Saola Shoes: Meet the Shoes Made From Recycled Materials

Saola Shoes, PaddleXaminer

The Story

SAOLA shoes help you lessen your carbon footprint one step at a time. Outdoor enthusiast Guillaume (Gee) grew frustrated by the lack of eco-friendly shoes available on the market. Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, Gee decided to take action. He compiled an international team of outdoor, surf, and footwear industry veterans and gave life to a brand that would address the need for cleaner manufacturing processes and a cleaner planet. Through hard work and determination, SAOLA was born.

The textile industry is the world’s largest polluter behind oil and gas. To combat our destructive society, SAOLA has made eco-design their priority since day one. They combine recycle, organic, and bio-based materials with projects to improve production, logistics, and packaging. They are constantly evolving and changing to create the highest quality shoe possible while simultaneously decreasing their carbon footprint.

The Design

Each pair of SAOLA shoes contains three to four recycled plastic bottles, meaning three to four less bottles in the landfill. The Uppers are made from recycled PET, aka polyethylene terephthalate. PET is the plastic that is typically used to make packaging or plastic bottles. When PET is recycled and cleaned, it can be made into a thread, which can be woven into a pair of shoes.

Saola Shoes, PaddleXaminer

The insoles and outsoles are made from algae foam, a combination of algae biomass and EVA foam. The algae is collected from at risk freshwater waterways— harvesting excess algae can help keep ecologies in balance, recirculate fresh water into the habitats, reduce dependence on oil, and keep the air free from harmful carbon dioxide.

Lastly, the laces are made from organic cotton. Typical cotton farming uses massive amounts of pesticides while organic cotton farms use natural compost in place of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This method of farming also requires half the amount of water as traditional cotton, making it a win-win.

Environmental Projects

Not only is SAOLA committed to making eco-friendly shoes, they also strive to support environmental conservation projects. Three percent of SAOLA sales are donated to three different conservation projects:

  • Surfrider Foundation
  • One Tree Planted
  • Save the Turtles

When your purchase a pair of shoes, you have the opportunity to select your favorite of the three organization and SAOLA will make the donation. Done and done.

The Product

We’re all for eco-friendly products…but maybe not if we have to sacrifice quality. Luckily, this is not the case when it comes to SAOLA. SAOLA shoes fit like your favorite pair of skate shoes but weigh half as much. These shoes are incredibly comfortable and lightweight, thanks to the algae foam. In addition to the comfort factor, these shoes are stylish and have a number of designs available for both men and women. Whether you’re traveling the globe in search of the perfect paddling destination or heading to the office for a day of work, SAOLA has got you covered. If SAOLA is any indication of the future of sustainably minded companies, we’re happy to be onboard.

Rebecca Parsons
About Rebecca Parsons 43 Articles
Rebecca is a seasoned writer and longtime ocean lover. A resident of Orange County, CA, she can be seen paddling and surfing at many of Southern California's most scenic coastal locations. Rebecca is interested in sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives and heads up "Keep it Green", our column on the environment.

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