Company Spotlight: SAOLA

“SAOLA” is inspired by the elusive Saola, a rare species of antelope native to Vietnam (affectionately dubbed the Asian unicorn)

March 22, 2024


Big life, small footprint. That’s the motto of SAOLA Shoes – an innovative shoe company founded with the mission to combine style, comfort, and eco-consciousness. 

It all starts with shoes made from sustainable materials like cork, recycled plastic, and organic cotton. You get a pair of shoes you love… and SAOLA donates to protect forests and endangered species for every order. 

Here’s how SAOLA Shoes does things a bit differently! 

The Brand Story: Walking the Talk

In 2015, founder, husband, and father of two Guillaume made a big decision. He left his job in the outdoor industry to start a footwear brand unlike any other. Born out of a passion for the outdoors and a deep concern for the environment, he recognized the need for footwear that not only performed well but minimized environmental impact.

In 2018, SAOLA shoes was born. 

And the brand’s name itself reflects its ethos. “SAOLA” is inspired by the elusive Saola, a rare species of antelope native to Vietnam (affectionately dubbed the Asian unicorn). Discovered a mere two decades ago, this rare species already teeters on the brink of extinction, serving as an emblem of biodiversity’s plight.

The name SAOLA now reflects the brand’s dedication to preserving biodiversity and wildlife habitats with every purchase. 

SAOLA Sustainability Efforts

SAOLA walks the walk (literally!) Their sustainability initiatives embed a positive impact into every purchase. Here’s how: 

1% for the Planet & Wildlife Conservation 

As a member of 1% for the Planet, SAOLA donates 1% of revenue to environmental nonprofits changing the world. 

They specifically focus on wildlife conservation efforts by supporting organizations committed to rescuing, caring, and rewilding animals. Each year, they select a different non-profit where they can create the most impact.

In 2024, 1% of their revenue will be donated to Friends of Bonobos – a non-profit that provides rescue, sanctuary, and rewilding to endangered bonobos and protects the rainforests where they live.

Sustainable Manufacturing

Saola Shoes prioritizes low-impact production methods, such as water-based adhesives and energy-efficient manufacturing processes. By minimizing water usage, energy consumption, and emissions, the brand strives to mitigate its environmental impact at every stage of production.

With a presence across four continents, their products are meticulously crafted in Vietnam—a strategic location enabling them to further minimize their carbon footprint.

Product Education

On every SAOLA shoe product page, you can learn exactly what each shoe is made of, how much CO2 is emitted, and what certifications it has.

By giving shoppers like you all the information, SAOLA creates a culture of transparency – and lets you shop aligned with your values. 

Walking Towards a Brighter Future

What sets SAOLA apart is their innovative materials. Priority is given to natural and recycled materials, and their manufacturing process reduces CO2 emissions while extending the lifespan and recyclability of their shoes. 

Today, recycled or natural materials make more than 70% of their shoes – with a goal to increase this percentage every year!

Outsole Materials

  • Recycled EVA: At SAOLA, waste is a resource. They utilize production waste to create new soles from recycled EVA! 
  • Vibram Ecostep Natural: Renowned for exceptional grip and durability, Vibram’s Ecostep Natural maintains the same high standard of performance while reducing environmental impact. Crafted with over 90% natural ingredients and free from solvents or chemicals, it embodies sustainable excellence.

Insole Materials

  • Recycled Cork: Hand-harvested without felling trees, cork is a renewable organic material that supports biodiversity. Its flexibility, and moisture-wicking properties make it an ideal choice for sustainable insoles.

Upper Materials

  • Recycled PET, Certified GRS: By utilizing recycled PET they mitigate environmental impact by reducing raw material consumption, and waste. SAOLA’s recycled PET is GRS-certified, ensuring transparency and adherence to rigorous environmental and social standards.
  • OEKO-TEX Knit: The knit construction not only minimizes material wastage by precisely adapting production to shoe size but also guarantees optimal comfort, lightness, and breathability. Plus, it’s OEKO-TEX certified! 
  • Vegan Leather and Microfiber: SAOLA’s vegan leather is composed of 87% Recycled PET , 9% Polyester and microfiber and offers the aesthetic and tactile appeal of genuine leather without animal products.
  • Bio-Certified Cotton Laces: GOTS-certified organic cotton laces require less water than conventional cotton laces. 

Every part of a SAOLA shoe was chosen mindfully to create the most sustainable product on the market. Each step taken in SAOLA footwear is a stride towards a greener, more conscientious future.

Shop Sustainable Shoes

Their focus might be on sustainability, but comfort and style are just as important. Today they offer a diverse range of footwear, from lifestyle sneakers to slip-ons and sandals. 

Here’s a few of our favorite products:

  • Cannon Knit: this shoe features a soft and breathable knit upper that provides air circulation and prevents sweat. Our summer go-to! Explore Women’s and Men’s styles.
  • Tsavo: this features a cushioned midsole and thick outsole design to absorb shock and support your arches while walking long distances. Explore Women’s and Men’s styles.

Explore all SAOLA shoes below!

SAOLA Shoes & Karma Wallet 

SAOLA is more than just footwear; their values are ingrained in every stitch. And this is just the beginning! 

At Karma Wallet, we are proud to have SAOLA as a Karma Collective partner – joining our community of brands offering rewards to conscious consumers like you.

You can now earn exclusive cashback rewards with SAOLA on the Karma Wallet Card. Join the movement below!