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Nike has released a brand new iteration of its popular SB Dunk sneakers, this time giving it a vegan makeover. Made with animal-free leather, the new Baroque Brown SB Dunk High Pro shoes will be launched in limited quantities at select stores around the world. It marks the latest move by the sneaker giant to cater to the growing demand for cruelty-free and sustainable designs.
Fifteen years after the first SB Dunks hit the market, the sneaker world has finally been blessed with a vegan version of the Nike classic. Last year, the brand made headlines for its “Street Hawker” iteration that represented an ode to Chinese street food, but this time, Nike thinks sustainability and cruelty-free is the way to go.
Launched in a Baroque Brown colour, the new SB Dunk High Pro sneakers are made with a brown vegan leather upper, while the midsole is white. The outsole and laces are a bold green to match the shoe’s earthy tone, perhaps to indicate its lighter environmental footprint on the planet.
By virtue of being animal-free, vegan alternative materials are far more sustainable than its conventional hide counterparts as raising animals for its skin requires huge amounts of feed, land, water and emits carbon dioxide in the process, not to mention unethical too. Rising awareness of the cruelty and environmental impact of traditional leather in recent years has driven more consumers towards eco alternatives, with this burgeoning industry now estimated to grow to a US$89 billion market by 2025.
It is still unclear what type of vegan leather is used to make Nike’s new SB Dunk sneaker, as the ever-increasing range has grown from still plastic-containing PU leathers to more natural alternatives made from plant-based materials like cactus and apples.
Nike hasn’t revealed any set release date for the new vegan SB Dunk, but select stores are slated to begin launching the shoe throughout this month and in February. So far, no shops in the U.S. will be offering the limited-edition sneaker, though Soul Sneaker Boutique in Mexico will be stocking the shoe alongside some skateshops in Asia, Europe and South America.
Prior to the animal-free SB Dunk, Nike debuted several sustainable shoes in a bid to ride the sustainable sneaker trend. Its Space Hippie range, for instance, showcased four silhouettes made using only sustainable materials, from repurposed plastic bottles to post-industrial scraps.
Other mainstream players have also launched circular designs to stay in the game, with the likes of Adidas and Reebok churning out their own plant-based, vegan-friendly and recycled designs in the last months.
All images courtesy of Nike.