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Health & Fitness

Marlin V-Knit vs. Condor 2 Alveomesh: Which Veja sneaker is better for running?

It’s no contest: This pair came out on top.

Two white running shoes stacked against a pair of black running shoes. Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

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You may know the southern Brazil-based sneaker brand Veja for its sustainability initiatives or the iconic “V” on its clean, modern designs. But the brand also launched a line of running shoes in 2019 as a way to bring its eco-minded spirit to the running world. Two of Veja’s running options—the Marlin V-Knit and the Condor 2 Alveomesh—have attracted attention for their combination of style and purported comfort and support. But how do they compare to stalwarts from big-name running brands such as Adidas, Brooks, and Nike? We put the Marlin and the Condor 2 head to head to see which sneaker came out on top, and the winner is obvious.

What are the Veja Marlin V-Knit and Veja Condor 2 Alveomesh running shoes?

Two pairs of running shoes surrounded by gym equipment.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Veja's Marlins and Condor 2s are designed to cover a variety of distances and training types.

The Marlin V-Knit and the Condor 2 Alveomesh are both considered neutral running shoes, meaning they don’t provide extra stability for feet that overpronate (collapse inward as you step).

The Marlin is considered a lightweight all-terrain performance shoe, designed for days when you want to pick up the pace. According to Veja, the Marlin’s upper is made of one layer of V-Knit fabric stitched together with Pebax inserts, a plastic made from renewable resources, ensuring that the shoes provide lightweight yet eco-friendly support.

The Condor 2 is designed to be an everyday trainer for road or trail running. While the original Condor earned accolades for its eco-friendly construction—recycled Amazonian rubber and plastic bottles, with an insole and outsole made primarily of sugar cane—the Condor 2 is a more lightweight version of the original. It has less polyester mesh in the upper for improved breathability, a one-piece EVA midsole that flexes and provides support as you run, and a thinner textured rubber sole for improved traction.

Both shoes are designed to be versatile enough to handle a variety of distances and types of training. Veja claims that Marlin “is adjusted for intense runs,” providing “lightness and dynamism” and the Condor 2 as “the go-to shoe for long runs, easy runs, and recovery sessions.” For that purpose, the Marlins are slightly lighter, coming in at 10.2 ounces for a size 8.5 compared to the Condor 2’s 10.6 ounces for a size 9. (That said, plenty of other brands offer running shoes that are far lighter—even half as heavy.)

There’s a price to pay for being eco-friendly and fashionable, though: The Marlin V-Knit costs $195 while the Condor 2 Alveomesh starts at $170—quite the investment, considering a pair of tried-and-true runners like Brooks Ghost sneakers will run you $140 and a pair of Nike Pegasus, $130.

Comfort

A person ties the shoelaces of running shoes.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The wider toe box inside the Marlins created greater comfort than the Condor 2s.

There’s no doubt about it: The Marlins are superior to the Condor 2s when it comes to comfort, mainly due to their wider toe box. It allows your toes more wiggle room while minimizing friction and cramping as you walk and run. The fabric of the shoes itself also feels more flexible and lightweight when compared with the Alveomesh fabric used in the Condor 2s. The heel tab is also nicely cushioned, which makes for a more comfortable stride.

Despite these attributes, I didn't find either shoe to be on-par with my go-to running shoes. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Adidas runners, thanks to their narrower fit. For those who also prefer a more glovelike feel, it’s worth noting that the Condor 2s are too narrow even for me. After several light 30-minute jogs, my feet felt cramped and chafed—I developed a few tender spots but no outright blisters, though I could see them coming from more sustained wear. Though everyone’s feet are different, these shoes are likely too narrow for most and would only suit those with extremely slender feet. There’s less room in the toe box and the fabric throughout the shoe feels stiffer overall, which could also lead to hot spots and blisters.

Our pick: Marlin V-Knit

Support

Two pairs of running shoes sit next to exercise equipment.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

Both the Condor 2 and the Marlins offered decent support.

The Marlins provided a decent level of support throughout my walks and runs. I didn’t notice anything exceptionally good or poor about their arch support, and I think they would be a good fit for anyone who doesn’t require extra cushioning. My feet never felt sore after using these sneakers and I didn’t notice any strains, injuries, or shin splints that can often be caused by wearing unsupportive shoes.

The Condor 2s felt like they had a more supportive heel than the Marlins. Which makes sense, as the heel is thicker: The Condor 2s have a 10mm heel-to-toe drop compared to the Marlin’s 6mm. This could make them a better choice if you enjoy taking long walks or you run with a significant heel strike, but I didn’t notice a significant difference in support between the two. However, in addition to their thicker heel, the Condor 2’s feel stiffer all around, which could mean you’re compromising on comfort.

Our pick: It’s a tie.

Breathability

1) A person runs outside in a park. 2) A person wears white running shoes on their feet.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The Marlins' mesh weave allowed for greater ventilation inside the shoe.

The Marlins are far more breathable than the Condor 2s. The mesh weave on the toes is more open allowing for greater ventilation that keeps my feet nice and cool during sweaty workouts. The fabric throughout the rest of the shoes, though not ventilated, feels lightweight, flexible, and breathable, even when I wore them outside in hot weather.

The Condor 2s didn’t make my feet feel totally suffocated during hot workouts, but they are less breathable than the Marlins. The upper’s fabric feels thicker and heavier, and the toe is partially covered in plastic, blocking airflow through the front of the shoe. While the Condors were fine for late-night jogs or walks in cooler weather, my feet felt quite sweaty after mid-day jogs.

Our pick: Marlin V-Knit

And the winner is…

Veja Marlin V-Knit

A pair of white running shoes sits next to a jumprope.
Credit: Reviewed / Tim Renzi

The Marlin V-Knit easily came out on top in our tests.

It’s no contest: The Marlin V-Knits beat the Condor 2 Alveomesh wins by a mile. From the moment I put these shoes on my feet, I could tell the Marlins were lighter and more breathable, and they stayed that way during testing. The flexible fabric moves with my stride, and they offer decent support and cushioning to ensure my feet and legs are comfortable.

If you’re a serious runner, you likely already have a favorite sneaker brand, and neither of Veja’s running shoes may be the right option to replace your go-tos. Both the Nike Pegasus and Brooks Ghost are lighter than Veja’s shoes, and they’re known for their superior comfort and support, which they offer at a lower price. But if you’re a fan of Veja footwear for the sustainability aspect or the aesthetics, the Marlins are the way to go as far as runners are concerned.

$195 at Veja

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.