Vivaia Shoes Review – My honest feedback and everything you should know before buying it. You’ve seen them everywhere and wonder if they are ideal for wide feet or as sustainable as they advertise. To clarify all your questions, I have tried Vivaia shoes, and here is my honest review. I will walk you from the moment I have ordered them to how comfortable they are, plus extra information about Vivaia, so you can make an informed decision by the end of this page. So step in to read my Vivaia shoes review, which many of you will greatly appreciate.
Nowadays, it seems that every second brand suddenly decided to advertise as “sustainable” and “ethical”. If you are not planning to add these two magic words into your marketing campaign or pack your products into those crunchy paper bags, there is no point in launching a brand at all!
This is exactly the thought of those who created VIVAIA – an online women’s footwear brand. The “About Us” section on the VIVAIA website claims, “VIVAIA was founded in 2020 with a mission — a mission to create stylish and sustainable footwear and apparel that are eco-friendly and sustainable.” Notice how they mention “sustainable” twice in the same section. It has to mean something, right?
( I just want to clarify from the beginning that this review is based on my own purchase. Even though Vivaia contacted me last year to offer me a pair of shoes to write a review and create content for Instagram, I refused because I wanted to have the freedom of sharing exactly how the shoes are and not feel patronized by a brand for writing a positive review. With that said, I will unwrap the good and the bad about this brand to help you make an informed decision before deciding to spend your money!)
Vivaia Shoes Review – My honest feedback and everything you should know before buying it
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links which means we might receive a commission if you decide to buy something at no extra cost to you.
I got curious about VIVAIA after seeing its ads popping everywhere on social media (it’s like their website cookies are following you even though you don’t accept them), and because it is probably the only sustainable footwear brand that offers elegant designs suitable for a business outfit or a night out. At least, I haven’t come across a different brand with stylish ballet flats designs such as Viavaia yet.
With all due respect to other eco-friendly shoe brands, seems like most of their designs look like they are made for running through the field, hanging out in a beach bar, or chilling in a hammock on a warm summer afternoon.
For some of us environmentalists who live a busy life, have office jobs, with busy schedules, we need versatile footwear that can keep our feet as comfortable as possible throughout the entire day. And VIVAIA models seemed to be the perfect solution for me! At least, that’s what I thought.
My honest Viavaia shoes review
Now that I have walked several miles in the VIVAIA shoes, my only regret is that I cannot go back in time and grasp the past Me’s hand before she clicks the “checkout” button on the VIVAIA website. But all in good time. Let me tell you about my experience with VIVAIA. Maybe it will help you make a more informed decision about purchasing their “fashionable footwear and apparel with exceptional quality and at a fair price.”
What is VIVAIA and why do you care?
If you are wondering what Vivaia is, I will walk you through a short brief overview of the brand and what it claims to stand for so you can understand better the reason for my review.
VIVAIA is an online footwear brand that was launched in 2020. The VIVAIA brand has a complex explanation of its name’s origin on the website. In short, let me quote: “The name VIVAIA was created from the combination of our customers and our company’s purpose: the double ‘V’ and ‘A’ symbolize the shoes worn by our customers, with designs coming from opposite directions; the double ‘I’ represents the plastic bottles that we use in producing our shoes.” Yes, whatever that may mean… but every brand with its own story. Who are we to understand the philosophy of creating a brand?
Are Vivaia shoes sustainable?
Anyway, the brand constantly emphasizes how their shoes are sustainable, ethically-produces and eco-friendly on the one hand, and comfortable, versatile, and stylish on the other. And here are several things worth mentioning before sharing my personal experience with VIVAIA and why I think this brand is nothing like it claims to be.
First, it is important to highlight that VIVAIA manufactures all its products in China. And don’t get me wrong, I would never fall for the stigma about Chinese manufacturers. I do believe that there are lots of honest, truly ethical businesses that are located in China or work with Chinese manufacturers.
