It can be difficult to find shoes that are both ethical and fashionable. Even more challenging is that those shoes are also comfy. That’s why I chose to write this VIVAIA review, so you’ll know what to anticipate from a product that claims to offer it all.
I learned about VIVAIA a few months ago and knew I wanted to give it a go. As an ethical shopper and fashion enthusiast, I am always on the lookout for innovative items, especially sustainable footwear. So I purchased two pairs of shoes at VIVAIA and put them to the test by taking them on a three-week holiday tour throughout Spain, where I needed to be comfortable while still looking fabulous! Here’s a summary of my findings.
Summary: I’ve never worn shoes as fashionable and comfortable as VIVAIA. They are not only ethical and beneficial for the environment, but also look fantastic. They come in casual or formal designs and are all stylish and feminine. One downside is that the products ship from China, which could increase CO2 emissions from transportation. In addition, recycled PET is not biodegradable.
Are you still wondering if VIVAIA shoes are worth it? This review will give you some guidelines to answer that for yourself. Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about VIVAIA shoes.
VIVAIA shoes overview
VIVAIA was launched in 2020 to create beautiful, eco-friendly, and comfortable footwear. They have established a range of luxury and fashion-forward footwear with excellent quality and timeless silhouettes and at a reasonable price, intending to make a good influence on both the globe and the people.
The brilliant team at VIVAIA has developed a zero-waste approach using recycled materials and 3D technology to create a seamless 3D knitted, comfortable and functional fabric.
Now, let us examine the features of VIVAIA, as well as analyze its pros and cons in detail.
Stylish and comfortable
From flats to boots to sneakers to heels and even sandals are available at VIVAIA. There’s a style to fit any event or environment. Simple and elegant, with a wide range of colors to suit all tastes and seasons, their look is the perfect complement for any wardrobe. The 3D knitted fabric is featured on all of them.
Vienna pointed flats in the Deep Ebony hue were the perfect choice for my experiment because they look well with anything. I also bought a pair of Cream Ivory Eileen round-toe loafers because I wanted to see how clean they would stay and if washing them would make them seem new again.
The flats are super comfortable, and I can speak from personal experience. These flats are the comfiest pair I’ve ever worn. They are that good. People have also complimented them because of their unique look, thanks to the 3D knitted fabric!
Because of the knitted fabric’s adaptability to foot form, the shoe wraps your feet like a sock and changes shape as you walk. I have narrow feet, but I believe they would easily adapt to any shape and width of feet.
I only wore these pair of shoes in the spring and summer. They are very breathable, which is essential to keep your skin as fresh as possible. I’ve never worn these beautiful shoes in the winter, but I’d rather have a pair of their exquisite booties blended with wool for that season. They’re just as stylish. To be honest, I’m excited about it!
Recycled and sustainable materials
VIVAIA’s 3D knitted fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles. The material is also known as rPET. According to the VIVAIA’s website, the plastic bottles are supplied from carefully selected vendors and companies that satisfy their sustainability requirements and recycle discarded plastics from the ocean.
In a nutshell, waste plastic bottles are collected and cleaned from the ocean before being chopped into small bits and extruded into threads. The threads are put into their high-tech 3D knitting machine, outfitted with their proprietary design and algorithm.
Benefits of recycled PET:
- Recycled PET produces less CO2 emissions than virgin PET.
- The method combats plastic pollution in landfills and seas. Six recycled bottles can form a new pair of shoes.
- It improves supply chain visibility. Some producers employ tags to track rPET from collection to manufacturing.
Problems with recycled PET:
- Recycled polyester fabric or textile cannot be recycled into another fabric. Even though it is possible in some cases (using chemical recycling), it worsens the material quality becomes worse, making the textile inferior to virgin polyester. In that sense, recycling just delays the inevitable landfilling of plastic.
- Many textiles include polyester combined with other materials, making fabric-to-fabric recycling problematic – But it doesn’t seem to be the case with VIVAIA, as most of their products are made using only PET.
- Microplastics are not addressed by recycled PET. Every time we wash garments made of virgin or recycled polyester, microplastics are discharged into the atmosphere.
In conclusion, while recycled polyester is better than virgin polyester, it does not assist with circularity. So we should utilize and consume it with care. To reduce microplastic contamination, customers can buy rPET products that do not require regular cleaning, like bags or shoes, which is the case with VIVAIA products.
All in all, producing shoes from discarded PET bottles is not a bad idea since the one-time-use plastic is recycled into a product that will be used several times, potentially for years, and at the same time, it doesn’t need to be washed as frequently as clothing. More importantly, the knit technology also reduces waste in production because each upper is knit from a single piece of yarn rather than being cut, sewed, and glued together, as is the case with traditional uppers.
