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A Little More About Saola Shoes

Recycled Shoes for a More Sustainable Future

Each year, 25 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured world-wide. 

Sadly, as few of these are made sustainably, the textile industry is the world’s second largest polluter behind oil and gas. This is a major reason behind the founding of Saola Shoes, and why Eco-construction is key in the shoe development. The brand consciously chooses sustainable materials when creating their shoes by using recycled, bio-sourced, and organic products in construction.

Read below to learn more about each of the materials Saola has selected to make their shoes sustainable.

Sustainable Materials


Shoe Uppers

Recycled Plastic Bottles (PET)

The uppers of Saola shoes are made with recycled plastic bottles, otherwise known as PET.

PET is polyethylene terephthalate – you probably know it as the plastic used to make food packaging and plastic water bottles. When recycled, PET goes through a cleaning, grinding, and melting process that results in thread. This thread is woven into various fabrics, giving a second life to plastic and reducing trash in our landfills. For Saola, the thread is used in the uppers of all the shoes. This technology has come so far that they are now even able to mimic animal-based materials, like leather and suede, using recycled plastic.

The Saola PET supplier is accredited by the “Global Recycled Standard” certification, which ensures the traceability of the production line of these materials.

Depending on the style, each pair of SAOLA shoes contains between four and five recycled PET bottles, but if we didn’t tell you they were recycled shoes, you’d never know it.

When I started SAOLA, I was adamant that I wanted to make our shoes as eco-friendly as possible, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice comfort or style to do so … The uppers are the most noticeable part of a shoe that give it its overall style, and we now have way more options in recycled materials to choose from. It’s cool to be a part of a movement that is changing the perception of what eco-friendly style means.” – Guillaume Linossier


Inner and Outer Soles

Algae Foam from BLOOM

All Saola insoles and many of the outsoles are made with recycled Algae Foam.

Rising temperatures and excess chemicals in our lakes and rivers contribute to the growth of algae – harming plants, animals, and humans.  This is why Saola partners with Bloom Foam, who remove harmful algae from the water and put it through a process that dries, crushes and converts it into powder. They then mix this powder with EVA (a synthetic material) to become Algae Foam. Saola uses this eco-friendly, bio-sourced material to reduce the synthetic materials in their soles by 20%. This process also cleans lakes of harmful algae and prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Now that’s what we call a win for mother nature, and a win for your feet.

Outer Soles

Recycled EVA


Some SAOLA Shoes, like the Semnoz and the Baikal, use partially recycled EVA outsoles rather than algae-foam. EVA is a soft and springy foam that is often used in athletic shoes thanks to its lightweight cushion and relative durability. In recent years, in the interest of trying to create less waste and recycle more, manufactures have started recycling EVA. They mix the EVA from end of life product with new EVA. The end result is comfortable, shock-absorbing support for your feet that uses less synthetic materials than traditional shoes.


Organic Cotton

Cotton cultivation represents only 2.4% of the agricultural area, but it uses nearly one quarter of the pesticides sold in the world! That’s why we use organic cotton for our recycled shoes. Natural compost replaces pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and the resulting cotton requires half as much water as traditional cotton. The end-result is cotton that is softer, more flexible, and way kinder to the planet.

Tops of Insoles


The top layer of our insoles is made with cork. Cork is a natural and highly renewable material harvested from the bark of cork trees. This process causes no harm to the trees. In fact, harvesting the bark can extend the trees lifespan to over 200 years. Cork also creates a healthy walking environment for your feet, as it molds to the shape of your foot, reduces joint stress, and is odor resistant.


We are outdoor lovers, the parents of future generations, and dedicated to making a difference.
We are challenging the norms, asking the tough questions, and continually looking for better solutions.
It’s not easy, but if it were, everyone would be doing it.

Thank you for being a part of the SAOLAdventure. YOU are awesome, and together we can