French brand VEJA have been completely transparent with what percentage of their new performance running shoes is made from natural and recycled materials.
The first ‘post-petrol’ running shoe, the ‘Condor’ will be launched at the pre-opening of sustainable brand VEJA’s first store in Paris, the company has announced.
In a series of cryptic tweets, the brand has been teasing the release that they are claiming will be the first petrol product free shoe on the market where 99% of the material used in running shoes is polymer that is 99% plastic. According to VEJA, the shoe has taken 4 years of research and development to create bringing together a variety of new sustainable technologies.
The design of the shoe is based on the bone structure of its namesake which gives it the flexibility and lightness needed for a running shoe. The Condor is made from 53% natural or recycled materials including wild Amazonian rubber, jute, and banana oil. The sole is a combination of wild Amazonian rubber, rice waste and synthetic rubber whereas the upper is made from a mesh created using plastic bottles picked up on the streets of Rio and Sao Paolo.
VEJA style themselves as having “one foot in design and the other in social responsibility”. After Sébastien Kopp and Ghislain Morillion, founder of the company saw appalling working conditions in Chinese factories they wanted to reinvent what they saw as the “the most symbolic object of [their] generation”. So, their sustainable sneaker brand was born.
The company was founded with transparency in mind, both the production and sourcing of its materials follow this ethos. All of their shoes are made in Brazil using wild harvested rubber and cotton from a small cooperative of organic farmers. VEJA pair social and environmental responsibility by “connecting great projects to one another”.
With universal appeal their goal, the company makes shoes for men, women and children with their designs even having been spotted on the Duchess of Sussex.
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Whilst 53% of the shoe is made from natural and recycled materials, the rest is made from more conventional materials like ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). This material is very common in everyday life and can be found in medical equipment and clingfilm as well as being used for its shock absorbent properties in footwear. EVA is not currently a commonly recyclable material.
Thanks to VEJA’s transparency, it is possible to see areas like this where there are limitations in the availability of sustainable materials that perform well enough for these important pieces of sports equipment. Absorbing shock is vitally important in performance footwear and, whilst VEJA have managed to reduce the quantity of EVA in their shoes it is still essential to their running optimisation.
VEJA will launch the Condor at the opening of its first concept store in Paris. These running shoes will also be available online for €130.