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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Responsibly sourced raw materials
- Competitors have more cushy comfort
- Very affordable
- Classic silhouettes
- Vegan options available
- Ethical manufacturing
- Quality construction
Jump to: Full Review
There are so many shoe companies out there these days that they are hard to keep track of, but sometimes a brand stands out in a way that piques your interest. Cariuma is one of those brands, and based on our Cariuma shoes review, we think you will agree that it’s time to notice.
Complete Cariuma Review
Cariuma was created because the founders realized a need for classic sneakers with an active focus on social responsibility and sustainability. As a result, the Cariuma team created sneakers from scratch that look good and are comfortable while finding ways to serve people and serve the planet through its business.
They make a good pair of kicks with a distinct Chuck Taylor vibe. Of course, depending on who you talk to, Chucks have never been an exceptionally comfortable sneaker, nor are they made with sustainable materials like Cariuma shoes.
And while Cariuma shoes look like they were bred of Chuck Taylors and Vans, Cariuma sneakers feature just enough flair to stand on their own as a new timeless classic.
OCA High & OCA Low
The OCA sneakers offer a classic silhouette that looks familiar and stands bold at the same time. These canvas sneakers are much more advanced than the canvas sneakers your parents wore. The Cariuma OCA is elegant and straightforward yet incredibly versatile. Because of the classic silhouette, The Cariuma OCA will look just as nice with a pair of jeans as they look lounging by the pool.
While a relaxed Rio culture inspires the shoe’s look, the thoughtfulness and performance designed into the shoe are anything but relaxed. The durable canvas is made from certified organic cotton, meaning no pesticides or other harmful chemicals were used to grow the cotton. Both the upper and the lining are made from organic cotton.
Other natural materials are used, such as raw rubber collected by tapping trees (more on that below). And while you will need to look to the IBI for a fully vegan shoe, it is worth noting that the Cariuma OCA also utilizes a signature vegan insole made from cork and bio memory foam.
OCA Canvas Colors Galore
Even though the OCA comes in a classic silhouette, it still offers enough variety to spice things up and allow you to wear your personality on your feet. This classic sneaker is available as the OCA High or the OCA Low. Sure, the low-top is versatile enough to be worn with shorts and pants alike, but we are suckers for high-top sneakers.
Since the high-tops are a little classier, they are available in premium leather, suede, or the traditional canvas and various colors ranging from neutral browns, blacks, and whites, to much brighter reds and blues. Still, the high-tops are available in more traditional colors and a classier palette than the low sneakers.
Things get a little crazier with the OCA low tops. If yellow sneakers are your thing, you’re in luck. Or if you are interested in leopard suede, they have you covered there too.
Regardless how colorful you choose to go, the Cariuma OCA offers classic shoe options for any occasions. It’s a versatile shoe, ready for almost any casual situation. And if you dress up a pair of leather OCAs, it would probably work in some more formal situations too.
Cariuma OCA Low Review
It is particularly common for consumers to seek out a Cariuma OCA low review, and let’s just say that most sneakers can’t hold a candle to the combination of durability and classic style that the Cariuma OCA Low offers.
Plus, the OCA Low is available in cotton canvas, suede, and premium leather. With that many material options, the OCA Low is available in more color profiles than we can count. Now, we noted that 65% of Cariuma shoes are vegan, but the leather OCA Low sneakers obviously are not. The brand plants two trees for every pair of sneakers sold, so not all is lost.
IBI High & IBI Low
If the Cariuma IBI looks like it has a similar silhouette to the Cariuma OCA, that’s because it does. But make no mistake, these are very different sneakers. That’s because the Cariuma IBI is a vegan shoe.A vegan shoe?. Yep, a vegan shoe. For some of you, that may seem a little over the top or off the wall but stay with me. All that means is that while your shoe size will run the same as other shoe styles, the footprint you leave on the planet will be much smaller.
The knit upper provides a perfect slip-on fit. The shoe hugs your foot but is also featherweight light. In some ways, it might not feel like you are wearing a traditional shoe, but the IBI still has a very classic look.
For this reason, the IBI sneaker has turned into a bit of a cult classic, and we are confident you will want to keep the IBI sneaker in heavy rotation on your feet, as well.
Bye Bye, Cotton Canvas Sneakers
When electric cars were first introduced, vehicles like the Prius were made to look odd and stand out for a reason, so other consumers would notice how prevalent the green technology was becoming. Cariuma goes the other way, which we appreciate.
This is a cool-looking shoe, and similar to the OCA, the Cariuma IBI will look as good during a night on the town as it does chilling by a bonfire. And by the way, the IBI is machine washable, so if you choose to go sockless, you will be able to keep your shoes fresh. After all, no one wants dirt stains on their favorite pair of sneakers.
