Welcome to AFAR Approved: a deep dive into the travel items that we’re totally obsessed with, never leave behind, and can’t stop telling our friends about.
For years, my go-to white sneakers were a pair of white and green Stan Smiths. Ubiquitous in New York through most of the 2010s, the leather Adidas sneakers came with me on trips back home to California, vacations in Australia, and reporting assignments in Denmark. When I packed for Paris last December, I knew they were on their last legs and I was ready for something a little less common. When I met up for cocktails with Sara Lieberman, an AFAR contributor who also leads shopping tours in Paris, she clued me in to the French sneaker with the colorful “V” logo on the side that I’d noticed all the cool kids were wearing.
Founded in 2005, Veja sneakers are named after the Portuguese word for “look” (it rhymes with déjà, as in déjà vu). But these sneakers’ popularity in Paris—and now stateside with the opening of its first U.S. store in New York in March 2020—stems from sustainable production methods rather than just the cool factor. The soles of every Veja sneaker are made with natural Amazonian rubber sourced directly from cooperatives formed by families of rubber tappers, while the organic and fair trade cotton used in the laces, lining, and canvas uppers of Veja shoes is purchased directly from farmers in Brazil and Peru. Since I was looking to replace my leather Stan Smiths that repelled water on rainy days, I was also thrilled to find out that the Brazilian leather in Veja sneakers is sourced from tanneries audited and certified Gold by the Leather Working Group, an independent group of tanneries and manufacturers that work to reduce its environmental impact.
Because of these sustainable practices, Veja sneakers aren’t cheap. The pair of Veja V-10s I ultimately purchased—with a red rubber “V” logo and blue and yellow leather detailing on the heels—retail for $150. But you can get the white and green version of that same shoe online for just $113 during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which opens to the public on August 19.
If you’re looking for a slimmer sneaker that has a less chunky sole than the V-10s—which are most similar to the Stan Smiths—the Veja Esplars might be for you. The leather Esplars are on sale for $90 in cobalt blue and a shade of burgundy called “marsala.” For people looking for a summer-weight or vegan option, the canvas Esplars are just $71 during the sale, and the three-lock Velcro style (for the lace-averse) are marked down to $98. Each style is marked down roughly 25 percent during the sale, which runs through August 30.
These shoes are made to be unisex, but Nordstrom has them in limited sizes for certain colors so I’ve listed them here by size availability. Veja shoes are sold in whole sizes only—for half sizes, order the next size down. I find that I’m typically a U.S. women’s 7.5 or 8 for most brands and the Veja V-10 sneakers I own in a U.S. women’s size 7 (equivalent of a EU size 38) fit perfectly. Since Veja shoes are made from sturdy, quality leather, I found they took a few wears before they felt less stiff. But it’s worth noting that having owned them for more than half a year now, they still look brand new. No creasing or scuffs yet. I fully expect these to last for years.
Veja V-10 Sneakers
- Buy now: $113 (after sale $150), nordstrom.com
- Sizes: Women’s U.S. sizes 5-10 (Men’s U.S. sizes 3-8)
Veja Esplar Sneakers
Veja Esplar Sneakers
Veja Esplar 3-Lock Sneakers
Veja Esplar Canvas Sneakers
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