The world’s most comfortable travel shoe? The Mail puts the ‘crazy comfy’ Cariuma sneakers loved by A-listers including Robert Downey Jr and Helen Mirren to the test
- Brazilian sneaker brand Cariuma is inspired by surfing and skateboarding culture
- Ailbhe MacMahon tests out two pairs – the Catiba Pro Low and OCA Low shoes
- READ MORE: What the different codes on your boarding pass ACTUALLY mean
Dame Helen Mirren, comedian Pete Davidson and actors Robert Downey Jr, Brooke Shields, Alexandra Daddario and Jon Hamm are just some of the celebrities that own a pair.
Cariuma shoes have attracted a cult A-list fanbase and one of their biggest draws is that they promise to be ‘crazy comfy’ for travelling in.
Mirren was seen wearing the ethical footwear brand’s OCA Low shoes when she arrived in the South of France for the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival, Mad Men star Hamm was spotted wearing the Ibi Low Cariumas on the streets of Los Angeles, while Daddario wore the brand’s Salvas trainers while on holiday with her producer husband Andrew Form.
To see if they live up to the hype as an ultra-comfortable travel shoe, I’m testing out two pairs on a trip to Edinburgh.
I’ve opted for the Catiba Pro Low shoes (£120/$146), similar to a pair once worn by Davidson on Saturday Night Live, and the OCA Low shoes (£89/$109) – the style favoured by Mirren, though mine are in a ‘Pantone white’ colour rather than the actress’s preferred shade of emerald.
Cariuma shoes have attracted a cult A-list fanbase – one of their biggest draws is that they promise to be ‘crazy comfy’ for travelling
Dame Helen Mirren (left) was seen wearing Cariuma’s OCA Low shoes when she arrived in the South of France for the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival. Alexandra Daddario (right) wore the brand’s Salvas trainers while on holiday with her producer husband Andrew Form
To see if Cariuma shoes live up to the hype, Ailbhe MacMahon tests out two pairs on a trip to Edinburgh. Above is Ailbhe wearing the Catiba Pro Low shoes
There’s a bit of theatre to unboxing them. An illustrated card, placed atop the crepe-swaddled trainers, explains what the shoe is made up of, from raw natural rubber to organic cotton canvas. Cardboard shoe holders spell out the phrases ‘we’re holding your place’ and ‘swap us out, just add feet’. Little tags looped through the shoelaces carry messages such as ‘conscious mind, comfy feet’.
The design ethos of the shoe brand, which was founded in Brazil in 2018 by footwear industry veterans David Python and Fernando Porto, stems from surfing and skateboarding culture, so there’s a laid-back aesthetic to the shoes themselves.
In appearance, they’re not a million miles from the likes of Vans or Converse.
Mad Men star Jon Hamm was spotted wearing the Ibi Low Cariumas on the streets of Los Angeles
Comedian Pete Davidson (centre) wearing a pair of Cariuma shoes on an episode of Saturday Night Live
‘There’s a bit of theatre to unboxing Cariuma shoes,’ says Ailbhe. ‘An illustrated card, placed atop the crepe-swaddled trainers, explains what the shoe is made up of, from raw natural rubber to organic cotton canvas’
Feeling sole-ful: Ailbhe’s Catiba Pro Low test shoes (£120/$146)
The design ethos of the shoe brand stems from surfing and skateboarding culture. Above are the Catiba Pro Low shoes
One of the biggest plus points to the shoes is that Cariuma sets out to be more sustainable than big-name footwear brands
They’re said to offer zero break-in time, and my first thought when I try them on is that they are indeed very comfortable. The vegan insoles, made from cork, memory foam and organic castor oil, give a good deal of support and feel nice and bouncy as you walk.
The shoes’ slip resistance is put to the test when I arrive in Edinburgh in the lashing rain and navigate the city’s steep, slippery cobbled streets. They prove to have quite good grip, and the thick rubber soles don’t let any rainwater in.
During the trip, I walk more than 20,000 steps a day. Throughout, the shoes live up to their ultra-comfy billing, and they’re smart enough to go to dinner in, too.
The OCA Low shoes. ‘The vegan insoles, made from cork, memory foam and organic castor oil, give a good deal of support and feel nice and bouncy as you walk,’ says Ailbhe
And one of the biggest plus points is that Cariuma sets out to be more sustainable than big-name footwear brands. For instance, it works exclusively with ethical factories and clean tanneries and it plants two trees for every pair of shoes sold. So far, over two million trees have been planted, predominantly in South America’s Atlantic Forest.
As for the drawbacks, the shoes aren’t the cheapest, as sneakers go. The canvas models can get dirty easily, though they can be hand-washed. The shoes have a sturdy silhouette, so they’re not that easily stuffed into a backpack on the go. They’re also better suited to wandering around cities, rather than intense expeditions in the great outdoors.
That said, the next city break I go on, I’ll definitely bring my pair along. I can see why Cariuma sneakers have earned a celebrity seal of approval. Life in the shoes of the stars is exceptionally comfortable.
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