Veja Men's Sneakers - Partially Recycled, Totally Sustainable
Veja's line of shoes are serious competitors for joining a your stable of sneakers. Veja's sneakers have super dope style, are ridiculously sustainable and made with socially responsible practices. Their shoes use recycled material, are very high quality, and after a somewhat extended breaking in period, very comfortable.
Here are the scores on the R&R review criteria:
- Price: 3 - Slightly expensive
- Environmental Sustainability (% recycled, lifecycle, etc.): 4 - Superior to almost all sneaker brands
- Quality: 4: - Good, solidly made shoes with an extended break-in period
- Positivity/social responsibility: 5 - Veja is doing business the right way.
PRICE: GOOD FOR THE EARTH BUT ARE VEJAS SUSTAINABLE FOR YOUR WALLET?
Veja's sneakers are a bit expensive compared to the sneakers I usually buy, coming in around $100 to $120. However, they are not much more expensive, and in many instances cheaper, than a topline pair of Nike, Adidas, or other major sneaker brands. I personally like to keep the price of my sneakers in the $80-90 range. That said, most dedicated sneakerheads don't bat an eyelash at spending big money on a pair of Nike Air Max or whatever.
Given the superior environmental and socially responsible practices of Veja (which I'll get to more below), plus the bonus points for the fact that you'll be the only person rockin' these at the coffee shop, I think the price is relatively reasonable.
MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIAL
Veja is doing an amazing job using recycled materials in their shoes. My pair of sneakers has mesh made from recycled plastic bottles, with each pair using around 3 recycled bottles, as do numerous other of Veja's sneaker types.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE INGREDIENTS TO VEJA'S FRESH STYLE
There are not many sneaker brands that can compete with Veja in terms of environmental sustinability. They are hyper-focused on using sustainable materials for their sneakers.
For example, Veja uses sustainably grown organic cotton, bought directly from farmers in South America.
Also, buying Veja shoes helps to save the Amazon...yes, I'm serious. Similar to the cotton in their shoes, Veja is buying their rubber directly from Brazilian seringueiros, wild rubber tree tappers from the Amazon. Seringueiros use a technique that extracts rubber from the trees but allows them to regenerate.
By increasing the economic value of the Amazon, in a sustainable way as opposed to the economic value of cutting down the trees for lumber, you increase the likelihood of keeping the Amazon whole and thriving.
QUALITY: SOLIDLY MADE, BUT TOO SOLID?
In terms of comfort, my pair of Veja had some early issues. I've worn these for 6 months now and for the first few weeks, if not months, it was touch and go. The pair I bought started off a bit stiff. The tip of the tongue was oddly rough and occasionally irritated my ankle. But they were fine for walking and never felt uncomfortable in terms of the bottom of your feet. I've covered some pretty long walks in my Vejas without any issues.
After a few weeks they began to break in and now they are very comfortable. So I would advise patience with them until they are sufficiently broken in.
PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
Veja is doing business the right way by focusing on paying fair wages, helping to alleviate poverty, and empowering its suppliers and farmers. As mentioned above, this drives up the costs for consumers. But you can rest easy that your money isn't contributing to environmental degradation, deforestation, a faceless corporation, or to fund a larger advertising campaign.
Veja's logistics are handled by a French non-profit that focuses on employing marginalized populations, such as the homeless, immigrants, disabled people. As mentioned, they support farmers in South America, promote environmentally sustainable farming, put a ridiculous amount of thought into the materials they use (they even have an alternative leather made of fish skin!), and generally kick butt when it comes to social responsibility.
IN CONCLUSION - VEJA IS FOR REAL
Veja sneakers are one of my favorite products that I've stumbled upon over the last few years. A great company making a superior product in a way that respects the Earth and our fellow humans.
I bought the shoes about six months ago with high hopes and Veja has delivered in terms of quality. Plus, their business practices are ridiculously progressive, probably one of the best companies I have researched over the last few years.
I am now a committed Veja supporter and with the exception of purchasing other environmentally sustainable brands to test, will come back to Veja again and again in the years to come.
See below for some more details about the pair of shoes I purchased. I included some pictures of other styles with the same recycled material properties as well.
Details: VEJA Footwear Size Chart Take your look to the next step when you're running around town sporting the VEJA™ Sdu sneakers. Upper made from recycled jute and cotton with vegan suede panels. Lace-front closure with blind eyelets. Round-toe silhouette. Logo at the heel and tongue. Lining made from recycled polyester. Lightly padded footbed made of recycled polyurethane. Outsole is made out of EVA and wild rubber from the Amazonian forest. Made in Brazil. Measurements: Weight: 12 oz Product measurements were taken using size 44 (US Men's 11), width M. Please note that measurements may vary by size. Weight of footwear is based on a single item, not a pair.
Package Dimensions: 13.5 x 8.6 x 5.0 inches