The New Balance 990 collection has grown to become an iconic go-to for, as the brand cheekily notes, “supermodels in London and dads in Ohio.” The original 1982 silhouette has been updated over the years with the most recent 990v5 model continuing its ultimate blend of performance, style, quality and taste. Now, the Boston-based sportswear brand wants to ensure everyone is able to fall in love with the morning run-slash-fashion runway staple with the all-new vegan-friendly version of the beloved 990v5 sneaker.
This new iteration trades in the pigskin leather and suede material traditionally used on the shoe with a synthetic construction made without the use of animal hides or animal byproducts. Although details on the specific alternative material are not disclosed, it’s encouraging to see a more Earth-friendlier approach to the cult classic.
Much of the shoes construction is in sync with “regular” pairs of the 990v5. The vegan sneaker is available in a full greyscale that’s signature to the 990 collection. Only a green “V” on the back of the shoes signify an animal-free remake. Mesh panels provide breathability in the upper, and TPU accents are used throughout the sneaker including a “power strap” found near the heel. Comfort and cushioning is provided by Ortholite inserts as well as New Balance’s ENCAP midsole technology, which combines soft, lightweight EVA foam with supportive, durable polyurethane.
The New Balance 990v5 Vegan Friendly is also another addition to the brand’s MADE series: shoes manufactured in the UK or USA with authentic craftsmanship (think fine materials) in mind. Similar to the other New Balance MADE footwear, the American-made 990v5 Vegan Friendly holds a domestic construction standard that some say justifies a higher price tag. It’s important to note that these MADE products are only designated to have a domestic value of 70% or more. New Balance has received recent criticism on the fact that up to 30% of its product’s content can be produced oversees while still baring the “Made in USA” label.
The “subtle, refined modernization” of the 990v5 further proves that no compromise to performance and style is needed when developing a vegan option of a classic silhouette. The shoe can be swapped into any sneaker rotation without hesitation, but more importantly, with a better conscious.
The New Balance 990v5 Vegan Friendly will be available in Europe on January 21 online; in New Balance stores located in London, Berlin, Forum des Halles, Parly II; and select boutiques such as Sneakersnstuff and Sevenstore. Timing for a US release is currently not confirmed.
In other footwear news, two new colorways for Jeff Staple’s collaboration with Allbirds dropped earlier this month.