French brand Veja was founded in 2004 with a mission to create ecologically responsible footwear. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I bought a pair of its "Esplar" sneakers, made of vegetable-tanned leather and organic cotton — the latter farmed without agro-chemicals and pesticides by one of 320 families Veja works with in northern Brazil. The rubber is sourced from Amazonian tappers who harvest from trees. You can see videos of this process and more on the brand's site. It's fascinating.
I bought these sneakers knowing none of this, which is to say they look awesome. They are super bright white in a way that makes me think they just might glow in the dark, and I feel like a sporty French girl (if there is such a thing) running around town in them. They're structured, so they feel more polished than other sneakers I've worn, but are still soft enough to feel comfortable after a long day. My white sneakers from last summer got destroyed after a few months on the city streets. I have a feeling these will be more resilient. They come from a tropical environment, after all.
Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.