Unless you've been living under a rock for the past month, you've seen ads for the new Cariuma CATIBA Pro pop up on social media, whether it be Instagram, Facebook or Youtube, no less than 10 times per day.
Cariuma, the little known eco-friendly and sustainable sneaker company out of Rio, Brazil, is coming in hot with their first skate shoe, the CATIBA Pro, along with a huge marketing budget and some well known skaters to boot including Mike Vallely, Leandre Sanders and Jagger Eaton, to name a few.
With sustainability and the environment being a core value for PILLLAR, what better choice for a shoe than from a company that aligns with those same values?
I want to preface this review with the fact that I've almost exclusively worn Nike SB's for as long as I can remember, so many of my comparisons will be using that as a baseline.
The Company: 10/10
1. As I mentioned, Cariuma is based out of Rio, Brazil founded by two friends and their love for board sports with their primary goal to "take a stance against the wasteful practices inherent in fast fashion. It was vital for us to reinvent the sneaker game."
2. They "embrace personal style over status-quo trends" and "empower conscious consumers to buy quality over quantity (the only true answer to sustainability)." And state that "being better for the planet is our first priority." We definitely agree.
3. 43% of their products are vegan
4. They plant 2 trees in the Brazilian rain forest for every pair of shoes sold.
At $89 for a base price and their ordering process completely easy, I was excited to get a pair of these on my feet.
Ok, let's get on with the review.
The packaging: 9/10
First of all, I hate un-boxings. Hate them. And feel that all packaging beyond the absolute bare minimum is waste, which is why with PILLLAR we minimize our packaging to the the least amount of materials as possible, thus using 100% recycled materials including newspaper for packing. That being said, I do give credit to Cariuma for also using recycled materials in their packaging and a minimal approach to their packaging and design.
The Shoe: 7.5/10
Although the shoe comes in a few limited colorways (Black/Ivory, Grey/Ivory, Black/Black, Ivory/Ivory, and Ivory/gum), I had to go with the black/Ivory, which is always my color combo of choice. All of these colorways are very safe and I think this is one area where they could've upped their game a bit more to stand out with their first skate shoe.
The logo. I have mixed feelings about the big, bold logo on the side. I've seen many comments on other reviews that say it looks "generic" or "like something you'd find at Target" and I'll be honest, I don't disagree.
Although I'm not completely in love with it, I also know how difficult it is to pick something bold, unique and hopefully recognizable, but yet not look like you're imitating the "big guys" in the skate shoe department. I feel that after time you will see more skaters wearing the CATIBA's, the logo will fall into a more comfortable landscape that will populate the scene.
The CATIBA's come with a cup sole where as I almost exclusively skate a vulcanized so I was excited to see if I could tell the difference with making the switch.
I've also been skating mids lately, which I'm coming to really like, so I'll be interested to see if they expand beyond a low in the future.
The Feel: 8/10
1. Fit - true to size. I wear an 11.5 in most Nike's so I went with an 11.5 in the CATIBA's and they felt good out of the box. I also have pretty wide feet and I did not feel the over tightness that I do with some Nike's before they're broken in.
I should also add that I've been using FP Insoles for about 2 years now. Though the Mamona oil, bio based cork insert of the CATIBAs didn't feel quite as padded as the FP soles, they did seem to protect my fragile heels through the first session with some minimal amount of impact.
Knowing my heels and their prone to bruising, I will more than likely replace the insoles after a few more sessions.
2. Breaking in - the out of the box feel was definitely on the stiffer side, but since that feels more comfortable to me, I was cool with that. If you're someone that likes a more broken in feel right away, these may feel a little rigid for your taste, however even after a few hours of skating they felt comfortable.
3. Board feel - As I mentioned, I normally skate vulcanized shoes, but I should also say the difference between vulcanized and cup sole, to me, is minimal. This is one of those Coke vs. Pepsi challenges that really comes down to personal preference, or if you're like me, as long as the shoe is comfortable, you can go either way.
Once I got that "new shoe" feel off, these felt as good as any new pair of shoes in the first session. There were no uncomfortable tight spots or rubbing areas that I noticed.
The one thing that did stand out right away was the grippy-ness of the tread. This could be due to the fact that the last pair of shoes I was rocking was almost worn all the way through the sole, so take that for what it's worth.
The Wear: 8/10
Making a durable skate shoe and one that is sustainable at that, is high on my list for requirements for getting me to switch from Nikes. So, for the CATIBA to come out of the gate and perform on par with the other big-name brands out there is quite admirable. As you can see from the photos below, the wear was pretty much on par with any other shoe after a first session. Some scraping on the toe, a little bit of tearing on the lace and some scuffs on the side.
The Verdict: 8.5/10
Jumping into the skate shoe game is pretty ballsy, however Cariuma is coming at it with a different angle with the sustainability approach. Many people, which we at PILLLAR deal with all of the time, may be skeptical of a sustainable company and their products, however the CATIBA Pro has performed extremely well for the first skate shoe for this up and coming brand.
Since this first session, I've gotten out and skated with these a few more times (also switching back and forth to my Nikes) and I can hereby declare that I will continue to wear Cariuma for the foreseeable future.
I'm also expecting (hoping) that they won't rest on their laurels and will continue to improve their product both from a design and durability perspective.
Look for a lot more to come from Cariuma!