Sneakerheads may soon find their closets stocked with plenty of plant-based materials instead of animal products. Joining a growing number of brands shifting away from leather, Nike has just introduced a plant-based sneaker line derived from pineapples, in collaboration with the brand Piñatex, which makes pineapple-based "leather" from the durable fibers of pineapple leaves. This material is used all throughout this new entirely vegan collection aptly titled, "Happy Pineapple."

Nike's new Happy Pineapple line features five different shoes in a range of different colorways. A number of these shoes are new editions of the brand's most well-loved styles including Nike Air Max and Air Force 1s, revamped in tropical colors that are perfect for summertime.

The pineapple leather company celebrated the launch on Instagram, captioning a graphic of the new styles and saying, "This summer has just gotten sweeter. Nike merges their innovative silhouettes with juicy hues and clever details paying homage to a summertime staple - the pineapple. Piñatex has been used on the brand’s iconic models in key parts of the shoe together with other sustainable materials such as cork."

"There are 5 #MadeFromPiñatex Nike trainers models that will be coming out in several colorways."

These new pineapple-based Nike sneakers join a roster of vegan leather shoes from brands like Adidas and New Balance which have been exploring different animal-friendly textiles like mushroom-based "leather" and recycled materials such as repurposed plastic water bottles.

Back in January, Nike released its first vegan leather sneaker when it debuted the SB Dunk in Baroque Brown made from recycled materials. Nike launched its Move to Zero initiative in 2019, marking the brand's journey to reach zero carbon emissions and zero waste, propelling the brand to seek out more sustainable alternatives to leather such as Piñatex.

A recent study by Future Market Insights revealed that the demand for vegan and sustainable shoes is ballooning as more customers search for cruelty-free, environmentally friendly options to buy. Millennials have emerged as a key target demographic for these brands to market to, based on the generation's compassion towards the planet and animals and high willingness to spend on fashion.

“Keeping in mind shifting preference of consumers, most companies are expected to focus on sustainability. Some of them will also include plant-based materials for manufacturing shoes to gain competitive advantage,” said an FMI analyst.

As iconic companies such as Nike, Adidas, and New Balance release more vegan leather sneakers, we can expect other big brands to begin to scout out plant-based alternatives to leather and animal products.

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