This New Footwear Brand Makes One of the Most Sustainable Shoes Out There – Plus it Donates 1% of Proceeds to Protect Wildlife in Kenya.
SAOLA is setting a new standard in sustainable footwear production. While not entirely synthetic free, the company has experimented with unusual sources of plant-based fibers to produce their shoes’ outsoles and fabrics that do not require as many chemicals to produce, that naturally degrade, and that are in turn significantly better for the environment. SAOLA believes that by offering its new class of vegan, eco-friendly shoes – and giving back 1% of sales to protect wildlife biodiversity – we can change the industry and heal the planet, step by step.
Better Steps for the Planet
SAOLA Shoes began out of a desire to deliver even more sustainable footwear than what’s currently on the market. With 25 billion shoes manufactured worldwide each year, and 60-70% of a shoe’s environmental impact tracing back to its materials, SAOLA has invested in utilizing innovative natural and recycled materials to produce its new shoe line.
The materials that differentiate this company from the rest are their cork insoles, which offer maximum breathability and comfort – plus, they’re perfect for wearing barefoot as they resist odors and provide a lightweight cushion – their innovative algae foam outsoles, and their organic cotton laces. The Cannon Knit is the perfect example of how these materials come together to form this lightweight shoe.
From a young age, Guillaume Linossier, SAOLA’s founder, was already thinking about the future of our planet. Years later, and after spending 15 years in the outdoor industry, he realized that 60% of the Earth’s wild animals had disappeared and that we still face a dire environmental crisis, which his two young girls would inherit.
Motivated to act, Guillaume founded SAOLA Shoes with a two-fold mission – first, provide the most sustainable shoe possible to help relieve the earth of the fashion industry’s pollution, and secondly, support the restoration and rehabilitation of wild animals within their natural habitats.
This is where the company gets its name – from the wild SAOLA, an endangered species with only 300 left that is similar to a type of cattle but that looks like an antelope. 1% of all SAOLA proceeds benefit a wildlife reserve in Africa that is protecting Kenya’s nature and biodiversity. While we may not be able to reverse the damage we’ve created, SAOLA Shoes believes that we can take action, step by step, to #makeanimpact.
Algae and Banana Shoes, Oh My!
SAOLA’s creative use of recycled and biodegradable materials to make their kicks is where the shoe brand truly shines. The footwear brand has partnered with Bloom Foam to extract harmful overgrowths of algae caused by rising temperatures and excess chemicals in our waterways.
The company removes the disruptive algae and crushes it into powder which is then mixed with a synthetic material to become Algae Foam – the material used to make SAOLA’s outsoles. The process utilizes less CO2, less synthetic materials, and as an added bonus, cleans our lakes and rivers of the toxic algae.
The brand also makes a shoe using sustainable bananas, milk, and beeswax. The process of harvesting the bananas and turning them into fibers, which are then made into shoes, requires no chemical treatment. The result is a 100% biodegradable shoe that is much better for the environment.
Driven by optimism, and a hope for the future, this breakout footwear brand is having fun exploring the great outdoors to bring you the best natural shoe technologies that will help you feel better about your environmental footprint.
As Featured In
Saola’s Shoes were named the perfect summer shoe in Men’s Journal.
Where to Find
SAOLA Shoes can be found at Retail Partners such as REI, Huckberry and Next Adventure.