Like the OCA, the Cariuma IBI comes in a high-top model and a low-top model. The low model is available in nearly 15 colors, so there is something for everyone’s preference. The IBI High is available in 5 neutral colors, including a model with a black sole that offers a classier look.
From Recycled Plastic Bottles
But how exactly is a vegan shoe constructed? The knit upper for the shoe is made from bamboo (highly regenerative) and recycled plastics. A subset series of the IBI is a collaboration with an organization called 4Ocean. Every pair of the 4Ocean IBIs sold results in 2lbs of trash being removed from the ocean.
Beyond the knit upper (and the lining) made from bamboo and recycled plastics, the removable insole is a cork insole (made from regenerative tree bark). The outsole is made from Green EVA derived from sugarcane, and the laces are made with recycled plastics.
The Cariuma IBI slip-on is made from the same materials as the IBI High and IBI Low, so we save the redundancy, other than to share one statistic. The Cariuma IBI slip-on is made with a carbon footprint that is three times lower than the industry average. Like its siblings, the IBI slip-on is also lightweight and machine washable. They wear easy and look good.
If you are looking for sustainably made skate shoes, look no further. Of course, Cariuma already uses ethically sourced materials and green processes, so it would be easy enough for them to make a new shoe and just call it a “skate shoe.” That would be easy, but that’s not what they did.
Keep in mind the founders partially connected over their mutual love for board sports and the planet, so developing a premium skate shoe is definitely something they worked hard on. The Cariuma CATIBA Pro is built for enhanced board feel and stability and features such thoughtful design as adding side traction with a grip that will help you improve your flick.
Cariuma Sneakers For Surf & Skate Enthusiasts
Beyond that, Cariuma added a reinforced flick point that will help the shoe last longer. Skaters go through shoes quickly, so it’s no minor feature that flick point is made with a triple-stitch upper. The CATIBA Pro is a durable and sustainable shoe made by skateboarders for skateboarders.
The CATIBA Pro is available in a low or high-top model, though colors are limited for the high-top model. There are only a handful of brands in skate culture offering sustainable shoes. Still, with lightweight cushion technology, foxing providing side traction, and a reinforced flick point, the CATIBA Pro rises to the top. The team in Rio De Janeiro knows what they are doing.
Cariuma Shoes Review
Cariuma makes classic-looking sneakers that are sustainably sourced and sold at an affordable price. Seems like a win in our book. If you found this site, chances are you agree Cariuma makes a good-looking shoe.
The question remaining is whether Cariuma is a good brand. When all factors are considered, there’s a good chance a pair of Cariumas will be your new favorite shoe. So let’s dive in.
Sustainability & Ethical Manufacturing
Some recent reports show that the Amazon rainforest is now emitting more CO2 than it absorbs, which is terrifying, to be honest.
The Cariuma team deeply cares about the planet, and particular the Brazilian rainforest, so for every pair of sustainable sneakers purchased, Cariuma plants Two Tree. Not only is it awesome for our planet that they do this, but it is also cool that they are working in their native Brazil to make it happen.
Materials & Sustainable Production
The Cariuma team also uses natural rubber that is gathered from the hevea brasiliensis tree through tapping. What is tapping? Glad you asked. Tapping is a safe process of capturing sap off the bark of trees and is the same process used to make maple syrup.
Of course, it’s a weird thought to consider natural rubber is made from a similar source to pancake syrup, but the result is a high-quality product made from a sustainable source, so we are all here for it.
The Best of Eco-Friendly Footwear Brands
Aside from bamboo, the brand utilizes recycled plastic, sugarcane, and cork, and they are transitioning from a traditional canvas to certified organic cotton. The only big question is related to leather and suede, and this comes down to personal preference.
Indeed, for those that prefer a more vegan approach, the IBI shoes offer an excellent option, but some people prefer the look and durability of leather and suede. We totally get it.
Cariuma takes pride in using leather that is properly sourced. So if you are worried about your overall carbon footprint but still like leather, Cariuma is still an excellent choice for their sustainable sneakers.
Sneakers Saving The Amazon
For instance, none of the leather products come from areas deforested in the Amazon, and all of the water used in the process is reused. The Leather Working Group certifies all of the premium products are sourced from Argentina, Thailand, and Brazil.
Naturally, sustainable practices go beyond raw materials. For instance, Cariuma uses recycled packaging and recyclable packaging paper. And even the paper the stuff in your sneakers to prevent them from being crushed during transit is biodegradable.
Beyond this, they work with a company called Bluesign to ensure no hazardous chemicals are used in the manufacturing process and ensure water is efficiently used during production.
The bottom line is sustainability is at the heart of everything Cariuma does.
Even practices such as using a sugarcane outsole and reducing reliance on cattle farming only go so far as to reduce carbon emissions. Still, the team is dedicated to producing the most comfortable eco-friendly sneakers that they can make.
