Retailer under fire for 'vegan' sneakers that are just normal shoes

M&S are selling vegan trainers as part of an extensive range of footwear "free from animal derivatives" [Image: M&S]

The number of people adopting a plant-based lifestyle rose by over 60 per cent last year, so it’s no surprise more and more businesses are making sure they are catering to that increase in demand for ‘vegan’ products.

However, it’s not just food chains and their meat-free burgers joining the lucrative party, which will see the industry worth over $1billion by 2021.

Now UK retailer Marks & Spencer is getting in on the action too, and launched an extensive range of “Vegan Footwear” which includes over 75 products - including 15 pairs of trainers.

However, it has been pointed out by The Sunday Times that marketing sneakers as “vegan” could be a little misleading, since they have always been vegan.

They note that most regular trainers are made from rubber, plastic and polyester, and aren’t tested on animals.

The publication also flags that the Vegan Society, who created the term “vegan” in 1944, have an approval scheme for products which can be marketed as vegan - and trainers aren’t included.

Despite this, the department store has used the same green and purple ‘V’ logo on its kicks that it uses on its vegan food.

The chain are selling sneakers with the same purple and green "V" logo that it uses on vegan food [Image: M&S]

Describing its vegan footwear on its website, M&S write: “Embrace earth-friendly style with our women's vegan shoes made from durable materials.

“Whether you're after faux-fur boots or sharp stiletto heels in a wide fit, our vegan footwear collection is free from animal derivatives.”

They are selling a pair of ‘Ribbon Detail Lace Up Trainers’ for $58 that they say are made from “vegan-friendly materials”.

Another pair, the ‘Leopard Print Trainers’ priced at $89, are described as having a “vegan-friendly construction”.

M&S responded with a statement that read, “All our vegan-friendly products feature our widely recognised and long-standing vegan logo, which we use across clothing and food.

“Our synthetic footwear suppliers follow our vegan-friendly processes, covering every element of production and every material they use, and we make sure these standards are being met.”

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