The Parisian brand that started with a vision to make a shoe entirely in Brazil using ethically sourced materials passed another milestone this week: it launched its first technical hiking shoe.
Although Veja’s first styles focused on everyday wear, their latest addition – Fitz Roy – takes them into a whole new category while keeping the commitment to using eco-friendly materials alive.
The shoe takes its name from Fitz Roy, a famous Patagonian peak, located on the border of Argentina and Chile, not far from where Veja sources its two main raw materials – natural Amazonian rubber and organic cotton.
While this shoe doesn’t have cotton (because it needs to be impervious to the elements), it does include wild Amazonian rubber in its sole, a project that Veja has been closely managing for over a decade.
In an effort to use natural materials and support livelihoods, Veja collaborates seringeiros in the Amazon to get wild rubber from rubber trees native to the forest. Allows the seringeiros to earn an income and keep the much-loved trees standing amid the rise of timber harvesting and cattle ranching, which are decimating the area.
This technical shoe was designed after a collaboration with Vibram, an Italian company known for their durable rubber soles. Hiking shoes should be tight and tough. Veja has brought this balance together in a design that is roomy, easy to wear and perfect for expeditions.
Since Veja co-founder Sebastien Kopp isn’t into sustainability but transparency, the materials used in the shoe are revealed, down to the exact percentages, so consumers can know exactly what they’re getting — and Veja can be clear . how much “sustainable” material they actually use.
The upper is made from 100% recycled polyester that is water resistant but free of PFCs, chemicals that the outdoor industry has historically relied on to make their products water repellent.
The content of the sole is analyzed by its three layers. The insole has 12% Amazonian rubber and 47% sugar cane. The midsole has 50% sugar cane. And the outsole is 31% Amazonian rubber.
The entire shoe is almost 50% (well 43% to be exact) bio-based. And Veja hopes to keep increasing that percentage every year as innovations in renewable materials continue.
Entirely made in Brazil, like their other styles, the materials are transported to the company’s facilities in Porto Alegre. From now on, they are shipped by sea (Veja stays away from air shipments due to its heavy carbon footprint).
Yes, it’s another hiking shoe in the crowded footwear market. But its origin story is certainly unique.
Ultimately, Veja continues to create a shoe profile that meets modern needs, and yet keeps its goal of building a more environmentally friendly company at the forefront. And they’re the first to admit it’s not perfect — not yet, at least.