Sneakers are on-trend, stimulated by consumer post-coronavirus desires of comfort and function. Today the fashion industry bets on this trend and many brands have added this garment into their product gallery. The problem arises when we talk about sustainability. Sneakers come with a high carbon cost. According to MIT’S Sneaker Lifecycle Assessment (rating cradle-to-grave impact of material extraction and processing, production, distribution, use, and repair to disposal or recycling), a pair of runners create about 13kg of CO2.

Due to this problem, brands such as VEJA have opted to create shoes with a lower environmental impact. Veja is a french footwear brand that has been creating sneakers differently, mixing social projects, economic justice, and ecological materials. Veja sneakers are produced in Brazil and use organic cotton from this country and Peru. They also use canvas and laces from the Amazon rubber for the soles and various innovative materials such as recycled plastic bottles.

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Sr Manoel Cotton producer in Riacho do Meio, Choro>Ceará, 2016. Photo: Veja Website

Veja’s innovative materials include Hexamesh and B-mesh. According to Veja, the Hexamesh is a combination of two threads layered together. The resistant base is made of 30% recycled plastic bottles. The top layer of the knit is a hexagonal pattern made of organic cotton.

The B-mesh is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, coming from recycled plastic bottles shredded into flakes and then transformed into fibers in a Brazilian factory. B-Mesh is a light, breathable and water-repellent fabric.

For this last season SS21, Veja has developed the first V-12 vegan made in B-mesh and C.W.L. The latter is a 100% organic cotton canvas, coated with P.U., corn starch, and ricinus oil.

In addition to being a brand that wants to make a positive impact on the environment, Veja has as another of its main pillars, Fairtrade.

According to Veja, they set a market decorrelated price per kilo of organic cotton or rubber and one annual contract with the producers in Brazil and Peru. That way, the producers know how much they will earn from the harvest before planting a single seed and ensure more equitable and dignified commercial transactions.

Meeting with cotton producers
Ceará, Ludovic Carème, 2016. Photo: Veja Website

Veja also doesn’t invest in advertisement, they prefer to use this money on the best environmentally friendly materials and in producing in factories with the high social standard. A sneaker from Veja costs 5 to 7 times more to make.

Veja will continue searching for the best ways to produce sneakers that do respect and impact positively on the environment.

They believe in transparency, and they will keep improving the consistency in their project, and as their founders quoted “make solutions happen”.