VEJA, the French sustainable sneaker brand, lands in Madrid

Address: C/ Barquillo, 44 (Madrid)
Hours: From Monday to Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

After Paris, New York, and Berlin, Madrid has become the next step for VEJA. The French sustainable sneaker brand has opened its new flagship store in Las Salesas/Justicia, a vibrant neighborhood that serves as a hub for artists, artisans, trendy cafes, and cool shops.

Located on the ground floor of a V-shaped building, VEJA‘s store in Madrid features large windows and a typical Spanish courtyard aesthetic in a space of 190 square meters.

“VEJA chooses Madrid to continue its expansion in retail.”

Plantea Estudio x VEJA

For the interior project, the VEJA team worked closely with the architects of Plantea Estudio to preserve the existing elements of the building and add only what was necessary. The space was designed to be minimalist and contemporary, featuring a blend of raw and modern materials such as wood, bricks, and concrete.

Regarding the interior, the team acquired furniture from local antique shops to incorporate vintage style into the store, and they also added custom-made neon art pieces by Brazilian artist Kleber Matheus to give it a touch of modern art.

This evocative new hotspot features a space to host events for inspiring projects and individuals. It also includes a corner where an expert cobbler cleans, repairs, and restores sneakers and shoes, regardless of the brand. VEJA‘s repair project started in 2020 in Darwin, Bordeaux.

The store’s energy source comes from Eni Plenitude, a renewable energy provider.

Ecological Materials and Fair and Ethical Productions

Since 2005, VEJA has been creating sneakers in a different way, giving special importance to social projects, economic justice, and ecological materials:

Organic and agroecological cotton: Sourced from Brazil and Peru, and used in both canvas and laces. This cotton is produced by farmer associations in Brazil and Peru who cultivate it with respect for people and the environment, according to fair trade principles.

Amazonian rubber: Used for the soles – VEJA buys rubber directly from cooperatives formed by families of seringueiros (rubber tappers) from the Amazon. They tap the rubber trees using a traditional technique that allows for tree regeneration. This activity contributes to protecting the forest by avoiding deforestation and intensive cattle farming. The price paid per kilo of natural rubber by VEJA is 5 times higher than the market price -, and innovative materials made from recycled polyester.

Recycled polyester: VEJA has created innovative meshes made from 100% recycled polyester, shredded into flakes and then transformed into fibers in one of their factories in Brazil. Both their meshes and Trek Shell, Ripstop, V-Knit, Alveomesh, Engineered-Mesh, and B-Mesh are made from 100% recycled polyester. VEJA also develops fabrics made from recycled polyester blended with organic cotton, such as Flannel and Hexamesh. These innovative fabrics are lightweight, flexible, water-repellent, and durable.

Bovine leather: Sourced from southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and farms in Uruguay, a country known for its livestock culture and the quality of its leather. The leather is tanned in Brazil without using hazardous or prohibited chemicals. VEJA uses conventional dyes that comply with regulations. Special attention is paid to water usage during the tanning process.

O.T. Leather: Made from the softest leather sourced by VEJA. O.T. leather (Organic Traced leather) comes from farms in Uruguay certified 100% organic. This type of leather undergoes a mechanical beating process that makes it thin and flexible. The cattle from which O.T. leather is obtained don’t come from deforested areas and aren’t exposed to pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers, or antibiotics.

“In 2022, 5% of the organic cotton purchased by VEJA in Peru is certified as Regenerative Organic Certified® cotton.”

Chrome-free leather: Sourced from farms located in southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul) and undergoes an innovative tanning process that does not use chromium, heavy metals, or dangerous acids. By simplifying the tanning process, the use of chemicals and energy is limited, water usage is reduced by approximately 40%, and salt usage is reduced by 80%. After tanning, the water is recyclable.

C.W.L.: In 2019, they began using C.W.L., a vegan material. This fabric, which is 54% biodegradable, is manufactured in Brazil and retains the appearance, feel, and waterproofing of leather. Their C.W.L. is made with 100% organic cotton canvas, coated with P.U., corn starch, and castor oil.

The production of VEJA sneakers takes place in high-standard factories located in Brazil. Additionally, logistics for VEJA stores in Europe and e-commerce are managed by Log’ins, a company specialized in professional and social inclusion.

Thanks to this collaboration, in 2022, 200 people have found employment. In July 2022, VEJA established a mobile shoemaking workshop at Log’ins to repair pairs returned by their customers with minimal defects in order to put them back on sale.

The Unusual Travel Guides & VEJA

You can find The Unusual Travel Guide Madrid in their Madrid store as well as in two of their stores in Paris: Montmartre (16 Rue la Vieuville) and Noma (15 Rue de Poitou).

(*) Images provided by VEJA. Images of the Madrid Flagship are by Salva López.