Skip to main content

Cariuma’s Recycled Plastic Sneakers Help Cleanse the Oceans

In honor of World Ocean Day, Brazil-based eco-conscious footwear upstart Cariuma is taking on the pervasive issue of plastic waste.

Through a collaborative partnership with public benefit corporation and certified B Corp 4Ocean, which collects and repurposes bottles and other single-use plastics, the company on Tuesday launched a limited-edition capsule aimed at unclogging the planet’s waterways.

Cariuma's signature Ibi lace-up and Ibi slip-on are now made with RPET uppers.
Cariuma’s signature Ibi lace-up and Ibi slip-on are now made with RPET uppers. Cariuma

Through June 30, shoppers can purchase a version of Cariuma‘s signature Ibi lace-up sneaker or slip-on made with fully recycled PET uppers—a first for the brand. For each pair sold, 4Ocean’s team of conservation experts will remove two pounds of plastic waste from oceans and rivers. The shoes, available on and Cariuma’s e-commerce site, retail for $98.

The made-to-order sneakers are available in white, along with 4Ocean’s signature royal blue, complete with the organization’s logo. Previously, the Ibi had been created using a combination of bamboo fiber and RPET, but the knit upper—which requires minimal cutting and therefore generates less waste—has been retooled to feature 100 percent plastic, underscoring 4Ocean’s mission. The brand is exploring a path forward for recycled plastic across its line, it said, with RPET already used frequently for tongue labels, laces and threads.

The 4Ocean x Cariuma Ibi lace-up in royal blue.
The 4Ocean x Cariuma Ibi lace-up in royal blue. Cariuma

The shoes’ other signature elements—like a lightweight sugarcane EVA midsole and a bio-foam insole made from cork and mammona oil—remain unchanged, Cariuma said. A unique cupsole construction made using a proprietary stitching method provides superior shock absorption to earlier models.

A Cariuma spokesperson said that the 4Ocean partnership was born of the two brands’ like-minded desire to advance the mission of cleaning up the planet, adding that the relationship is expected to yield long-term results. 4Ocean has removed over 14 million pounds of trash from waterways to date, and promotes educational resources that encourage shoppers to make more sustainable decisions when it comes to product consumption.

The 4Ocean x Cariuma Ibi slip-on in white.
The 4Ocean x Cariuma Ibi slip-on in white. Cariuma

The group also works with world governments and partners with a diverse grouping of corporations on clean-up projects, while selling an array of products—from reusable tote bags to collapsible metal straws—that provide alternatives to single-use plastics. The purchase of these products fuels the group’s work, and the addition of the Cariuma capsule will contribute to 4Ocean’s goal of removing more than 20 million pounds of trash by the end of the year.