While some brands address this concern by purchasing carbon offsets, Cariuma takes a much more direct approach. For example, they joined a program called DHL Go Green. As part of the program, emissions are offset via forest restoration projects.
Something feels good about supporting a brand that is invested in saving the Brazilian rainforest and the planet as a whole.
Are Cariuma Sneakers Vegan?
Not all of Cariuma’s sneakers are vegan, but the Cariuma IBI is a 100% vegan shoe. In fact, more than 65% of the brand’s sneakers are now vegan. How did Cariuma make this happen? Well, let’s work from the bottom-up.
Cariuma’s proprietary memory foam insole is made from a mix of cork and organic mamona oil. To source cork, harvesters simply scrap bark from trees. The tree then forms new bark. And Mamona oil might be my favorite because it is a plant-based alternative to petroleum.
The knit top is made from a bamboo product, and as we previously noted, Bamboo is self-regenerative, so when harvested properly, Bamboo is incredibly sustainable. It would be easy for a company to make 100 percent vegan sneakers that were gimmicky or sub-par quality, butCariuma designed a casual sneaker for the ages. As fart as sustainable footwear goes, Cariuma is top in class.
Are Cariuma Shoes Comfortable?
Yes, Cariumas are comfortable. The memory foam insole contours to the foot’s natural shape, providing the support and cushioning you need.
The shoes do seem to run a little small, so you might consider sizing up. Cariuma focuses on making classic sneakers that are sustainable, so they may not be as comfortable as some brands that place a premium on comfort. Allbirds and Casca come to mind as brands that place first focus on comfort.
Still, Cariumas are very comfortable compared to other classic sneakers like the Converse Chuck Taylor, and they are comfortable enough that we wear them as our everyday, around-town shoe.
Are Cariuma Shoes Affordable?
Yes, Cariuma shoes are priced similarly to brands such as Allbirds, which is impressive considering the investments Cariuma makes in people and the planet.
From responsibly sourcing raw materials to working with factories that take care of their employees to using recycled packaging and carbon-neutral shipping, Cariuma shows a commitment to doing the right things regardless of price. It’s not cheap to responsibly consider the end-to-end lifecycle of a shoe, which is one reason, so few companies care. Still, the shoes are very affordable. So much so you might consider a pair of IBI slip-ons and IBI Highs. The IBI sneaker should be a staple in your closet.
Alternatives to Cariuma
There are few brands directly comparable to Cariuma, but there are a few worth highlighting if you want to think through how Cariuma compares to the alternatives.
Cariuma vs. Converse
If the classic look is what you are after, it’s hard not to notice the stylistic cues that Cariuma borrow from Converse Chuck Taylors, but the classic shoe hasn’t changed in decades. It’s a cool-looking shoe, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Cariuma.
We should note that select Converse shoes are now made with sustainable materials, but it is hardly the brand’s bread and butter.
Cariuma shoes are sustainably made in a very different world than the world Converse was born into. Modern technology also enables Cariuma to place a little added emphasis on comfort and support compared to old-school Chuck Taylor.
Cariuma vs. Vans
Cariuma sneakers are frequently compared to Vans sneakers. They share a very similar silhouette. Vans sneakers are wildly popular for a good reason. They offer just enough comfort and shock absorption to be perfect for board sports without getting too bulky.
The only downside to Cariuma sneakers in our minds is that the sizing seems a little off, as noted elsewhere. Even after sizing up a half size, some users still feel like the sneakers are a little tight.
Still, if you are in the market for new sneakers, it is hard to argue that Vans falls behind when it comes to sustainability. Both brands offer shoes with added arch support, reasonable break-in time, and ankle support for you skaters out there. The OCA Low is the most direct competitor to the old-school Vans.
Cariuma Review Summary
In many ways, this is a no-brainer. Cariuma makes a quality shoe that combines sustainability with comfort and a classy look. Cariuma shoes are also very affordable compared to other shoes.
This is especially true when you consider how much Cariuma has invested in sourcing premium sustainable materials and developing a responsible end-to-end supply chain. It’s a great shoe and worth a try if you are in the market for a new pair of sneakers.SUMMARY PROS
- Responsibly sourced raw materials
- Competitors have more cushy comfort
- Very affordable
- Classic silhouettes
- Vegan option available
- Ethical manufacturing
- Quality construction
Classic Style, Sustainable Sneakers
Whether you are looking for a classic, off-white sneaker for wearing around town or durability and ankle support, Cariuma has a sneaker to meet your needs. Spoiler alert: from the moment you open your shoebox and start wearing your new kicks, we are confident your feet will be happy.
Not only will your feet have enhanced style, but they will have a reduced environmental footprint at the same time. Grab the OCA low for the summer and the IBI High for the winter.
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