Saola | Sustainable Shoes For Men and Women


What are sustainable, recycled shoes?

Sustainable/ recycled shoes are made with environmentally friendly materials and processes. They are shoes made from recycled materials, natural fibers, and low-impact dyes. Sustainable shoes are made in ways that minimize waste and maximize transparency.

How are sustainable shoes made?

Shoes that do not require new raw materials to be produced, a good example would be shoe brands that use recycled plastic bottles or tires are considered to be sustainable. The manufacturing process is also essential – sustainable shoes are often made in an ethical and environmentally-friendly way, such as using fair trade practices. These practices are good for your health, and good for the environment too. These days, many sustainable shoes are designed to be supportive and comfortable. They often use breathable materials to keep your feet dry and cool. Additionally, shoe soles are being made with materials such as cork and algae.

Sustainable shoes are made with environmentally friendly materials and processes. The goal is to create a product that will not cause harm to the environment or the people who wear them. Sustainable shoes are often made with natural materials that are biodegradable and recyclable.


The reality is, most days, we need to wear shoes. And we LIKE to wear cool shoes that look good and feel good. The problem is that companies have been making those stylish, comfortable shoes over the last several decades in a way that has been wreaking havoc on our planet. The footwear industry is one of the world’s greatest polluters. So Saola is on a mission to change that by designing cool shoes that look good, feel great, and are made with as many eco-friendly materials as possible.

Will they solve all the world’s problems? Nope. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction with upcycled shoes.

Where Can I get Sustainable Shoes?

There are a few places where you can get sustainable shoes. The best place includes Clear Givings Market / Saola Shoes. Clear Givings Market carries brands, such as Saola Shoes, that use sustainable materials to make their shoes and have a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.


1) Eco-design, recycled shoes for a more sustainable future

Each year, 25 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured worldwide. Sadly, almost none of these are made sustainably, making the textile industry the world’s second-largest polluter behind oil and gas. This stark reality was one of the primary reasons SAOLA Shoes was started and what keeps them motivated to turn this ship around. Because they know that sixty to seventy percent of the environmental footprint of a pair of shoes is a result of the product’s materials, they've made eco-construction the central pillar of SAOLA’s shoe development.

2) Wildlife preservation

One percent of SAOLA sales are donated to wildlife conservation projects so that in another 40 years, our planet’s animals aren’t a thing of the past. SAOLA cannot stop the process but can help slow it down.

SAOLA is named after one of the rarest animals on the planet. Discovered only recently, in 1992, the “Asian unicorn” lives in the mountains between Vietnam and Laos. With only 300 or so animals left, the Saola is listed among many plants and animals on the critically endangered species list, with a very high risk of extinction in the wild. SAOLA was inspired by this hope story and saw that it serves as a grave reminder of the fragile state of our eco system and how important it is to do everything possible to protect it.

"Make a real impact, however small. Then, we can tip the scales by accumulating individual actions."


Shoes made from recycled plastic

The uppers of SAOLA shoes are made with recycled plastic bottles, otherwise known as PET. You know it as the plastic used to make food packaging and plastic water bottles (cringe). When recycled, PET goes through a cleaning, grinding, and melting process that results in the thread, giving second life to plastic and reducing trash in our landfills. And what happens to this thread? Well, it’s then woven into various fabrics to create comfy and stylish uppers for SAOLA men's recycled shoes. The technology has come so far that they can mimic animal-based materials like leather and suede using recycled plastic. But, of course, you'd never know if we didn’t tell you they were recycled shoes. 

Each pair of SAOLA shoes contains between 3 and 7 recycled PET bottles depending on the style. In addition, SAOLA's PET supplier is accredited by the "Recycled Global Standard" certification, which ensures the traceability of the production line of these materials so that you know it's the real deal.

shoes made from recycled plastic

recycled plastic shoes

Algae foam in the outsoles

SAOLA insoles and many shoes’ outsoles are made with recycled Algae Foam.

Rising temperatures and excess chemicals in our lakes and rivers contribute to the growth of algae - harming the lives of plants, animals, and humans. SAOLA has partnered with the team at Bloom Foam to harvest harmful algae and create eco-friendly, bio-sourced materials for the insoles and outsoles of Saola's women's summer shoes. Bloom Foam removes toxic algae from the water and puts it through a process that dries, crushes, and converts it into powder. This powder is mixed with EVA (a synthetic material) to become Algae Foam, used for sole construction. Algae Foam replaces fifteen to twenty percent of synthetic materials in shoe soles. It 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 your feet.

sustainable materials

Organic cotton laces for environmentally friendly shoes

SAOLA uses organic cotton for all shoe laces. 

