This review is all about the leather Salvas Sneakers from Cariuma. Is it immediately comfortable, as advertised? And how does it fare on the style front? Read on to find out!
Cariuma has gotten a lot of buzz for being a sort of in-the-know alternative to big corp “board-life” shoes.
Skaters and surfers aside, the white sneaker is ubiquitous in the closets of both men and women of all stripes, fitting easily into trendy and timeless outfit combinations. With that and its eco-focused branding, it seems Cariuma was tailor-made for the internet influencer world.
I’ve been wearing their core leather sneaker, the Salva, for months now. With my hands-on experience and some deep diving into the brand, we’ll help you figure out whether they’re suitable for your own footwear line-up.
I’ll tell you what I liked, what didn’t work for me, and my comprehensive take on the look and function of the Cariuma Salvas.
Cariuma: The Brand
Brazil-based Cariuma was founded by David Python and Fernando Porto in 2018.
They had two main goals in mind, as far as their offerings in the sneaker market: To provide consumers with immediately comfortable shoes, and to build a business rooted in sustainability.
Both being boardsport fans, Porto and Python noticed the aforementioned market gaps when it came to skateboard shoes, low profile whites, and adjacent footwear styles a la Keds and Vans — basically, the classic white sneaker family.
When it comes to social responsibility, Cariuma has a few initiatives, including planting two trees for every pair of
They also use sustainability-focused materials like ethically-tapped rubber that doesn’t harm trees and organic cotton that’s certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
This means it’s sourced in a regenerative way that fights soil erosion. Meanwhile, Cariuma uses ethical Chinese manufacturing. In fact, their website claims that the average wage their chosen suppliers pay their employees is 79% above the legal minimum.
As far as how they live up to their “comfort promise,” we’ll get into that with my review of the Salvas!
Cariuma Salvas Review
The Cariuma Salvas are white
Here’s my experience with these
The Salvas have a harder-edged silhouette compared to, say, the swooping lines of Keds
It’s still a classic low-profile white, but it definitely leans harder into a skater vibe. It’s sort of like a tempered, grown-up version of the Osiris Serve Skates.
The outsole is super simple, featuring angled linework. It’s a bit thicker than the outsoles of other white
I’d say the all-white version looks a bit less “skatery,” since it’s more reminiscent of shoes like Low 1s and Achilles.
As far as the specifics of my variant, the leaf logo on the sides as well as the back collar accent are black.
There’s also an embossed charm embedded on the back outsole, adding a low-key pop of green — this is the case with all the variants. The fact that Cariuma finds visual expressions for the brand’s eco-focus does give the shoe a touch of “crunchiness,” without going full-on folksy.
I think it’s admirable when a young shoe company makes itself distinct and implements brand signatures, despite being new and not as recognizable.
There’s no mention of full-grain leather anywhere on the Salvas description page. The slightly more expensive OCA High-Tops, meanwhile, do mention using full-grain, meaning the Salvas are almost certainly constructed from a lower-tier material.
Still, they’re premium enough for me, especially for the price. Right out of the box, the shoes definitely emanate a real leather scent and are pliant to the touch.
According to the website, the leather comes from LWG-certified Gold Rated tanneries. This means the Leather Working Group audited these facilities for things like water usage and waste management to ensure sustainable practices.
Overall, I’d say these shoes are a great option for guys with a more “California-cool, hang-ten casual” approach. Or, maybe most low-profile
The Salvas dip into the boardsports aesthetic, without going full Osiris, and can be worn with any casual outfit.
Comfort and Fit
The Salvas definitely fit true to size. I got a size 8, my standard sneaker size, and they fit perfectly.
The removable insoles are built with cork and foam made from bio-based mamona oil (i.e. caster oil), which add to the function, as well as the brand’s eco-aesthetic, especially since the foam is the same bright green as the embedded charm on the outsole.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this insole is outrageously comfortable.
My feet sank right into them as if they were already broken in. It’s softer than memory foam but just as sturdy.
Even for my first time, I was able to wear these shoes all day, walking around my office building’s concrete floors, unforgiving marble stairs, and during my half-hour commute via Manhattan’s sidewalks getting to and from work.
I’d say the only form of “breaking in” I truly experienced was a bit of rubbing on my pinkie toes, and slight tightness on the sides, which might be a sign of a generally solid build. These issues only lasted a day and didn’t actually bother me that much at all.
If you’re a bit more sensitive, I’d recommend just putting bandages on your pinky toes, and you’ll be good to go. Also, the heel collar is moderately cushioned, creating a secure but comfortable hug around your ankle.
The outsole had a good bend right away, which made me wonder if they’d even last a month.
At the time of this writing, I’d been wearing them for a month, almost daily, so the answer to that is “yes.” It turns out the rubber is vulcanized, meaning it was heat treated for extra durability and flexibility.
It’s also impressively slip-resistant. My office’s marble steps are infamously slippery when wet. On one particularly rainy day, my Salvas gripped that surface like it was carpet.
The Salvas offer a genuinely compelling value proposition. At the time of this writing, they go for just under $98.
The low price-for-quality is clearly due to the fact they use Chinese manufacturing. Still, as mentioned in the brand overview, we know they are at least socially responsible factories.
And yes, the Salvas are well-crafted (each pair is handmade and vulcanized), structurally sound, and comfortable right out of the box. I think it’s great that they put so much work into ensuring they’re delivering their brand promises.
Pros and Cons
Here’s my overall summary of Cariuma Salvas:
On the style front, the Salvas are truly a middle-ground option between thick skater shoes and classic low-profile white sneakers.
I mentioned earlier that this allows those with a more boardsport-leaning personal style to add some classic whites to their closet. It can also work the other way around, for those with a more essentials-focused wardrobe to try out a popular and basics-adjacent look.
It’s also commendable these shoes come in a wide range of sizes, including as small as size 5s for men and as big as 13s.
Other prior mentioned pros include the genuine approach to sustainability, using LWG-certified tanneries and recycled packaging, employing a fully carbon neutral process, and planting two trees for every pair purchased.
Functionally, the Salvas feel immediately broken in right out of the box thanks to the recycled mesh lining and the cork and foam insert, fulfilling their second major brand guarantee.
They’re also durable, bendy, and boast excellent grip.
Since style is subjective, the skater-infusion could arguably be considered less versatile than a simple sweeping silhouette — though I maintain that the Salvas are still more versatile than a standard skate shoe.
Since I personally don’t have a boardsports-leaning style, I can understand that some other guys might feel this way.
I will say that despite my personal style not entirely meshing with the Salvas “vibe,” these
Will they replace my more standard low-profile whites? Probably not, but they’re more diplomatic than the Vans and Osiris’ of the shoe world.
And while these guys are definitely comfortable enough for long walks, they aren’t athletic
The Cariuma Salvas really deliver when it comes to comfort, cinching one of their brand commitments. It’s actually shocking to see how immediately broken-in these shoes were, and how durable they stayed as I wore them daily for a good month.
They have a subtly unique style, infusing the classic low-profile whites with a skater vibe (but not loudly so). It’s a more grown-up rendition of a boardsports shoe, allowing guys who lean into that style, to incorporate it into smart casual or casual networking situations.
Questions? Comments? Leave them below!