Parisian brand Veja (pronounced vay-ja) was founded in 2005 and has since carved out a niche for itself in the sustainable footwear market. Its strong eco-credentials mean it’s a certified B Corp: a company that meets the highest stands of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Chances are, if you cast your mind back to 2017, you hadn’t heard of the brand. But after being seen on the likes of Emma Watson, Meghan Markle and Emily Ratajkowski, the seemingly simple lace-ups have reached cult status.
Read more: The B Corp brands you need on your radar
With the distinctive V logo in varying colours and styles, Veja sneakers quickly became a wardrobe staple.
The brand was established with the mission to create a shoe that would stand the test of time because, despite being one of the most-worn items in the world, trainer production and distribution is home to myriad unsustainable practices.
Refusing to choose between design and sustainability, founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion took matters into their own hands and began producing a collection of shoes using the most ecological materials and ethical suppliers they could find.
Veja offers full transparency into every stage of its shoe production, from the chemicals used to the wages it pays. By working directly with small-scale producers in Brazil and Peru, it cuts out the middle man and agrees on a price for the cotton and rubber in advance, making sure producers can live decently and reinvest into their farms. The Parisian brand also upcycles materials wherever possible and is constantly researching ways it can improve its practices.
With so much hype around the brand, it can be difficult to work out if the trainers are for you. Luckily, we’re on hand to answer your questions and pick out the styles that we think you should add to your basket now.
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Are Veja shoes vegan? What are they made of?
Veja produces a range of different styles using leather and non-leather materials. While each design is made from something different, materials include organic cotton, wild rubber from the Amazon, vegetable-tanned leather and recycled plastic bottles.
Dedicated to making sure its practices have as little impact on the planet as possible, materials are sourced sustainably and in a socially conscious manner. For example, the leather comes from audited tanneries that are certified gold by the Leather Working Group.
One in three of Veja’s models are 100 per cent vegan and it has a dedicated section on its website for these shoes, which include the classic V-10, condor 2 and the UCRA CWL.
Are Veja trainers comfortable?
When it comes to comfort, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people may find the shoes need to be worn in a little, while the tongue, which is on the long side, can take a while to get used to. But, for the most part, Veja trainers are a comfortable and reliable choice.
Do they fit true to size?
When it comes to sizing, Veja trainers are usually spot on, so we’d definitely recommend ordering your usual. As with most leather footwear, it may take a few wears to break them in and, if you’re between two sizes, we’d suggest sizing down.
Are Veja shoes good for running?
The French brand released its condor tainers (£130, Veja-store.com) in 2019, setting a benchmark for sustainable running shoes – they are made from 53 per cent recycled materials. This is particularly pertinent considering 99 per cent of running shoes on the market are made from plastic.
Veja has since expanded its range to include the condor 2 trainers (£144.99, Zalando.co.uk), which are made from 58 per cent bio-based and recycled materials, and the lining, laces, backloop and cords are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles.
But is this Veja shoe good for running? Well, considering the fact it landed a spot in our review of the best women’s running shoes, we think so! Great for short runs, “the outsole has excellent traction and feels like it will have good durability, important when so many trainers go to landfill too quickly”, noted our writer.
Are they worth it?
If all this has left you wondering whether they are worth the price tag, with styles starting at £75, then the answer is yes. The higher cost can be attributed to the brand’s strong sustainable and ethical credentials, from sourcing its materials fairly to continually researching better practices, so you’ll be supporting the brand on its mission to create a better future for all.
And, unlike many trainers on the high street, Veja’s shoes are made to stand the test of time, reducing the need to rebuy, which is better for the planet.
Which trainers to buy?
Invariably, you’re now left wondering which Veja trainers to buy, which is why we’ve rounded up our favourite styles below. From classic, clean-lined designs to nippy running sneaks, we’ve got you covered.
Veja V10 trainers: £114.99, Zalando.co.uk
This is the pair of trainers that Meghan Markle wore during her trip to Australia, catapulting the brand from start-up business to fashion staple. The V10 style is a classic that will go with everything in your wardrobe and comes in a range of colours, from pink and black to gold.
These featured in our guide to the best women’s shoes for spring, so you can trust that they are a worthy investment, with our writer noting that “these distinctive kicks are the perfect transitional shoe”.
Veja V12 trainers: £115, Office.co.uk
Very similar in design to the V10, the main difference here is that the V12 tends to be more narrow, so if you prefer a tighter fit, these are a great option. With a chunky sole, they’re a solid trainer that will stand the test of time. Plus, owing to the sleek, fresh style, they can be worn on both off-duty days and in the office.
Veja campo leather trainers: £115, Net-a-porter.com
Another classic pair of treads, the campo design featured in our guide to the best women’s white trainers. While our writer reviewed the vegan alternatives, she noted the “retro-inspired design” and the fact it’s a “supportive and smart shoe that’s office worthy” make them ideal for when we have to return to commuting. Coming in a range of colours, there’s a style available for every taste.
Veja esplar leather trainers: £95, Thewhitecompany.com
As with most of Veja’s trainers, these offer the brand’s signature minimalist design and feature the classic V logo. With a slimmer sole and fit compared to the campo, the esplar trainers are a great choice for those with narrow feet. Wear with your favourite pair of jeans and a linen shirt; the perfect spring-ready outfit.
Veja venturi recycled trainers: £130, Laredoute.co.uk
With outdoor socialising still the order of the day, chunky and comfortable trainers should be your priority. This pair is made from recycled materials – the upper is 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles, the lining is 100 per cent recycled polyester, and the midsole is made from 40 per cent sugar cane. It’s a perfect dad trainer that will provide the perfect contrast point to a floral, ditsy summer dress.
Veja condor 2 trainers: £130, Veja-store.com
Featuring in our guide to the best women’s running shoes, our writer praising these shoes for being both “very comfortable and stylish”. They are made from 37 per cent bio-based and recycled materials, with components made from rice waste, banana oil and sugar cane. “We were also impressed to see the lining, laces, backloop and cords are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles,” noted our writer.
Looking for outfit inspiration for 21 June? Read our guide to everything you’ll want to be wearing for those dinner dates and nightclub evenings
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.