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Road Running Shoes • March 28, 2024

Veja Condor 3 Review: French New Wave of Running

veja condor 3 - feature

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What You Need To Know

Weight

12.3 oz. (348 g) for a US M10.5

Stack Height / Drop

37 mm in heel, 29 mm in forefoot (8 mm drop)

Best For

Running

Key Features

Bio-based midsole that actually feels great, engineered mesh upper with bootie interior, sawtooth laces, great outsole coverage

On The Run
Looks amazing Great for shorter runs and lifestyle wear Fairly heavy
Price / Availability

Available now for $200

veja condor 3 - feature 2

Veja Condor 3

Introduction to the Veja Condor 3

ROBBE: Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably seen the Veja at this point. Most likely not in the running scene, more likely on the feet of fashionable women (i.e. the cool mom crowd). They’re the London bridge that keeps the royal family together, as they’ve been spotted on the feet of both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. 

What’s interesting about Veja’s rise in popularity over the last few years is that the brand has tried everything possible to not become popular. The French brand has zero advertising or marketing spend. There are no influencer partnerships or targeted social media ads. Everyone you see wearing them? They bought those shoes. It’s all organic, word-of-mouth growth. (Full transparency: as with every review on Believe in the Run, we received free samples in exchange for an honest review).

veja condor 3 - heel

Veja has been intent on slow growth and doing things the right way. You hear it a lot in this industry– look how sustainable we are! We use recycled materials and bio-based midsoles! But then you find out that everything is sourced from all corners of the globe, shipped via ocean liner or jet plane to a factory in southeast Asia where they’re built with cheap labor, then shipped or flown again across the world.

Veja, however, sources and produces everything in one country– Brazil. From the Amazonian rubber to the organic cotton for canvas and laces to the factories it uses, it all comes from the same place (some cotton is sourced from Peru).

All Brazilian workers live close by and are ensured quality housing, freedom to unionize, good living standards and fair pay, as well as employee benefits. Their main factory offers a shared bus service and ensures proper housing with electricity and water, which is not owned by the factory. The employees have four weeks of vacation per year, with 44 hour work weeks and two days off. Good luck finding another shoe brand that replicates those values. In two of the factories, employees receive an annual share of profits.

They aren’t beholden to a yearly calendar release, updating models with the only intention of selling more. They intentionally design each shoe with a timeless aesthetic, hoping that what they make now will last far into the future.

If you want to learn more about their values, you can check it out here, but I should probably move onto the actual review.

But first, a quick back story. Despite their clean aesthetics and pop culture popularity, their past versions of running shoes were, how do I say this… absolutely awful. We received the original Condor back in 2020, and I’m not sure why. There are few times when a shoe is so bad that we don’t review it at all and just provide direct feedback to a brand, mainly because we wouldn’t be able to write a “good” section. That shoe was one of them. The midsole wasn’t dead, it was petrified. The fit was big, the design was mediocre. It wasn’t a running shoe and honestly, it wasn’t really a sustainable shoe, because it probably went in the trash for anyone who bought it.

We skipped version two, and when we heard the Condor 3 was coming, we were less than enthused. Nevertheless, they had a booth at The Running Event in December, so we swung by just to take a look. While we were there, we tried a pair on. Immediately, we knew this was a different Veja; it was apparent that some major improvements were made in the past few years since we last tried the brand. The step-in feel was soft and comfortable, the look was on point, the upper felt great. Of course, we hadn’t properly run in it yet, but there was reason enough to be excited.

Well, we’ve run in it now. So let’s get into the review.

veja condor 3 - vertical wall
veja condor 3 - tongue vertical

What we like about the Veja Condor 3

ROBBE: I’ve already said it, but if a shoe looks great out of the gate, then we have at least something to work with. I love the aesthetics of this shoe. It maintains the simplistic spirit of Veja while giving just a touch of flair that makes it stand out. Not just from its peers, but from the other models under the Veja roof. It goes well with anything, balancing a sporty look with a touch of upper class cool. 

I went a half-size down, and that was the perfect fit. The engineered mesh upper wraps the foot nicely thanks to the structural TPU overlays and the flat, gusseted tongue with an integrated bootie. Sawtooth laces (our favorite) come standard with the shoe, which is just a nice touch because you mostly only see them in race day shoes. A flared heel collar allows for ease of entry but there’s no heel slippage on the run. The removable insole provides a nice extra layer of cushion and the rear Pebax panels provide added support.

 

veja condor 3 - stairs front

On the run, the shoe feels really nice. I’ll be honest, I was a bit shocked at how good it felt, based on prior experiences with the Condor. The midsole this time around is made from 43% sugarcane-based EVA and 27% Amazonian rubber. The remaining portion is a bouncy EVA, which feels much like a Hoka Clifton or a softer Nike Pegasus. 

