Are Veja sneakers worth the hype? Here’s my honest review
I tried out the V-10 and Esplar styles
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As the style editor at Reviewed, I always stay up-to-date on all of the latest trends. Perhaps the one trend I've loved the most is the rise of the casual sneaker, especially the cult-favorite Veja sneakers. After seeing a slew of Instagram ads for them, I finally broke down and got two pairs for myself—the best-selling Esplar sneakers and the V-10s—to see what the hype was all about. Here's my honest review of the Veja shoes that everyone's obsessed with and whether or not they're worth the money.
Why are Veja sneakers so popular?
Maybe it's the sleek white design or the iconic "V" logo stitched on the side, which comes in every color from basic black to neon yellow. Or maybe it's the fact that Veja was the first sustainable sneaker brand in the world, making way for other popular kicks like Allbirds. Its shoes are made with high-quality recycled materials, organic cotton, and sustainably-sourced leather.
Whatever it is, there's no denying that the French footwear brand—which sells over two million pairs of sneakers per year—has quite the cult following. Some of its most famous fans include the likes of Meghan Markle, Reese Witherspoon, Katie Holmes, and Emma Watson.
What I love about Veja sneakers
Fact: I've never felt more cool or more trendy as I did when I put on my new Vejas. The minimalist aesthetic, accentuated with the bold black "V," has that effortless French je ne sais quoi that I've never been stylish enough to pull off on my own, but with these new sneakers, I totally can. They're both subtle and eye-catching and can instantly elevate even the most casual of outfits. I got tons of compliments on them the first time I wore them, even from friends (and my dad!) who had never heard of Veja but liked the look.
More importantly, the Veja sneakers are surprisingly comfortable. Some customers seem to be split on the comfortability of these shoes, so let me clarify a few things. The sole provides an appropriate amount of cushioning and support, so my feet didn't ache after walking in them all day. However, they may take some time to break-in and should not be expected to feel as comfortable as a regular running shoe.
When it came to sizing I was a little worried, but the Veja sneakers did not disappoint. I have wider feet so I sometimes have problems with sizing, but these were forgiving enough that my foot didn't feel squished. And they weren't too big that I felt like I was slipping out of them (I wear a size 8 and these fit true to size).
What I don't like about Veja sneakers
As stylish as it may be, when it comes down to it, leather will never be the most comfortable material for a pair of shoes. Let's be honest: Even the world's highest quality leather couldn't compete with the worn-in comfort of canvas or cotton. Vejas offer great support and a well-cushioned footbed, but they're lacking in flexibility and freedom of movement due to the somewhat stiff leather exterior. Even after breaking them in, they still weren't as flexible as I prefer in a pair of walking shoes. This wouldn't deter me from recommending them—but it's something to consider when you're debating buying them for yourself.
After wearing them for a few months, I have also learned that they aren't the most breathable sneakers in the world. My feet get sweaty in them very easily, and if I wear them for a couple of hours walking around, my socks are soaked to the point I have to change them out for a fresh pair.
Are Veja sneakers worth buying?
If you're willing to spend a little extra on a quality pair of casual shoes, then yes, I recommend Veja sneakers. To be totally honest, I think they're worth the $120 for the brand recognition alone—i.e. unlike some shoes (like Keds) that you can easily buy knock-off versions of, there is no alternative to the unique design and branding of the Veja sneaks. They're also decently comfortable and very versatile, so you'll get a lot of wear out of them.
I wouldn't recommend Veja sneakers for those who want to specifically use them for walking. I can happily wear my Vejas for running errands, shopping, or general everyday life, but if you're walking miles and miles every single day, you might want to look elsewhere for a shoe that's a little heavier duty and flexible, like the very popular Allbirds, which some of our staff own and love.
What are the most popular types of Veja shoes?
Veja offers nearly 20 different styles of women’s shoes to choose from, with the V-10 and Esplar designs (the two that I purchased), as well as the V-LOCK and Campo styles being some of the most popular options.
The V-10s have that classic sneaker look that can be worn with virtually anything. Their appeal stems from their versatility as they can effortlessly pair well with leggings or jeans, and they’re the perfect option when you want to wear some comfortable (yet cute) shoes with your favorite summer dress.
This style has a similar look to the V-10s, but the Veja V-LOCK shoes have 3 velcro straps rather than traditional laces. This change in design gives somewhat of a 90s vibe to the shoe and can make it slightly easier to slip them on and off if you’re running out the door in a hurry.
The Esplar design has a lower profile and slightly less support than the V-10s. They may not be quite as flexible and can take a little time to break-in, but if you’re a fan of a less bulky sneaker, then these may be the style that you’re more fond of.
When looking at the Veja Campo sneakers it may be hard to distinguish them from the Esplars. They greatly resemble one another, but they do have a few key differences. The Campos run a little wider and have a slightly thicker sole as opposed to the narrow design of the Esplar sneakers.
What size Veja sneakers should you get?
Veja only sells shoes in whole sizes, and the brand’s recommendation is to size down if you’re in between sizes. However, I’d recommend looking at the specific size chart for the shoe style that you intend to purchase before finalizing your decision.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.