It’s practically inevitable: If you work in the same office and see each other almost every day, eventually you start to talk alike, laugh at very specific jokes, and (yes) buy the same things. With Strategist Hive Mind, we’re documenting the things we bought that — whoops — lots of our colleagues did, too.
When the Cut posted a piece on the quiet cult of Veja sneakers in October, it was only a matter of time before a dozen staffers began trotting around the office in pairs of their own. The current sneaker moment — white, ugly, clunky — is loud, but a lot of folks at New York are digging Veja, the French sneakers for those seeking non-shouty footwear. Below, we talked with eleven people on staff about why they love their extremely similar shoes.
This is one of the most popular Vejas among us, with three different people on staff owning a pair. “These are the first stylish sneaker that I’ve found that I can wear in ages,” says New York magazine photo director Jody Quon. “I took my daughter to London for a mom-daughter trip, we saw them in the store, and I thought, Hmm, I could maybe do this. They are so comfortable, I wear them with everything.” The magazine’s features director Genevieve Smith says, “I liked that they were, at the time I got them, a little unknown,” though she and Strategist managing editor Maxine Builder both mention one part of the V-10 that requires breaking in. “The tongue of the sneaker really rubbed my ankle raw for the first dozen wears,” says Builder, but man, it’s been worth the effort, because these sneakers work with every outfit from a T-shirt and jeans to a flowy dress.”
Three other staffers prefer this style for its more low-key profile. “In previous years, I’ve had Vans, Chucks, some silvery high-top Nikes that I really loved but which weren’t so adaptable to various silhouettes,” says the magazine’s editorial director Noreen Malone. “These Vejas go with most everything. I ordered the most neutral pair I could find, and I think they’re a bit more polished than my previous white sneakers, and they’re more supportive, too.” The minimal shape is flattering without feeling too dainty, and “the leather, which has a slight sheen, also wears well through the city’s standard grime and elements,” says the Cut branded content editor Katie O’Donnell. When it comes to those other ubiquitous white sneakers, Grub Street intern Yanam Sar likes that these Vejas “are less chunky that Stan Smiths, but Common Projects-adjacent enough, minus the $400 price tag.”
Non-leather sneakers “that aren’t frumpy or prohibitively expensive, à la Stella McCartney” aren’t so easy to come by says editorial assistant Rachel Bashein. But these ticked all the boxes: Vegan, not all white, but still neutral. “They’re popular enough to be edging toward played out, but I think I’m safe with the vegan styles — they’re not as popular.”
The V-10 comes in a range of colors, but Vulture social media editor Clare Palo opted for the ones with an off-white sole and extra-white “V” logo. “The style I have feels less branded, and I love that the slightly different color sole gives the allusion of more height. They’re also super comfy. I wear them with almost everything, particularly wide-leg jeans, pants, and jumpsuits.”
The Veja V-12 is appealingly chunky, but still sits outside the “ugly sneaker” trend. “I’m a Brooklyn mom, a wearer of clogs and jumpsuits,” says Izzy Grinspan. “I knew I couldn’t pull off this new giant puffy silhouette with a distinct Bernie Sanders vibe. Then I found a pair of V-12s, which don’t look wildly wrong on someone who’s old enough to remember the ’90s.” Their ethical-ness continues to be widely appealing: “I try to only wear things that are sustainable, and Veja is one of the best ethical brands I know of,” says the Cut fashion writer Sarah Spellings. And while their ability to work with all kinds of outfits has been documented, the V-12s are still a really solid sneaker. “The beauty of Veja is that I can pair them with more feminine dresses to wear to events — it often feels more stylish than wearing heels — but I’ve also worn them hiking, occasionally to the gym, and with jeans.”
But not every staffer is walking around in a white pair of Vejas. “I mostly like them because if I want to act like I’ve dressed up for work but haven’t, they add a little flash even though they’re still just sneakers,” says nymag.com video director Fritzie Andrade. “They’re basically the only sneakers I wear because they don’t look terrible on my giant feet and use nice materials.”