Did you know that cotton cultivation represents only 2.4% of the agricultural area but uses nearly one-quarter of the pesticides sold worldwide?

That's why SAOLA uses organic cotton for their breathable shoes for work. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are replaced by natural compost, and this cotton requires half as much water as traditional cotton. The result is cotton that is softer, more flexible, and way kinder to the planet. 

eco friendly materials

Natural cork insoles for non toxic shoes

The advantage of cork is that if you want to wear your shoes barefoot, the cork will be very comfortable. You will feel like you are walking on a cloud. In addition, the bark is harvested without impacting the trees that continue to grow. Thus, they generate a new bark that will be taken again a few years later.

shoes from recycled materials

ethical materials


We are outdoor lovers and parents of future generations and are dedicated to making a difference.

We challenge the norms, ask tough questions, and look 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 fantastic, and together we can #MAKEANIMPACT.

saola ethical brand



1 Percent for the Planet, Ethical Shoe Brands

Disheartened? So are we. But we are also optimistic because incredible people put all their energy, experience, and skills into preserving wildlife and biodiversity. 1% of SAOLA shoe sales support these people and their projects so that our children, grandchildren, and future generations can enjoy nature and animals like the SAOLA as much as we have.



Your purchase of SAOLA women's sneaker boots, men's sneaker boots, summer sandals, and other slip on shoes support Patrick Kilonzo and his organization, MWALUA WILDLIFE TRUST. Patrick, a native of Kenya, has watched many animals perish in recent years due to severe droughts in the region. Unfortunately, climate change will only continue to make this area of Africa susceptible to droughts, affecting the wildlife and ecosystems of the region. Animals affected by Patrick’s organization include elephants, buffalo, zebras, impalas, and more – all of whom rely on the area’s resources for their survival. Patrick is working to create long-term solutions that will prepare the surrounding parks and ecosystems in times of need. 



Lola ya Bonobo, or "Bonobo Sanctuary," is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Friends of Bonobos is a group of caregivers, volunteers, and committed individuals who provide aid to bonobos who were preyed upon through poaching. Friends Of Bonobos takes in young orphaned bonobos and gives them surrogate human mothers to raise them with love and care and a dedicated team of veterinarians and other extraordinary staff. Then, as adults, they are released into guarded and protected forests.



Sun Bear Outreach is an NGO based in France. They help improve the living conditions of sun bears in Indonesia, threatened by deforestation and hunting (for their meat, skin, paws, and bile used in Chinese medicine). This species, relatively unknown to the general public, comprises sensitive and highly evolved beings. Bear cubs are incredibly active, can't live without the rainforest, and demonstrate an insatiable curiosity for everything it contains. In contrast, when a cub is deprived of freedom and raised in a cage, it experiences frustration and stress.



SEE Turtles created in 2008, works to protect endangered sea turtles worldwide by supporting important turtle nesting beaches. They are also organizing volunteer trips, fighting the turtle shell trade, reducing plastic waste in sea turtle habitats, and educating people about how to protect these animals.



Coral Guardian is an NGO created in 2012. Coral Guardian works with local communities in France, Indonesia, and Spain to protect coral ecosystems. Through various awareness campaigns and mobilization, members of the non-profit move heaven and earth to replant coral around the world.


SAOLA was born with a clear goal: to offer cool, comfortable, and above all, innovative, sustainable, breathable shoes for men and also women's breathable shoes and change the shoe industry, one of the most polluting in the world.

From the start, SAOLA knew they could not change or revolutionize everything at once, so they made important choices.

After months of research and visiting factories and suppliers, they decided to focus the first phase of their revolution on what makes the most significant impact. Around 60% - 70% of the carbon footprint of shoes comes from materials and manufacturing.

SAOLA uses recycled, bio-sourced materials and innovative technologies. 


recycled shoes mens - production line

SAOLA's first goal was to find a factory in line with their social and environmental values, one that was also close to their raw material suppliers.

Since 2019, they have worked with a factory near Hanoi in Vietnam. This factory also produces products for a few major brands that have social and environmental rules in place. This allows them to guarantee favorable working conditions for the employees and also guarantees the quality of the products.


sustainable men's shoes, sustainable shoes women

Xavier, who has been based in Taiwan for many years, is responsible for product development and production monitoring. He visits Saola's factory in Hanoi to provide feedback on the quality of the factory, the working environment, and the improvement in production quality, evident season after season. While the world is constantly changing, SAOLA promises to continually search for better solutions for the social and environmental aspects of their company. 


