New Balance – Not Vegan?

New Balance Logo 2008

I think it is really important for clothing companies to disclose certain types of information about their products; really basic stuff they should know about their suppliers and manufacturers, such as whether they use child labor or what types of materials they’re .  Although I can understand why some companies would not WANT to disclose potentially incriminating information, there is no excuse for being uninformed about a simple question – do your shoes have animal products in them?

I got a surprising answer when I asked New Balance whether their shoes were vegan.  Some of them are constructed with a synthetic upper, so I just emailed them to ask whether there were other animals being used, in the glue perhaps.  Below is the email exchange:

Customer (Henry *******)
Dear New Balance,

I want to learn more about your vegan shoes. I saw that you make a lot of shoes with synthetic uppers but you don’t know what kind of glue is being used so you don’t know for sure if it’s completely vegan or not.

Is there any way of determining which factories use non-animal glues? Maybe you can track the ones coming out of those as being vegan. This is important to people like me, and knowing which products are animal friendly will factor into which shoes to buy. Please let me know if there is any more you can tell me.

Thanks so much!
Henry

Discussion Thread
Response (Consumer Response Team)
Dear Henry,

Thank you for contacting New Balance Consumer Support!

Unfortunately we are not capable of determining which factories use non-animal glues. While most of them probably don’t use them we cannot be 100 percent sure and we would not want to provide our customers with any misleading information. We truly apologize for not being able to provide you with this information.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns by email or phone at 800-622-1218.

Sincerely,

Sarah

New Balance Consumer Response Team

Not capable of determining which factories use non animal glue?  Not 100%?  I appreciate the honesty, and not wanting to mislead, but this is SUCH A COP OUT.  Don’t factories have quality control?  Doesn’t HQ work closely with the suppliers and manufacturers?  It seems disingenuous that they do not know exactly what goes into their shoes.  I would not expect this kind of ignorance from a international shoe company that sponsors world class athletes.  Very disappointing.

If you want to read there answer to this question on the New Balance website, click here.

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