They’re also vegan and eco-friendly.
I discovered Cariuma shoes not too long ago when the brand sent me a pair of sneakers to test out. Off the bat, I liked the sustainable elements of the company, like the natural materials used for the shoes, recycled packaging, and carbon-neutral shipping methods. But could this shoe brand really live up to its trifecta promise of offering environmentally conscious sneakers that are also comfortable and stylish?
As a full-fledged adult (which I can say now that I’ve entered my 30s), comfort is paramount when choosing footwear. Of course, I care how my feet look, but the aesthetic is null and void if I can’t walk with stability or if I get blisters from a regular amount of movement. From the first moment I put my IBI sneakers on, my feet felt like they were nestled in bed. You know how cozy you feel getting into bed at the end of a long day? That’s how my feet felt tucked inside the Cariuma shoes. And I know I’m not alone in the sentiment because when the IBI first launched, it sold out in just two weeks and then accrued a waitlist of over 5,000 people anxiously awaiting a restock.
With most shoes, I anticipate a little break-in time, but that was not the case with my new Cariuma kicks. The shoes felt as if I had always worn them, squashing my previous assumption that they would need time to mold to my feet.
<p><img alt="BI Low Pantone Color of The Year Classic Sneaker" src="https://www.realsimple.com/sites/default/files/1582906478/ibi-low-pantone-color-of-the-year-classic.jpg" width="100%" /></p>
To buy: $98; cariuma.com.
The body of the Cariuma sneakers is made from self-regenerating bamboo and recycled plastics, which combine to form an extremely soft and pliable, yet durable, vegan knit material. Other parts of the shoe are also sustainable: The insole is made of cork, mamona oil, and memory foam, while the outsole employs Green EVA (a rubber-like material) sourced from sugarcane. All of these elements come together to create a lightweight and flexible shoe that turns the feeling of walking into an airy bounce. Even the laces are eco-friendly, created with recycled (and recyclable) plastic bottle threads.
And while the style may be reminiscent of Superga or similar sneakers’ looks, reviewers want you to understand the differences between those brands and Cariuma. One five-star reviewer says, “Got these shoes for Christmas and was glad to find they are much more comfortable than Converse, are easier to put on, have a bit of arch support, and are a great color (very vibrant!). The material is nice and soft, and they feel like high-quality shoes.”
As that reviewer points out, the knit crafting of these sneakers makes them easy to slip on and off if you’re not in the mood to deal with laces, and there are nine colors to choose from—including bright hues of yellow, red, and the ones I have in Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, classic blue. You can also shop the unique sneaker in white, black, mineral blue, stone gray, sand, and rose.
The breathable fabric is great for summer, and even if you do get sweaty feet, these babies are machine-washable (just make sure to remove the laces and insoles). You really have nothing to lose trying out a pair of Cariuma IBIs for yourself, especially because the brand offers free returns if you decide they’re not for you—although, we highly doubt your feet will have any objections to snuggling up in their new bed, er, shoes.