Is Cariuma Ethical? Brand Analysis and Shoes Like Cariuma

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Cariuma is a sustainable footwear brand created by two friends, David and Fernando, because they couldn’t find sustainable skate shoes anywhere else. The brand touts a whole of sustainability initiatives and green messages, but is Cariuma ethical? We discuss this in the article below.

Let’s dive in.

Is Cariuma Sustainable?

Yes, we would consider Cariuma to be a sustainable brand. The brand focuses on sustainability and creates its sneakers from responsible materials and ethical production.

Cariuma Logo

Compared to most shoe brands on the market, which mass produce footwear from environmentally harmful materials like virgin plastic, noncertified rubber, or unethically sourced leather, Cariuma takes a different approach.

The brand is a certified B corporation, a certification that demonstrates that the brand balances people and the planet over profits. Cariuma does this by supporting sustainable production practices within its supply chain, for example powering its LEED Gold Certified warehouse via solar panels. The brand also gives back to the planet through its reforestation efforts – for every pair of sneakers bought, Cariuma plants two trees.

Is cariuma ethical

What Materials Does Cariuma Use?

Cariuma chooses the following eco-friendly materials to create its sneakers:

Organic cotton

Cariuma uses GOTS-certified organic cotton to create its canvas sneakers. Organic cotton is an eco-friendly alternative to conventional cotton, which requires vast amounts of water and pesticides to grow. Instead, organic cotton is grown without harmful chemicals and with less water.

Recycled plastic

Cariuma uses recycled plastic bottles turned into materials for lining, labels, laces, and threads.


Cariuma isn’t a vegan brand as it uses leather to create a collection of its sneakers. The brand only uses Leather Working Group certified (LWG) gold leather and suede materials sourced from Leather Working Group Gold-Rated suppliers who observe the highest environmental and social responsibility standards.

Natural Rubber

Cariumas soles are created from natural rubber, which is tapped from Hevea brasiliensis tree found in the Amazon rainforest. The tree isn’t cut down during the tapping process, which means this is a more ethical alternative to the environmentally damaging rubber obtained when trees are cut down.

Bluesign Approved Dyes

The dyeing process can be extremely polluting and potentially harmful to employees. Cariuma uses Bluesign-certified chemicals to dye its materials. Using Bluesign-certified dyes, Cariuma can reduce pollution and ensure a safer working environment.


Cariuma ships its sneakers in a single shoe box which forms the shipping box also. The brand also uses 100% recycled and recyclable paper. Plus, the packaging shoe filler inside Cariumas sneakers is completely biodegradable – something we love to see.

Is Cariuma Carbon Neutral?

No, Cariuma is not a carbon-neutral brand. While Cariuma sneakers have a lower carbon footprint than most conventional sneakers, one thing we noticed about Cariuma is while they are transparent about its supply chain and materials, the brand doesn’t publish information surrounding its GHG emissions.

The brand does, however, offer carbon-neutral shipping.

An improvement would be to publish their emissions and share how they are working to reduce them year after year.

Is Cariuma Ethical?

Cariuma has 100% traceability of its Tier 1 suppliers, 85% of its Tier 2, and 59% of its Tier 3 raw material suppliers of Yarns, Polymers, and Chips.

The brand has a code of conduct that its factories must adhere to, which ensures no child or forced labor and safe working conditions for its employees. In addition, Cariumas factories are audited yearly and have been awarded the WRAP – GOLD status, ensuring safe working conditions.

In addition, Cariuma encourages above minimum wages for its supply chain employees, with 79% being paid above the legal minimum wage and the lowest wage being paid to supply chain employees being 47% above the minimum wage.

Where are Cariuma Shoes Made?

We reached out to the brand who told us that Cariuma’s sneakers are currently manufactured in China.

One downside we found from Cariuma is that even though they have full traceability of its Tier 1 suppliers and give information about wages and factory certifications, the brand did not provide actual information on its website around where its footwear is manufactured.

We’d love to see the brand publish a transparent list of its suppliers.

Is Cariuma Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

No, Cariuma is not a vegan brand because it uses leather in some of its sneakers. Cariuma has a vegan range available but isn’t a fully vegan brand.

The brand uses leather from LWG gold-rated tanneries, which is a step in the right direction, but because it uses leather – we cannot say that it is entirely cruelty-free.

Does Cariuma Have A Shoe Recycling Program?

No, at present, Cariuma doesn’t have a shoe recycling program. This is something we’d love for Cariuma to consider in the future.

Ecothes Opinion: Is Cariuma Ethical?

Is Cariuma ethical? brand rating
Overall we rate Cariuma a good score 4/5 and would consider it a brand we would support.

What we liked:

✔ We like that the brand is transparent about wages, and its factories are WRAP-gold certified.

✔ We also liked the use of sustainable materials.

What we didn’t like:

❌ We didn’t like the lack of transparency surrounding its carbon emissions – although the brand has a lower footprint than many conventional sneaker brands, we are aware that the brand may not have the resources to measure this.

❌ We’d like the brand to provide more information about where its sneakers are made.

Shoes Like Cariuma

If you like Cariuma, why not check out other brands creating sustainable sneakers with similar initiatives to the brand?

1. Allbirds

Allbirds in box

Sustainability: Sustainable sneaker brand using sustainable materials like ZQ merino wool, Eucalyptus fibers, sugarcane foam

Best for: Sustainable running shoes, everyday sneakers

Ships to: Worldwide

2. Tropicfeel

Tropicfeel sustainable sneakers

Sustainability: Eco-friendly materials and ethical production

Best for: Sustainable travel shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

3. Thousand Fell

Thousand fell sustainable sneakers

Sustainability: Vegan brand creating fully recyclable sneakers from recycled materials

Best for: Vegan sneakers

Ships to: Worldwide

4. 8000kicks

8000 kicks

Sustainability: Waterproof hemp sneakers made using eco-friendly materials

Best for: Waterproof hemp sneakers

Ships to: Worldwide

Wrapping Up: Is Cariuma Ethical?

Overall we do consider Cariuma an ethical brand, and would support the brand. Can’t decide between Cariuma or Allbirds? We’ve got a guide for that too!

If you’re wondering if other brands like J. Crew, Asos, and Old Navy are ethical, then make sure to check our their brand ratings on Ecothes.


Bethany Worthington BSc (Hons) (she/her) is the Sustainable Fashion Editor and Co-founder of Ecothes. She has a passion for the environment, and a long love of all things clothing, and combines those two interests with Ecothes. In her free time she loves dancing, hiking in the countryside, and laughing with friends.

Articles: 207

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