If we had to pick an even bigger fan of classic white sneakers than us, it would be Meghan Markle. We’ve spotted her in many of our favorites, including French footwear brand Veja. Veja is beloved for its sleek and simple design, as well as its comfort. And lucky for us (and Markle), the brand recently upgraded its sustainable running shoe collection that's its most function-forward yet—and its most Earth-friendly. Meet Veja Running 2.0, a collection of three performance shoes, all built with eco-friendly material and crafted to last.
Together, the Veja Running family (comprised of the Impala, Marlin, and Condor 2) uses ingredients like recycled plastic, Amazonian rubber, sugar cane, rice waste, ricinus oil, and more in these light, supportive sneaks. Plus, their Engineered-Mesh alternates big and small stitches for breathability ideal for summertime heat. They weigh less than the average sneaker, but still feel sturdy both immediately and over time. While the Veja Running collection has been around since 2019, the brand gave its sneaks some smart upgrades, and we've been continuously testing the styles. The newest iterations? An even higher proportion of recycled materials.
Last year, we tested and loved the Veja Marlin ($180), a bio-based, recycled shoe (specifically designed for intense runs) made of innovative materials. There's the Veja Condor 2 ($175), made for smoother runs and more comfortable walks. And the style we were most curious about (and wanted to test): the Veja Impala ($140), a sneaker that balances lightness and stability specific to weight-training activities and exercises. Sure, we want to see how this shoe performed under pressure, but we also wanted to know if this was good for everyday wear, too.
Testing the Veja Impala
I never opt for athletic shoes over casual, but these are my current go-tos for literally...everything. They are that versatile. Since these were made for gym workouts, treadmill runs, bootcamps, and CrossFit, the Veja Impala were perfect for my regimen. I biked, ran, and lifted in these beauts.
On my feet, they felt almost suspiciously light but performed better in my workouts than I did. A wide base and flexible tread make it easier to twist, turn, and lift during intricate workouts and training seshes. The midsole is made of 60 percent sugar cane. The rubber outsole? 61 percent bio-based, made from Amazonian rubber and 31 percent rice waste. You'd never know it, though, as these sneaks are supremely durable.
I didn’t take these on trail runs, beaches, or hikes, but they still managed to get rather scuffed up within hours of wear. For white sneakers, that’s a bummer. Luckily, the stains came out almost immediately—without the use of harsh chemicals or my trusty Magic Eraser—and reset them to their creamy sheen. Worth noting, but easily fixable. Aside from that, I had no blisters and no complaints. I wondered if I’d ever be able to go back to a heavier shoe.
Oddly enough, I loved the shoe’s recycled tongue on an aesthetic level: it feels almost papery, a distinctive detail that looks and feels sustainable. The texture, while comfortable, reminds me of the sneakers’ ethos with every step.
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