But the thing is that you will have a hard time finding information about the origin of their products anywhere on the website. And among all their sustainability claims and charity advertising, VIVAIA does not breathe a word about the work conditions and policies of their factories. There are several nice, clean, perfectly polished staged photos, but no evidence of real labor policies.
However, after a brief research, I found a claim that the brand was researching factories worldwide, looking for facilities that would provide excellent quality, efficiency, environmental effect, and working conditions. And somehow, only Chinese factories managed to meet those high demands. Forgive my skepticism, but it looks like the VIVAIA is just cutting corners here like any fast-fashion brand you know.
Another controversial thing about VIVAIA is its marketing strategy. It creates the impression that they are probably the only brand that produces its items from recycled plastic bottles and therefore saves the planet with every pair.
Many brands create their clothes, footwear, and accessories from recycled materials (including plastic bottles). But, despite that warm fuzzy feeling that you get buying from one of those companies, items made from recycled plastic can hardly be considered eco-friendly.
The thing is that process of converting plastic waste into fibers that later become materials for your “sustainable” clothes and footwear is called downcycling. And the bad news about downcycling and at least today, no technology allows us to recycle those materials once again. It means that even if you wear your VIVAIA shoes for decades, pass them down generations, or thrift, they will still probably end up in a landfill once the wear and tear get to a certain point.
In other words, we still have a long way to go and a bunch of things to learn about sustainability before brands cannot manipulate data and terms anymore.
In my personal opinion, a fast fashion brand that lays no claims about sustainability is much more honest than a company that plays on the feelings of those who want to be more eco-friendly but don`t have too much time, knowledge, or resources to get to the bottom of every claim and tell truly ethical practices from the “good old” greenwashing.
My personal experience with VIVAIA
After this probably unnecessarily detailed entry part, let`s talk about my personal experience with VIVAIA shoes and all the reasons why I decided to make my opinion public.
The VIVAIA website
Like any exclusively online brand, VIVAIA made an effort to make purchasing from their website as easy and convenient as possible. In my opinion, the website has some sort of a SHEIN vibe if you look at the overall design, the “Sale” banner on top, and especially this cute “Wheel of Fortune” that pops up when you visit the website for the first time.
Maybe I am being subjective because I already know that VIVAIA shoes are made in China. However, despite the abundance of shoes and accessories displayed here, the VIVAIA website is easy to navigate. It has a convenient filter that will make finding something that fits your style much easier.
The order processing time is ok, just like any other online store. My order has been processed within 24 hours and shipped after two days. What surprised me was that the package arrived six days in the UK after I placed my order. Considering that it was shipped from China via standard shipping ( although the shipping cost me £9.99, respectively in dollars $12,56).
Shipping to the United States and Europe will take around 5-15 days, while customers from China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and some other Asian countries will only have to wait 2-3 days for their package. So this is very important to know before buying from Vivaia.
VIVAIA has a sizing recommendation on their website, and I strongly advise you not to follow it when purchasing your first pair of shoes from their store. They suggest measuring the length of your foot and following their chart when you place an order.
I instead went with my regular size, which is 5 in the UK and 38 in the EU size. As a result, I ordered a pair of Vivaia shoes that were too small. So in simple words, Vivaia shoes are not true to size. If you want to pick a pair of shoes from this brand that will fit you well, without squeezing your feet too much, I suggest ordering one size larger. Especially if you have wide feet just like mine, you definitely need a plus-one size for the round-toe loafers, and everything will be golden!
Since I have already mentioned that I bought my Vivaia shoes in February and I waited to try them on in May, the return time frame has gone out of the window. Therefore, I checked their return policy to offer you a complete review before you decide to order from their website.
There are a lot of negative reviews online about VIVAIA’s return policy. And for good reasons, since Vivaia makes it difficult to return an item, it sometimes takes a few weeks to get your money back to your account.
After dealing with many clothing stores and I know a thing or two about return policies, I can tell you that the VIVAIA return policy is weird, to say the least. But the good news is despite all the negative reviews, it does exist, after all.
