These sustainable sneakers went viral—are they worth the hype?
Spoiler alert: There’s a reason the Cariuma Ibis keep selling out.
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As a part-time yoga teacher and full-time work-from-homer, I live in athleisure. Leggings? I’ve got more than 40 pairs. Sweatshirts? You bet. Joggers? A staple.
And my choice in footwear is just as comfy-casual as my clothes—i.e., I am a woman obsessed with sneakers. Keds, Converse, Vans, Adidas… you name ‘em, I got ‘em.
So when I heard about the wildly popular Cariuma Ibi sneaker, I was intrigued. A 5,000-person waitlist? Hype rivaling OG viral sneaker Allbirds? What are these magical shoes and where/how/when can I get them? Forever on the quest to find the best comfy kicks, I had to try them out for myself.
What are Cariuma Ibi sneakers?
If you follow any style influencers on Instagram, chances are high you’ve seen Cariuma Ibi sneakers—you may have mistaken the casual low-top sneakers for similar-looking canvas sneakers Vans or Keds. The Brazil-based brand has gained a cult following for its comfortable, high-quality shoes that are also “eco-friendly” and 100 percent vegan, meaning no animal products are used in their fabrication.
Cariuma sneakers also claim to be carbon-neutral, with the entire production and shipping process releasing zero net carbon emissions. “We make up for the carbon emissions by purchasing carbon offsets, creating a footprint balance of zero,” Cariuma’s website explains. And while we’re skeptical of bold environmental claims, the Ibi sneakers seem to have a more sustainable production line than most. “We knit our sneakers from self-regenerating bamboo and recycled plastics from heel to toe,” the product description states. The memory foam insole is made with cork, while the laces and labels are made with recycled plastic bottles and the outsole with sugarcane.
Are Cariuma Ibi sneakers comfortable?
To say that Cariuma sneakers are comfortable would be a serious understatement. In fact, I’d argue that they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing. I ordered the Ibi sneaker in a size 8—I typically wear an 8 or 8.5—and the fit was great—not too tight, not too roomy. Because the knit material is so flexible and the shoe’s interior is just the right amount of spacious, the sneakers slip on like a glove and stay on without any dreaded heel chafing. Not only that, but the shoes required zero (yes, zero) break-in time. They felt like the perfectly worn-in pair of sneakers from the moment I first put them on my feet.
As for wearability, the Cariuma sneakers are lightweight and the cushioned memory foam insole provides just the right amount of support. I wore them during an all-day shopping trip and, after being on my feet for hours, I can say that these shoes are made for walking.
However, despite being sneakers, they are not shoes made for high-intensity exercise. The flat soles and low top, while comfortable, don't provide the shock absorption or ankle support that you want in a running or cross-training shoe.
Should you buy Cariuma Ibi sneakers?
Do you like being comfortable? Do you like looking stylish? Do you like supporting a company that makes efforts to be sustainable? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then yes, you should buy the Cariuma Ibi sneakers. Not only do they look great but they feel even better—maybe not “walking on clouds” better, but pretty darn close.
Besides being best suited for kicking around than for exercise, I struggle to find any reason not to buy a pair of these sneakers for yourself. Yes, they’re pricier than the same-old shoes currently in your Amazon cart, but they’re worth the splurge. Call it what you want, but I think I’ve finally met my solemate.
The Cariuma Ibi sneakers comes in men’s sizes 5 to 13 and women’s sizes 5 to 13, and nine colors.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.