VEJA is giving you a chance to wear your love for the planet on your feet.
The French footwear brand that counts Princess Beatrice and Meghan Markle as fans and once made a shoe from food waste is at it again. This time, VEJA has created a sneaker made from 100% organic cotton. The WATA II launched earlier this month. Organic cotton isn’t new for VEJA sneakers. The brand has been purchasing organic cotton, which it poses as the “raw material of the future,” for nearly two decades.
VEJA’s organic cotton is produced by Brazilian and Peruvian farmers’ associations that adhere to fair trade principles. Essentially, these practices mean the farmers keep people and the environment in mind when harvesting and cultivating cotton.
Sustainable everything is all the rage these days. What sets VEJA shoes apart from other products from brands that claim to be green is that it purchases its cotton at an “uncorrelated price.” VEJA pays top dollar for its organic cotton, currently shelling out $24.77 per kilo, about 50% higher than the market price. Why pay so much, especially with economic doom and gloom looming? According to the brand’s website, VEJA agrees on a price with farmers in advance, giving them clarity into how much they’ll make. VEJA also provides financial security to the producers by signing a two-year contract at the beginning of the deal, guaranteeing they’ll purchase the cotton at a specific price. After that, they agree on a price annually.
The high fee pays for the cotton production costs and — here’s the feel-good kicker — takes care of the cotton producers. They earn a living, can support their families, and invest in their businesses and community. No middle person is setting up the deal, cutting out another person to pay and upping the producers’ income.
VEJA takes it a step further by paying 50% of the harvest in advance to lift the community. The brand didn’t change its tune during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VEJA bought around 1,400 tons of organic cotton between 2004 and 2022. Most recently, the brand has used that cotton to design the WATA II. VEJA weaves the organic cotton into the canvas, layers, and uppers of its royally famous kicks, creating shoes that look and feel good.
The WATA II adds to this lineage of VEJA sneakers. The story behind the new VEJA shoes can make you feel good about wearing them. However, the shoes also look good. You can snag them in high or low tops. High tops come in cream, black, bright yellow, navy, and brown. Shoppers can purchase low-top styles in green, blue, orange, white, and black.
The laces are all white—Ditto for the soles. As for the breakdown of materials, the canvas and lining are entirely organic cotton. The outsole consists of 40% Amazonian rubber and 10% rubber, while the insole is 75% bio-based and recycled.
And, frankly, the shoe is 100% stylish.
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