Some say that Vivaia is ghosting them after they return the shoes, and they have to chase the brand for getting their money back. As a regular fashion buyer like myself, I found this unacceptable, and that should answer the question of why Vivaia has so many negative reviews regarding their return policy.
Are VIVAIA shoes comfortable?
Now that we have discussed all the organizational matters let`s finally talk about my experience with VIVAIA flats. And the first question that comes to mind is, of course, are they as comfortable, breathable, and durable as the website claims?
One of the main sales pitches of the VIVAIA brand is that all their models are perfectly suitable for wider feet. Yeah, perhaps for Asian feet, but not EU or USA if we have to compare it. Or at least other Vivaia shoe designs are ideal for wide feet, like the square loafers, but definitely not the round-toe ones that I have purchased.
I always like a good pair of flats that are easy to grab when heading out. And having wide feet is really difficult to find comfortable shoes that won’t cause the corn between the toes to leave me in pain after a few hours of wearing them.
Because I wanted a pair of aesthetic and stylish shoes at the same time, I choose the Vivaia flats, which I thought they would be really comfortable. Oh boy, I was wrong… Besides, the shoes are not as breathable as they advertise and after driving for 40 minutes and walking for 1,5 hours, my feet were really sweaty.
I am sorry to Vivaia fans or those hoping to buy cute flats. You cannot expect plastic to be friendly on the skin or to stretch and not create discomfort. I mean, for $100, I could have bought a pair of leather shoes. Instead, I choose with my ego and not my instinct; therefore, the Nadine shoe flats are not worth the price or the popularity. Unless you have spare money that you don’t care how you dispose it, I do recommend buying Vivaia shoes.
Let me explain a bit more why Vivaia shoes are not comfortable and why I don’t recommend them. From the very moment that I opened the shoe box, I started to smell a weird plastic/glueish scent, despite its cute packaging, which I really adore it.
I actually bought the shoes in February 2023, and because the UK weather has played bananas this year, there were sunny days that I could count on both my hands and fingers. So, I waited for the right moment to try my Vivaia shoes and pair them with a midi dress, just like the one in the above and below pictures.
As soon as I put the shoes on, I noticed how tight they were, and I said that they would break in once I wore them for a while. Don’t be a fool like me… As I mentioned, the weather wasn’t favorable for wearing these lovely beige flats, and I waited until May to try them out for a trip to IKEA. Because the return policy has expired, I’m now stuck with a pair of flats I cannot even wear.
Is not like it is the first time happening, but I try to be more conscious regarding what I buy and how I wear things. Therefore I feel like I lost $100, which I could have used to get something better of leather material. Anyway, I want to add that these cute shoes are not ideal for ladies with swollen feet syndrome. If they are so tight when you put them on for the first time, after wearing them for a while, you will want to throw them away as far as you can.
Also, VIVAIA flats don`t provide much cushion and support. So, in case you have a bunion or flatfoot, I would recommend you keep looking as VIVAIA probably won’t be the healthiest and most comfortable choice for you.
That said, after putting my VIVAIA flats through the ultimate test of a whole day in IKEA, I concluded that some canvas flats and espadrilles that I have in my closet do a much better job for a fraction of the price. Keep reading to see what cheaper alternatives to the Vivaia Nadine shoe collection I found online.
Why are VIVAIA shoes so expensive?
Let`s be fair, $100 is quite a lot for a pair of simple flats. Especially because you don`t get that wow effect, you may expect from such a widely hyped brand, and they are an entire e-commerce company that manufactures in China.
So, why are VIVAIA shoes so expensive? Some may say that $100 is not that high for a pair of sustainable, eco-friendly shoes. But the fact is that they are not. At least judging from the information on their website, except for their claims, there is no proof that VIVAIA is a sustainable, ethical brand. No certificates, no membership in any relevant organization, nothing at all!
