An Unintentionally Amusing Response from Adidas Customer Service

Part of my responsibilities in operating this site involves a bit of “investigating,” i.e. checking with shoe manufacturers to see if their shoes are vegan and do not contain some hidden animal products.  Sometimes it’s worth giving it a shot even if it looks like there may be some leather on it.  You never know when it might be synthetic, which is why I had to check with Adidas to see if these Gazelle RST kicks had non-leather stripes and heel.

So, I sent them a short email inquiry with my typical line – is this vegan?  Are there any animal products used in this shoe?  In the leather, in the glue?  I thought my questions were pretty straightforward.  Typically I get a pointed answer.  But the response I got from Adidas not only did not answer my question, it was puzzling and pretty hilarious when you think about it.

adidas products are not tested on animals. This is accomplished by selecting raw materials of the highest quality with well-established safety records, and by using extensive ingredient databases, in-vitro testing, and computer modeling as well as studies with human volunteers. adidas shares your respect for life. We’re committed to maintaining the highest possible standards of human safety while eliminating the need for testing on animals.

In fact, all of our products are clinically tested, as needed, on humans before being sold in the marketplace. In the rare occurrence of a government or regulatory body indicating that an animal test is necessary to rule out human safety issues, and where no validated alternative method exists, we may be obliged to commission such a test. In such an instance, though, the need for testing would be very carefully examined and the test itself, strictly controlled.

Our manufacturers help build on the industry’s considerable progress in developing alternative methods that will completely replace animal testing. We’re partners, actively involved for many years in the search for alternative means of testing. We support industry research programs, such as those conducted by the European Chemical Industry Ecology and Toxicology Centre (ECETOC), the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (COLIPA) and the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. Our work together aims to develop and validate new testing for a future that won’t rely on animals to safeguard human well-being.

Interesting, right?  I’m struck by the serious tone of the whole thing.  I have to say, if I did want answers about animal testing, I’d be pretty impressed.  It looks like this was a prepared response that their PR department had ready.  While I’m glad that they do not TEST THEIR SHOESon animals, I wonder – are other apparel companies in fact animal testing?  And more interestingly, what kind of testing are they doing?  I wonder what kind of diabolical experiments they would be cooking up:

  • 1-on-1 between Kevin Garnett and a honey badger
  • Strapping on running shoes to various fast land animals, e.g. cheetahs, ostriches, timing their runs
  • Tackle drills with Lawrence Timmons and a bighorn sheep.
  • Determining sweat wicking properties of Climacool gear by putting them on sweating horses.

Seriously though, what the hell?  I’m going to follow up with them to get the real information that I was looking for, and hopefully I’ll get a straight answer.  TBD…

9 thoughts on “An Unintentionally Amusing Response from Adidas Customer Service”

  1. That is strange, although I find hard to believe that companies in this day and age would not understand how to answer vegan questions. They are either not interested in answering the questions hoping one buys their products anyway or they don’t know how to use the internet. I’ve had companies reply to my e-mails with “we are not aware if our materials are vegan but we hope you are satisfied with our products” and “what do you mean by vegan?”.

  2. Yeah, it didn’t occur to me but yeah they probably make all sorts of sports related products like deodorant and maybe cologne? Weird, but makes sense.

  3. There’s no leather in these shoes as far as I can tell, having seen a pair up close & examined them. Just a shame all Adidas shoes are so damn narrow otherwise I’d be getting myself a pair.

  4. I’m still waiting on a reply from Adidas. I’ll update when I find out, sorry for the delay guys.

  5. Having worked in marketing for my whole career, customer service systems have selections to fire off templated replies to specific question types. It just looks like the operator selected the wrong answer. I wouldn’t completely blame Adidas, I’d blame human error and possibly poor training…

  6. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t give them such a hard time, but still, Adidas deserves the blame. Their customer service people should at least read the email. I should actually be contacting someone in marketing who perhaps has a deeper connection with the products. If you have any suggestions let me know, thanks!

  7. To non-vegans, the whole vegan concept only extends to food… and even then, only the most obvious ones.
    To questions about gelatine, insec-dyes, lactose, etc. they just haven’t got an answer because they think on the level of ‘meat’ and meat only. Seeing that they are not into veganism, they also do not have the desire to delve into the matter of animal (ab)use and the standard question with meat-eaters is often a bewildered: “Oh, no? Can’t you eat eggs? No milk either? No honey?” And, to make matters more confusing for the poor dears, we add to that list of “restrictive lifestyle” also cosmetics;-)
    The fact that vegans also don’t wear leather, silk, wool is to them like having to get to grips with civilisation as they know it being removed from them. Imagine… you haven’t got a clue and stuff all the rubbish inside your body all your life, never asking a question or wondering as to why and where all that we consume comes from and then being confronted with “pesky vegans”;-)

    So, the reply from Adidas is a wrong one and not aplicable to clothing. It is hastily copied from a company or one of their devisons (remember, Adidas now also manucfacture, or lisence their brand-name to cosmetics) that has been forced to answer to customers queries after their cosmetics probably. (Probably by some harping vegans;-)
    Our veganism is a learning-curve for manufacturers who are only now beginning to see that vegans also spend money.

    Anyway… like it or not, though Adidas has been at loggerheads with animal-rights folk for their use of Kangaroo leather, I think it is a bold step forward to start producing vegan shoes. The black vegan Samba with oranage stripes is a gorgeous shoe, that vegans would otherwise not have been able to wear. And let’s face it, the trainers available from VEGETARIAN SHOES or the Vans or the MacBeth’s are a bt tired.

    (Co)incidentally, Puma has also announced vegan shoes…

  8. They actually make soap and cologne. Im so glad to see they dont use animal testing for their soap. YAY VEGAN SOAP!

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