Compassionate CEO Profile: Troy Akin of Eco Sports

You’ve seen the “PETA-Approved Vegan” label on clothing and accessories—now you can find it on sports gear, too! Learn how Troy Akin, the CEO of Eco Sports, is taking a stand against cruelty to animals and climate change through his company’s top-of-the-line vegan sporting goods.

Eco Sports

Why did you decide to start an all-vegan company?

I was a college tennis player in a “basketball family,” so my two favorite sports used animal-derived products. I was searching for a high-quality basketball that didn’t use animal skin. I came across ones made from PVC and microfibers, which are both plastic. Although those options are better than using animal skin, I thought there had to be a more sustainable way. I couldn’t find anything that matched what I sought, which was vegan, eco-friendly sporting goods, like basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, softballs, and boxing, tennis, and cricket gear.

Which of your vegan products are you most excited to share with others?

While our basketballs have been our bestsellers since our company started, I’m most excited to share our footballs! We waited to release them because we wanted to make sure they were perfect. People mostly associate football with leather or “pigskin,” so having a high-quality, cruelty-free option for a sport that uses the skins of so many animals is very important to me and Eco Sports. Plus, I love throwing a football around with family and friends at the beach, so the Eco Sports football is a must-have in my car at all times. We’re also in the process of making a baseball glove that’s vegan and made from plant-based, nontoxic materials.

What inspired you to become certified “PETA-Approved Vegan”?

Once I turned vegan and saw the incredible work that PETA is doing, I knew I had to be a part of this community, which shows people the horrors of animal suffering that most people don’t want to accept. PETA’s work is so important and motivating to Eco Sports and me that it has truly been a privilege and an honor to work with the group—and I display the “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo on our website with pride!

What’s the most exciting innovation your company has made that helps animals?

Our mission is to replace animal-derived leather in sports. Many people don’t think about sports when it comes to cruelty to animals, but if you think about all the footballs, basketballs, baseballs, and gloves out there, the sports industry is a major contributor to the leather industry and animal suffering. No animal should die for sports equipment, especially with so many innovative vegan materials on the market. All our products are “PETA-Approved Vegan” as well as nontoxic, and they maintain the same feel, bounce, and performance that athletes are accustomed to.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start a completely vegan company?

Starting a vegan company is exhilarating! You get to meet so many like-minded people who are trying to do the right thing. As the owner of a company, I can use my platform to share my passion for animal rights and being an activist. Running an ethical, vegan company helps me get up in the morning and work those 10-hour days and weekends.

Check Out Some of the Other 1,250+ ‘PETA-Approved’ Brands!