These Cariuma Sneakers Have Been Called the 'Most Comfortable Leather Sneakers,’ So We Put Them to the Test

Cue Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne

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Good-looking, steadfast, reliable,, I’m not talking about a man (but if you know of one who fits that criteria, please send ‘em my way). I’m talking about the best-selling Cariuma Salvas shoe ($129). ICYDK, Cariuma was born out of a love for board-sports between two Brazilian friends. (Think: skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing and the like.) Together, they created their own line of classic sneakers that are sustainable, next-level comfortable and pay homage to their beloved hobby.

And with every pair of sneakers bought from Cariuma, the brand plants two trees in the Brazilian rainforest as a way to restore and preserve its longevity. Plus, you have a 60 day window to return or exchange sneakers that are unworn, unwashed and in the original packaging if needed. See here for full transparency of their return policy.

Now let’s get this straight: I’m no sneakerhead, but every year like clockwork, I hunt for my go-to sneaker that’ll last me all season long. Similar to vetting for a perfect partner, I have a long list of (somewhat flexible) requirements that guide me in my quest. It must be comfortable. It must be supportive. It must be versatile. And it mustn’t feel suffocating. So you can imagine that when I went to try on the Cariuma Salvas, it had a very thorough screening to go through.

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What Does It Look Like?


Growing up, I was that kid who wore her fair share of skateboard-inspired sneakers, from DC-Shoes to Vans and even harbored my beloved Etnies. Largely inspired by my older sister’s style at the time, I was running around the neighborhood with my skateboard (courtesy of Active Ride Shop) and chunky shoes in tow.

While a lot has evolved, specifically regarding my hobbies and style (for reference, I now take a pottery course, read instead of play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and wear heels when I can), some things have remained a constant—like my love for a classic, staple sneaker that can get scuffed and still look great.

When I first laid eyes on the smooth Salvas, I thought to myself, now here’s a shoe with some nostalgia behind it. It brought me back to my childhood, people. Gone may be the days of becoming a pro-skateboarder, but viva la shoe!

The best-selling Salvas style has a thicker-looking exterior that’s definitely durable enough to withstand the friction of an ollie (skateboarding lingo for those who don’t know). They even have a thicker sole (about an inch in height), that undoubtedly provide some comfort, but more on that in a second. While it doesn’t harbor the famous Nike swoosh or the sought-after V in Vejas shoes, it does feature Cariuma’s logo that resembles a leaf of sorts—coming full circle with their sustainable ethos. At the back of the shoe, it has a vintage-inspired wax seal stamp of their logo, too, in chartreuse.

The only detail of the shoe that I was slightly hesitant about was the softness around the top of the ankle. While it made the whole shoe extremely soft and comfortable (aka, no digging or rubbing against my ankle bone), I found that sliding my foot in was a little difficult as that soft top bent with my weight. A small detail that I’m nitpicking, I know.

How Does It Fit?


Deemed ‘the most comfortable leather sneaker’ and adored by Ashton Kutcher and Brooke Shields, to name a few, the bar was set very high and its possible downfall was getting lengthy.

My verdict is: I concur.

For reference, I am a women’s size 9 and rarely fluctuate amongst shoe brands. Upon first try of my white Salvas, I was a little disappointed to find that my toes were grazing the tops of the shoe ever so slightly. As someone who justified wearing too small of shoes when I was younger because I thought it’d stop my feet from growing, I was hesitant to exchange it because my toes curved anyway due to all that damage. How bad could it be, really? But after careful consideration and knowing I wouldn’t reach for these often if they fit too snug, I opted to exchange for a size 9.5. A bitter defeat with a rewarding outcome.

With the right size on my feet, I was back in business. I was surprised to find that the insoles have a thick, flexible memory foam cushioning that appears to be made out of recycled goods. It bends easily, gives a little with the displacement of my weight and has a small curved spot for a little arch support. Inheriting my dad’s flat and wide foot, this was a godsend as I had ample room to breathe without being squished to callouses and I felt a bit of bounce in each step.

I took these on my recent trip to San Diego and wore them for the first time on a long walk around the Marina. After hours of strolling in and out of art vendors and food stands, I was amazed to realize my feet did not hurt one bit. I repeat: There was no break in period. I expected the leather to require a little bit of tough love on my end, but it’s sourced from LWG-certified premium leather and received the high rank of Gold Rated, so I’d like to think the sustainable materials used in making these handmade shoes play a part in that comfort.

In layman's terms, it has the best-of-the-best environmental practices and it remembered my foot like an old lover. I call that a win-win.

Final Thoughts


For someone who’s gone through the sneaker lot, from Nike Air Force 1 to Converse and Carina Pumas, I was in the market for something fresh with a respectable upbringing. I’m happy to report I’m in a full-on committed relationship with my Cariuma Salvas, and there’s no ending in sight for the foreseeable future (at least, on my side).

It retails at $129, which is around the price I’d spend on my annual white sneakers. Not to mention, you’re definitely getting what you pay for. They’re uber-comfortable, crafted impeccably and look super cool. Plus, they come in various color combinations to choose from so you can pick which style complements your wardrobe, like the white and green mix or the black with off-white finishings for an edgy vibe. Bonus: The packaging is all recyclable and they have carbon-neutral shipping practices.

As I mentioned previously, I recommend you size up half a size for the most comfortable fit. I love wearing them with jeans and a tank top for an everyday staple ‘fit, but I’ve also paired them with my dressier Reformation Elena Linen Two-Piece Set for a brunch in San Diego—in which I received so many compliments on how the citrus green logo stamp at the back matched my set perfectly. Versatile, check!

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to swipe right on this perfect match.

Shop More Cariuma Styles

Cariuma Salvas Shoe Review. image of the OCA LOW style in rose canvas
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Cariuma Salvas Shoe Review. OCA High style in black contrast stripe canvas
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Stephanie Meraz is PureWow’s Associate Fashion Commerce Editor. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored in English literature and creative writing, and completed Columbia University’s intensive publishing course. Stephanie is a natural savant when it comes to pushing the boundaries in fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships. She has over 22+ years of experience as an avid shopper, securing a Limited Too personal stylist at four years old. You can count on her to test out the latest hair trends, suggest shopping tips, and spill the tea on her juicy dating experiences. No topic is off limits—however personal or embarrassing.

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.

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Associate Fashion Commerce Editor

Stephanie is a natural savant in the fashion, beauty, and dating & relationships beats. She graduated with a bachelor of arts at the University of San Diego, where she majored...