The brand itself tries to justify the price with high-level craftsmanship” involved in the manufacture of VIVAIA shoes. And at the same time, they take extra pride in the fact that most of the production is done by machines. It is supposed to guarantee quality and minimize defects. So, what did they say about craftsmanship once again?
In my opinion, the price of VIVAIA shoes is not justified and, like many things about the brand, is probably just a part of marketing since we all got used to the idea that sustainable items always stand on a higher price range.
Where to buy Vivaia shoes
The first option for buying Vivaia shoes is through their main website. Although I recommend the further options for cheaper options and to save money.
The second option to buy Vivaia shoes is through their Amazon store. Unfortunately this option is not available for United Kingdom buyers, but it can be convenient for US shoppers if you have Amazon Prime( you will free shipping and you can add Amazon discount codes, too if you have any).
The third option to buy Viavaia shoes is guesss where? … Aliexpress. I don’t know why I didn’t search on Aliexpress before I purchased my Vivaia shoes, but Aliexpress and Alibaba is full of Vivaia shoes. They don’t have the same name, but the design is 100% identical. You can check here on Aliexpress and then go back to the Vivaia website and compare them. The only difference is the price. A massive difference. Exactly, 10 times cheaper or more.
Vivaia shoe outlet
Vivaia shoes alternatives
So, if you are looking for alternatives to Vivaia that are not eco-friendly, the shoes below are cheaper options that come at a fraction of the cost of Vivaia flats. And the design is very similar too.
If you still doubt whether Vivaia shoe quality is better than Shein or ASOS, you can do your own research, but to save you some precious time, I can tell you that there is not much difference, except the price tag.
Vivaia pros and cons
- Sustainability: Vivaia’s use of recycled materials helps reduce the environmental impact by repurposing waste and lowering the demand for new resources.
- Versatility: Sustainable shoes, including those from Vivaia, often come in a variety of styles and designs, offering consumers options for different occasions.
- Innovation: Vivaia is the pioneer in developing shoes made from materials that are already created which reduces the carbon footprint.
- Price: Vivaia shoes are more expensive than many other brands without justifying it.
- Comfort: Because the material used for creating the Vivaia shoes is plastic, the shoes won’t be as comfortable as advertised. Sometimes resulting in rubbing and causing blisters.
- Durability: The durability of recycled materials may vary; in some cases, they may not be as long-lasting as traditional materials. After wearing the shoes for a short trip to Ikea, you can notice that the shape of the shoes has already changed.
- Availability: Depending on your location, finding sustainable brands like Vivaia in local stores might be challenging, limiting accessibility for some consumers.
- Brand Recognition: Vivaia might not be as widely recognized as other mainstream brands, which could be a consideration for those prioritizing brand reputation.
VIVAIA is a brand that offers a wide range of designs for any style, wardrobe, and occasion. Everyone will find something that fits them perfectly on their website. Except for their famous flats, today, VIVAIA offers sandals, boots, loafers, sneakers, and even bags.
Of course, it is up to you whether to pay $100 for a pair of flats and $130 for a tote. But if you plan to buy from VIVAIA to support a sustainable, ethical brand, this is probably not the case. As for now, there is no proof that VIVAIA`s prices are justified by their contribution to environmental protection, particularly ethical policies or advanced technologies.
However, you have to give it to them, VIVAIA shoes are very pretty and versatile. So, if you are willing to sacrifice quality and comfort over aesthetic, buying VIVAIA would be a good idea and a sustainable choice.
For those who prefer quality and a pair of shoes that are long-lasting and made of ecological, or natural leather, there are lots of actually proven and acknowledged sustainable brands that offer footwear of great quality and for any taste.
As I have already mentioned, we still have a long way to go to develop purchasing culture and habits that will prevent us from falling for greenwashing marketing tricks and learn to detect truly ethical and sustainable brands. The only thing I can suggest and try to adopt myself is shopping for quality and reputation rather than following the hype and believing vague claims on nicely-made websites.