I have a pair of Converse that I wear a lot. The slip on design makes them great for walking the dog or taking the trash out. And I've worn them for years with dresses and shorts when I want to dress them down or prefer a little extra comfort for lots of walking. But, the red line and rubber toe cap make them a little more casual and I've found myself wishing for a pair of dressier white sneakers.
I will also admit that the Converse slip-ons aren't the most comfortable pair of sneakers I've ever owned. Sure, they're more comfortable than my flats. But, the sole isn't overly cushioned and I have a strange problem with the tag on the back of the tongue sticking to the top of my foot and becoming uncomfortable after extended wear. So, I was hoping for a comfier pair of white snakers that were a little bit dressier than my Converse. To be clear, I'm not getting rid of the Converse and will probably replace them in the future when/if needed.
I figured a pair of white, leather sneakers would be my best bet to achieve the look I was going for. Of course, I took to Google to find "ethical sneaker brands" and here's what I tried:
The obvious answer was to buy a pair of Veja sneakers. So, I did just that. I picked up this pair and absolutely loved the looks of them. I found them to be ever so slightly too small and they only come in whole sizes, so I knew that sizing up a whole size would make them too big. But, I found the sole to be about the same level of comfy as my Converse and as many reviewers note, I experienced the tongue digging into my leg. Had sizing not been an issue, I would've kept them to see if I could break them in as so many reviewers promise you're able to do. I loved the off-white color and two-tone difference between the upper leather and sole. I also loved the suede patch in back. I had a hard time finding a pair of sneakers that I thought were as cute as these.
These from M. Gemi. This pair proved I didn't want a bright white pair of sneakers. I found the white to be too stark and I thought made my foot look a little big (I ordered a 39 which fit well). They were very comfortable, but also a bit bulkier than I wanted.
I did a little bit of research on Soludos and although I couldn't confirm that they are completely committed to ethical production, it seems like they were probably doing a better job than most. So, I decided to give this pair a try. They are off-white in color which I liked, but they didn't fit well so I returned them.
I broke down and ordered these from JCrew. If you know me at all, you know I'm obsessed with leopard so I had to give them a try. I think I'm in between sizes which made passing on them a little easier.
I also ordered these from Nisolo. I passed on them on first look because I thought I wanted a white sneaker. Once I learned that I wasn't into a bright white, I figured it was worth trying a pair. I loved the color way more than anticipated, but I didn't love the style (with a short vamp(?)), and the dealbreaker for me was how high the side of the shoe came up around my ankle - it caused rubbing while simply trying them on. So, back they went.
As I've mentioned before, I'm skeptical of the company's critical evaluations of certain brands, like Eileen Fisher. But, I'm happy to accept their positive rankings. And, in this case, it made me feel really good about a purchase I was struggling with.
Photos by Erin Tetterton