Feb 17, 2023
by Sofia de la Cruz
VEJA Fuses Technicality and Sustainability for Its First-Ever Hiking Shoe
by Sofia de la Cruz
Feb 17, 2023

VEJA gears up toward the Spring/Summer season with the release of its very first hiking shoe. Dubbed “The Fitz Roy,” the staple continues the French footwear label’s philosophy of making ecological materials and durability accessible.

The launch also follows VEJA‘s successful collaboration with Vibram on their first outdoor style, “The Dekkan,” a silhouette made for light strolls and traveling. Meanwhile, this newly arrived technical shoe is conceived for high-performance treks and hikes and delivers advancements in both the active performance and running world.

The Fitz Roy shoe pays homage to the mountain range of the same name located on the border of Argentina and Chile — an emblematic location all hikers dream of climbing. The sacred place was first named by the Tehuelche Indians as “The Smoking Mountain,” though it was not until 1952 that two French mountaineers succeeded in climbing it for the first time.

Overall, VEJA continues to deliver technicality fused with environmental consciousness through its signature take on sustainable innovation. Specifically, the Fitz Roy includes the imprint’s newly developed water-resistant, technical material Trek-Shell, made from 100% recycled polyester and treated with a PFC-free durable water repellent.

It’s also worth mentioning that the hiking shoe is strengthened with a solid and stable sole thanks to multi-directional crampons and a rock plat built from 53% sugar cane. Furthermore, the shoe is produced in Brazil, with 43% of the material being bio-based and recycled.

The Fitz Roy arrives in colorways “Basalte Black,” “Full Black,” “Gravel Nautico,” “Gravel Ice” and “Gravel Pierre” and delivers a modern silhouette along with a high-performance sole featuring a rocker shape for safety and stability. It is also equipped with a cushioned and comfortable tongue as well as an elastic band to hold the laces.

Just prior to the official release, we caught up with VEJA‘s Co-Founder Sébastien Kopp on what the label wanted to achieve with the release and whether there’s anything we ought to be looking for in the future.

How did this shoe come about? Did you start with a particular problem to solve, or is it an evolution of another shoe or something else?

The VEJA line consists mostly of city sneakers, so designing the Fitz Roy was a natural step for us. We needed this shoe to be able to travel to the Amazonian Forest or throughout Brazil. We also were on a mission to look in the field for ecological raw materials. The Fitz Roy really is designed for functionality, a shoe for hikers seeking to escape in nature. We launched our running shoe line in 2019, and I’d say this is an extension of it.

Did you accomplish what you set out to do?

Yes, we actually tested it ourselves. The VEJA team organized hikes to try the shoes in the French Alps, the Amazonian rainforest and California. We were honestly amazed by the results: it is completely waterproof with a tough canvas covered with a natural material. We use our typical wild Amazonian rubber, a sugar cane in the soles and a rock plate in Pebax. We wanted it to be different, which is why we designed the curbs of the shoes as mountains.

What do you ultimately want its wearers to experience?

A solid shoe you can use in nature but also wear in the city. A lot of young activists are already wearing VEJA, and we were thinking of them when we designed the Fitz Roy.

How can this shoe evolve?

We have so many ideas. The testers were really happy about the soles, the grip, the protection, and the fact it can be both waterproof and warm in cold weather. We are now working on a second version for lighter weather, which will be out next year.

The Fitz Roy is available to buy, directly from Veja and from other selected retailers. And, elsewhere, in other sneaker news, Stüssy‘s plant-based collaboration with Nike – the Nike Air Penny 2 – has received a toned-down makeover and an accompanying apparel capsule.