SNEAKER BOOTS: Baikal Chocolate

sneaker boots

These sneaker boots run small. Please order one size up from what you typically wear.

The sneaker boots have become a popular concept over the last few years, and for a good reason – they’re comfortable, functional, and look fabulous. This uses a super lightweight, cushiony, partially recycled EVA outsole and a malleable upper with padded ankles for everyday comfort.

Why do we love durable shoe brands?

Super lightweight, thanks to the partially recycled EVA outsoles. It includes rubber panels on the high-contact points of the outsoles to ensure excellent durability. Uppers deliver the look and feel of suede but are made with a recycled pet from plastic bottles. There are 3-4 recycled bottles in every pair. Algae foam + cork insoles provide a comfortable cushion (and are removable if you have other insole needs). The versatile design can take you from casual Fridays to casual hikes.

SUMMER SANDALS: Sequoia Misty Blue

sustainable white sneakers

slip-in Saola’s eco-cool slip-on shoes, made with recycled and organic materials.

Waterproof shoes: Cannon Obsidian

waterproof shoes for men

Tried and true everyday go-to waterproof shoes, the Cannon is timeless in style and new-age in construction.



sustainable shoe brands



How is SAOLA pronounced?

Ahhh…the million-dollar question. As an international team with varying accents, some say SAY-oh-la, and some say SAH-ow-lah. The animal we’re named after is pronounced SOW-la. Their official stance is there are more significant problems in the world, so whatever works for you works for us. 

What makes SAOLA Shoes sustainable?

Saola is using as many recycled, organic, and bio-based materials as possible to construct their breathable work shoes. But there are still limitations preventing them from being truly 100% eco-friendly, which is why they're committed to continuing to research and make improvements every season.

How are Saola shoes environmentally friendly?

At SAOLA, they use as many recycled, organic, and bio-sourced materials as possible to make their women's non slip shoes. They focus efforts on the materials used rather than the production methods, as it represents a more significant part of the shoe’s carbon footprint (70%). Of course, the process isn’t perfect. But their goal is to become more environmentally friendly, season after season.

Why do you produce in Vietnam and not in France?

In a perfect world, they would produce shoes made of recycled plastic in every country they deliver to (i.e., if they sold shoes in France, they would make them in France). However, logistically speaking, this would be a nightmare and hard to control quality. Saola is not big enough, nor do they have the manpower. In addition, if you look at the carbon footprint of producing in Asia and shipping by boat (which is what Saola does), it has a lower impact than shipping via truck or by road, which would be the case if they produced in Europe. So instead, they focus most of their attention on the materials used in production, and as it turns out, most of those materials come from Asia. 

Vietnam... so what about the conditions of your workers?

Saola works with factories with social and environmental charters (set up by more prominent brands). But this year, they wanted to go even further. Of all the brands working with these factories, they are the first to have applied for BSCI certification and are in the process of being certified. This certification will enable Saola to guarantee favorable working conditions for employees without discrimination. It offers fair pay, decent hours, no forced labor, responsible waste management, freedom of association, and the right to collective bargaining.  


Do SAOLA Shoes come in varying widths?

No – widths are all proportionate to size, based on a “medium” fit.

I’m unsure of my size. Help.

Here is Saola's size chart. They run *pretty* close to size but a bit narrow. Generally, we recommend sizing up if you’re between sizes or unsure. Any additional specific size recommendations can be found on the product pages.

Find your perfect fit with these casual, sustainable sneakers

Do shoes made from recycled plastic bottles feel like walking on plastic?

Bless your heart. No. You wouldn’t even know they were recycled had we not told you. Saola makes recycling as comfortable and relaxed as the shoes you’ve known your whole life!

What is the best way to wash my SAOLA shoes?

Your SAOLA cool shoes can be washed in the washing machine in a delicate cycle after taking out the cork insole. 

Choose Clear Givings Market / Saola for sustainable shoes.

Sustainability practices are Clear Givings Market / Saola forte. When you purchase Saola's cool shoes, you're not only getting eco-friendly and sustainable women's shoes for work, but you're also supporting ethical employment connections. Clear Givings Market / Saola offer great gifts to inspire you and your significant other, friends, and family. 

Treat yourself now, check out Saola Shoes at Clear Givings Market! We love how Saola is revolutionizing the ultra light shoe industry and making a powerful difference. Each purchase has a positive impact, providing life-changing employment.

Enjoy your purchase with a purpose at Clear Givings Market!