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Brazilian Footwear Upstart Cariuma Debuts Fall-Ready Sustainable Sneaker

In a year that could be characterized as both apocalyptic and incredibly boring, shoppers trapped at home have looked to retail to fill a fun-shaped void in their lives.

But despite the need for a pick-me-up, purchases have trended toward the practical. Not knowing when life will resume its normal cadence means that opportunities to dress up remain few and far between.

Athleisure continues to boom, while loungewear has become the unofficial pandemic uniform. And when it comes to footwear, sneakers and other laid back, easy-wearing staples are on the rise. In fact, a recent study from the FDRA revealed that 43 percent of shoppers plan to buy casual shoes this fall season.

On Tuesday, sustainable Brazilian sneaker brand Cariuma announced the launch of a high-top style 15 months in the making—just in time for cold weather to set in.

The Ibi High is the newest iteration of the brand’s cult favorite Ibi lace-up.

The Ibi High is the newest iteration of the brand’s cult favorite Ibi lace-up. With a two-piece knit upper made from a blend of bamboo fibers and recycled plastic bottles (RPET), a biofoam insole made from plant-based materials rather than petroleum, a recycled cork and organic mamona oil lining, recycled plastic laces and a sugarcane EVA outsole that is renewable, recyclable and lighter in weight than previous versions, the shoe could be Cariuma’s most sustainable offering to date.

And as rain and snow threaten some parts of the globe over the cold fall and winter months, the shoe has been weather-proofed with a protective coating free of toxic perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are known to resist biodegradation at a product’s end of life.

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Touting the high-top sneaker as “the most comfortable shoe on the market,” Cariuma said it was designed ergonomically to distribute weight evenly across the foot. The knitted stretch upper makes it flexible enough for all-day wear, while the ankle-high construction provides stability. In five neutral color ways—sand, stone grey, stone black, off-white and navy— the Ibi high retails for $129 on Cariuma.com.

Touting the high-top sneaker as “the most comfortable shoe on the market,” Cariuma said the shoe was designed ergonomically to distribute weight evenly across the foot.

Cariuma debuted with the Ibi sneaker one year ago, its founders intent on creating the most sustainable, lightweight knit sneaker on the market. Since the launch, the brand has expanded to include new materials, like ethically sourced and tanned leathers and suedes.

In July, the company launched its Pair for Pair initiative, a commitment to reforestation efforts in the Brazilian rainforest. At the time, co-founder David Python told Sourcing Journal that the Covid crisis had actually pushed the brand’s timelines for more sustainable designs forward, rather than causing the company to slow down on innovation.

Consumer appetites are shifting toward more responsibly sourced and ethically made products during this period of reflection and pause, he said. “Covid has actually accelerated our launches, both of the Pair for Pair initiative but also the launch of innovative sustainable styles,” he added.