Another material that VIVAIA uses for the outsole of their products is wool. Wool is a natural fiber derived from sheep or goat hair and is used to make fabric. Sheep’s wool is made of a fibrous protein known as keratin, which may also be found in animal hair and skin.
Animal hairs are spun into yarn to create wool. Shearing the wool-bearing animals are the first stage. Bales of wool are formed after they have been washed and sorted.
Wool fibers are cleaned and sorted before being carded into long strands. Woolen materials, such as clothes or shoes, are created by weaving the spun yarn into the fabric.
Wool is a superb insulator and one of the most environmentally friendly apparel materials available. There is, however, one drawback to using wool: it cannot be labeled as vegan or cruelty-free because it is made from animals.
The insole, made of natural herbs and PU foam, is cushiony, supportive, breathable, mold-proof, and moisture-wicking, preventing stinky feet even in high heat and humidity.
The herbal component, Artemisia argyi, is what gives the insoles their magical properties. The leaves of this plant are employed in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and it is the most popular in China and eastern Asia. Since ancient times, it has been used to treat illnesses and infections caused by bacteria, fungus, and viruses.
The soles are made of carbon-free rubber, which gives them a very elastic and flexible feel that is also shock-resistant, fungi-proof, and odor-resistant.
The heels are also quite interesting. For example, Stella’s heel collection is a superb illustration of VIVAIA’s ongoing creativity. ABS, the same plastic that Lego is constructed of, was used to create the heels. The plastic can quickly melt and reform, but most significantly, it is recyclable.
VIVAIA uses long-lasting upcycled materials in a robust knitted construction in all of its lines. Some collections are machine washable, while others are not. Check to see if the item you’re interested in can be machine washed since most heels cannot.
I followed the recommendations on VIVAIA’s website to wash my pair of flats after three weeks of continual usage, and I must say it was pretty simple. All you have to do is the following:
- Take off the insole – I was surprised at how easy it detaches.
- Put the shoes in a washing pouch and drop them in the washing machine.
- Use a mild detergent.
- Wash in cold water on “delicate” – don’t use hot water because it can affect the color and shape of your shoes.
- Allow them to air dry – don’t use hot air as it can affect the shape of your shoes.
To top it all off, the VIVAIA shoe unboxing was a memorable one for me. Because it’s made entirely of recycled cardboard, the packaging looks great and gives you a good feeling about your purchase.
It also serves as an educational tool and helps to inspire customers to recycle and upcycle the box in the future. These may appear to be insignificant elements, but they demonstrate the company’s concern for the environment and its desire to inform its consumers.
If we compare VIVAIA’s prices with a similar product, Rothy’s shoes, we can see that VIVAIA is reasonably priced. For example, a pair of pointy flats sell for around $79 at VIVAIA; meanwhile, Rothy’s counterpart is almost twice the price. Other similar products, such as the Allbirds Tree Breezers or Everlane’s The Day Glove in ReKnit , are also a bit more expensive.
So, after all, it seems that VIVAIA has a competitive price. Still, pricing is relative and VIVAIA can be considered costly for some people, especially when you can get flats for a fraction of the price – without so many of the benefits, of course.
In terms of size, I didn’t have any problems with VIVAIA. For me, both of the flats are true to size. So, in this case, I didn’t have to reach to their customer service, since I was happy with my items. But the company has great reviews at trust pilot and most of the people say their customer service is helpful. However, there are some comments complaining about the return process being cumbersome.
Place of origin
VIVAIA shoes are manufactured in Dongguan, China. The fact that VIVAIA chose to manufacture their shoes at a plant in China has sparked a great deal of controversy, and that’s reasonable.
They opt to manufacture their shoes in a separate nation while having US headquarters. Before settling on one, they researched several factories to make sure they would meet their criteria for excellent quality, pricing, efficiency, environmental effect, and working conditions.
According to their website, they realized a factory in China met all the points described above. They also perform regular inspections to ensure that the working environment and production process remain safe and healthy. They also create their items mainly with the use of machinery. In addition, some of the factory’s power comes from renewable sources.
VIVAIA claims that everyone’s hard work is being praised and ensures adequate rest and remuneration for their workers.
The fact that VIVAIA discloses this information also talks about the transparency of the company.
VIVAIA footwear is, without a doubt, both comfortable and fashionable. High-end technology is used to manufacture these zero-waste shoes, in addition to the usage of recycled and natural materials, making them an environmentally responsible option. VIVAIA also pays attention to the more nuanced aspects, such as the packaging.
Their product’s pricing is competitive and even more reasonable than comparable ones, despite their seeming heftiness.
The fact that the shoes are created in China is a concern, but at the very least, the firm is open about it and has established some regulations. We can only trust that the information presented is accurate.