Before I dive into the next part, there’s a lot of people who need to hear this: you shouldn’t be wearing a Saucony Triumph or Brooks Ghost on a vacation to Paris or even a date night at your favorite restaurant. Kids baseball game or mowing the lawn? Fine. But do better when it comes to doing better. 

The Veja Condor 3 does better. Is it the best performance shoe out there? No, especially not at $200. But it’s also not a performance shoe in the strict sense of the word. It’s a lifestyle/running shoe and in that category, I think it’s one the best out there. Maybe the best. I absolutely love a running shoe that you can wear with jeans or to dinner because I think the value is so much greater. 

Other shoes in that realm are the Diadora Equipe Atomo v7000, Tracksmith Eliot Runner, NoBull Runner+, APL Streamline.  It’s better than most of those, and the ride slightly edges out the Atomo v7000, which is one of my most beloved all-around shoes of all time.

veja condor 3 - vertical side
veja condor 3 - vertical front

The outsole rubber coverage on this shoe is generous and will undoubtedly last a long time. It definitely adds to the weight of the shoe (more on that later), but the grip is solid and it will extend the longevity far longer than an exposed EVA outsole.

As a walking shoe or lifestyle shoe, it’s probably my favorite shoe at the moment. I’ve been wearing it almost daily for the last month, and I just love everything about it. The fit of the upper, the look, the cushion, etc. It has everything I look for in a perfect all-arounder.

At $200, you’re getting a fashion-forward shoe that is great for anything from 3-5 miles, though it could certainly go more.

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veja condor 3 - lateral side

What we don’t like about the Veja Condor 3

ROBBE: I (somehow) didn’t find this to be a huge issue while running, and we try not to weigh our shoes until after running in them, which is why I was absolutely shocked at how much this shoe weighed when we put it on the scale. The listed weight for the shoe is 10 ounces (287 g) for a US M9. That’s just not accurate. Our men’s size 10.5 weighed 12.3 ounces, which is the heaviest shoe I could find around here that isn’t a trail shoe. It’s heavier than the Adidas Adistar and almost as heavy as the Ultraboosts of old. 

Again, some of that is due to the very generous outsole rubber. Shaving that down or having more zonal placements could probably knock an once or two off the weight. But you’re also getting more durability, which is probably what their customers want in the long run.

veja condor 3 - laces

However, the weight will be an immediate turnoff for a lot of runners, which I totally get. That wasn’t the case for me for whatever reason, maybe because it’s a fairly smooth ride overall.

Next, the shoe runs big, so I would recommend going down a half size. That was the case for all of us. Lastly, I had some arch pain in my right foot while running in the shoe, though I’m not sure if it had to do with this shoe or just the fact that I was running and testing a bunch of different shoes at the time. I also had the same problem in the Alphafly 3 during my training, but that’s also a pretty common complaint with that shoe.

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veja condor 3 - outsole forefoot

Final thoughts on the Veja Condor 3

ROBBE: While the price tag for the Veja Condor 3 is a bit steep, consider that you’re buying into a brand that is actually practicing what it preaches when it comes to sustainability, worker rights, and ethical manufacturing. It’s hard to do that and be a profitable company, which is why most brands that make sustainable claims are either lying or failing. Somehow, Veja has managed to stick to its core values for nearly 20 years, and it’s paying off. 

The Condor 3 is a solid running shoe that doubles as one of the best all-around sneakers you can buy. Its design and construction are both top tier and the performance is solid on the run. In the end, it’s the perfect shoe for that runner who goes out for 3-5 miles a few times a week but appreciates a beautiful design that can complete any fit check, both on and off the run. You could certainly do much worse when spending a couple Benjamins on a shoe.

The Veja Condor 3 is available now for $200, you can pick it up at the shop links below.

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veja condor 3 - heel collar
2
Comments

Have something to say? Leave a Comment

  1. Ben says:

    Me reading this after having walked around Paris for a week in my Triumphs 🙁

  2. Ed Kramer says:

    I was yesterday out for my first run, and i totally agree with you! Had my testing pair since last December, and i dont wanted to go out for a run because of the same bad experience you had with the first Condor 🙂
    But i dont had the feeling, that it is to heavy because the run is so bouncy….but my issue was, that it was to hot in the shoe because the recycled upper is not very breathable!
    Sorry for asking this, but how is the odor of your shoe when you wearing them daily?

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Authors

Robbe Reddinger
Senior Editor
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Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.

More from Robbe
Shoe Size

7.5

Fav. Distance

13.1

PRs
  • 3:27

    Marathon
  • 1:30

    Half-Marathon
  • 40:36

    10k
  • 19:17

    5K
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