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 Today, in the relentless pursuit of ultimate running shoe performance, New Balance are undoubtedly an innovative powerhouse with a strong fanbase. In this article, we’ll be looking back to the brands origins and more specifically, taking a deeper dive into the modern day classic FuelCell line up.

So, if you’re reading this wondering what exactly FuelCell foam is and which shoe you should choose for your rotation, keep reading. We’ve got you covered!

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THE ORIGIN

To reach the origin of VEJA, we have to take a trip back to 2003 when founders Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion were deeply troubled by the working and living conditions in a Chinese clothing factory whilst carrying out a social audit for a French fashion brand. 

VEJA was born as a direct result of this experience and subsequent endeavours working for international Fair-Trade corporations. Sébastien and François therefore made it their mission to reinvent a symbolic product of our generation that we all wear every day. Shoes.

They identified that statistically speaking, when purchasing shoes from a major brand, only 30% of that cost related to raw materials and production with a whopping 70% spent on advertising. So, what happens if you reallocate that advertising budget? You end up with a product that can be up to 5 times more expensive to produce ensuring all workers in the manufacturing process are paid fairly, whilst still offering the product at the same standard retail price to the consumer.

So, at 25 years of age, with shallow pockets but equipped with a good educational background and family support, Sébastien and François take the ultimate leap of faith and flew to Brazil to source raw materials and discover unionised factories to begin bringing their dream to reality.

POST PETROLEUM RUNNING SHOES?

Now, the VEJA story is a fascinating one that could be a full stand-alone article, but you probably came here to learn how this bold move to create a sustainable shoe translates to running right? Let us explain.
It is currently reported that 99% of running shoes in production today are composed of plastics. 99% of these plastics are derived from petroleum. We’ve all seen the documentaries, the shocking images of plastic waste washed up on shores, entangled in wildlife. So why isn’t more being done to resolve this well-known issue responsible for ecological catastrophe?

Enter VEJA and their first splash into the world of running shoes, the Condor. The original Condor was created back in 2019 and promised to be the world’s first post-petroleum running shoe on the market.

This neutral road running shoe consisted of 53% recycled or renewable materials whilst attempting to maintain a balance between sustainability and performance. Since then, the Condor has now been released in its 2nd iteration along with a fresh addition to the running line-up, the Marlin.
VEJA Condor 2 - Tech Grid Mens

VEJA CONDOR 2

Equipped with feedback from the running community on its predecessor, the VEJA Condor 2 features key updates with the aim to improve overall running performance.

So how would the Condor 2 fit into your current rotation? The shoe is aimed at the environmentally conscious consumer looking for a highly versatile and durable trainer for long runs, easy days and recovery miles. The Condor 2 sits at 301g in a men’s UK 8.5 and is comprised of 27mm stack in the heel and 17mm in the forefoot for a traditional 10mm offset.

Where the shoe gets particularly interesting, is when we take a look under the hood and explore the material make up of this truly unique running shoe. The heel counter is constructed from 100% rinicus oil, the inner lining from 100% recycled plastic bottles, the midsole combines TPU with 51% sugar cane and 5% banana oil, whilst the outsole is 31% rice waste!

SHOP VEJA CONDOR 2

VEJA MARLIN

Aptly named after one of the fastest fish in the ocean, the Marlin is the most recent addition to the growing VEJA running shoe arsenal and is targeted more towards runners looking for a lightweight and responsive underfoot feel.

With a 6mm drop, and weighing in at 288g, the Marlin features a more minimalistic build designed to keep the legs feeling peppy as you bank those quicker miles, without being a cost to the environment. Multidirectional outsole flex grooves provide strategic flexibility to create a more natural gait cycle whilst an L-foam insert in both the heel and forefoot ensures shock absorption and up to 80% energy return.

Similar to the Condor 2, the Marlin boasts fantastic sustainability merit with 62% of the shoe being made from bio-based or recycled materials.

Forget carbon plates, if you’re in the market for a tempo day shoe without the carbon footprint, the VEJA Marlin could be right up your street!

SHOP VEJA MARLIN
VEJA have long been synonymous with stellar sustainability merit and we are proud to stock a brand committed to a better future. We hope they inspire other market leaders to do the same. You can shop the full VEJA running shoe line up for men and women HERE.

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