least 70% of the MADE collection has been manufactured in the United States for over 75 years. Though this percentage may not be enough for class action plaintiffs, the company told The Fashion Law that it “takes pride in our longstanding commitment to domestic manufacturing — it is a valued part of our heritage and culture,” asserting that its “four New England-based factories currently employ approximately 1,000 Americans who work to produce our athletic footwear.”

Branding disputes aside, New Balance makes an honest effort to show its corporate responsibility in order to maintain its reputation and to keep up with changing times. The Guardian found that some surveys suggest rapid growth in vegan lifestyles, citing a possible 40% increase from 2020 alone. McCartney may have looked like an eccentric star with his shunning of animal products in the mid-1970s, but this stance is truly mainstream in 2022. And one of America’s largest shoe companies is showing its dedication to this sustainable practice that promotes creature kindness in classic silhouettes.

New Balance is releasing only a limited number of the vegan MADE 990v5 sneakers. They’re available for a suggested retail price of $185 at select global retailers and while supplies last.

Read More: YY Nation — Stylish Shoes Looking To Stomp Their Environmental Impact

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
We love these luxury watch brands (and you should too)
Decorate your wrist with the best luxury brands
Man wearing a watch

Every man needs a good watch. While you may not need it specifically to tell time, thanks to the advent of smartphones, there is still something classically elegant about wearing a beautiful timepiece. While you may be able to grab an up-to-date smartwatch from Apple, there is also a massive benefit to dumbing it down and wearing a dumb watch. Having said that, the luxury watch world can be overwhelming, as almost all watches claim to be the next big thing in luxury watch brands.

Of course, you don't have to ask us twice; we'll break down our favorites to bring you a list of the best luxury watch brands. We chose these watch brands using criteria based on notoriety, longevity, quality, and a little bit of price. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best luxury watch brands on the market. These are the ones you buy for yourself that your great-grandkids will show their friends once they are passed down.

Read more
6 mistakes beginners make when they start their first watch collection
Don't start off your watch collection the wrong way
man in suit wearing a watch

There are milestones in every man's life that become the moments we look back on fondly as our coming of age or maturing moments. One of those milestones is buying your first watch. We all had one of those cheap, make-it-look-like-it's-expensive watches we wore with our prom suits in high school, but this is that moment when we are buying the first of what we hope to be an epic watch collection.

A lot is said about having the right watch for the right moment. Some men believe that their smartwatch is all they will ever need. Not only do you need a dumb watch just as much, if not more. But you need a whole collection of watches to ensure you always have what you need. Just like building a suit wardrobe. there are starting points and landmines to look out for. When it comes to building your perfect watch collection, there are many mistakes you should avoid.

Read more
9 types of sunglasses every man should know
black ray-ban wayfarer sunglasses in sand

If you’re looking to spice up any outfit, there’s no better accessory than a pair of sunglasses. These simple pieces can help elevate your look while acting as a practical item against the sun. And while you can pick out sunglasses by brand, there’s another factor to consider before purchasing a pair. 

With various types of sunglasses on the market, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by certain characteristics of each type. From classic to modern styles, there’s always a type that can suit your facial structure or preference. Certain oversized styles can appeal to more fashion-forward and bold users, while classic styles like an aviator shape can give you a more sophisticated look. Depending on what you’re looking for, the type of sunglasses can make a huge difference in whether you feel confident and stylish.  
Aviator sunglasses

Read more