UPDATE—March 16, 2021: Good news: Veja’s beloved Esplar sneaker—the crisp, white walking shoe Meghan Markle wears on repeat—is marked down through March 21 as part of Bandier’s epic Friends & Family sale. The black and white classic rarely goes on sale, but it’s up for grabs for 30% off right now, making it only $84 instead of the usual $120.
Sizes are practically sold out in the B&W version, but we found two other top-rated styles—the Esplar in white leather and brushed suede and the chunkier V-10 model in red and navy—worth adding to cart if you want to snag a discounted pair (any pair!) while you can.
ORIGINAL STORY—March 21, 2019: I didn’t appreciate the value of comfortable shoes until I turned 26. Before then, I walked around New York City exclusively in a pair of high-heeled Chelsea boots. Before long I ended up with several fractured bones in my foot, and my doctor blamed my shoes. Turns out you should change up your footwear more often. Lesson learned: I needed to find a pair of comfortable yet chic sneakers to wear instead.
On my search for the perfect pair, I tried out several popular styles, like the Adidas Superstar shell-toe and the Nike Cortez. They had the “elevated” part down with their minimal color-block designs, but they never really stood up over time. (I walk a lot.) I needed to buy a new pair every three or four months, which was an inconvenience for my wallet (not to mention terrible for the environment). So I started to research brands that might be more sustainable. That’s when I came across Veja, an ethical footwear brand that has developed a cult following.
I’d scrolled by actors (like Emma Watson and Emily Ratajkowski) and influencers (like Jacey Duprie from Damsel in Dior) alike sporting the same minimal sneakers on Instagram without tapping “purchase.” What finally convinced to buy my own? A royal Veja spotting. After I saw Meghan Markle break out her Veja sneakers during her Australian tour with Prince Harry, I decided I must have them in my life.
I’ve always been a fan of Markle’s laid-back style and admire how she uses her spotlight to promote smaller, eco-friendly brands. She wore her Vejas with a casual black top and jeans, somehow looking much more stylish than I do when I roll down the street to get my coffee on the weekends. If these sneakers are good enough for a duchess, I thought, then they’re certainly good enough for me. Unfortunately, the rest of the world felt that way too. The exact style of shoes I wanted were sold out nearly everywhere I looked—both in-store and online.