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Home EVA Foam: Diving into the Latest in Sustainable Footwear

EVA Foam: Diving into the Latest in Sustainable Footwear

Sustainable footwear is a growing movement aimed at reducing the environmental impact of something most people use every day. A major part of this process is sourcing higher quality materials that don't rely on harmful chemicals during the production process. EVA foam has been a game changer in revolutionizing the industry and is an integral part of REEF's commitment to sustainability. Wondering exactly what is EVA material? Keep reading to learn more about how this eco-friendly footwear is made and why it still looks great and stands up to your day-to-day wear and tear.

What is EVA Foam?

EVA foam stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (hence the acronym EVA). It's an alternative material to thermoplastics, such as PVC. While this type of foam is used in many applications, it's especially well-suited to create EVA shoes. Here are five of our favourite features that make EVA a great material for sandals and other footwear.

Lightweight: One of the biggest advantages of using EVA foam in footwear is that it's extremely light. You won't be weighed down by heavy soles. Instead, you'll get all-day support whether you're in jogging sneakers or slipping into your favourite pair of REEF sandals. 

Versatile: Another benefit of EVA foam is that it moulds well, making it easy for us to create the perfect design. REEF's EVA styles include slides, flip flops, and double straps. We also add traction on the bottom so it's easy to walk on any surface without slipping. 

Flexible: EVA foam moves with your feet to maximize comfort. In fact, it's even more flexible than rubber, making it a popular option in all types of shoes. While we use EVA foam in sandals, you can also find it in the soles of our trainers and boots. 

Shock-absorbing: Shoes with EVA foam feel extremely cushiony. Your joints are also protected because the combined softness and thickness of the material is shock absorbent. Overall, you'll notice major comfort with every step you take, even if you're active most of the day.   

Waterproof: EVA sandals are a must-have for any activity on the water, whether you're heading to the beach or hopping on a boat. Plus, the material is buoyant, so your sandal is easy to find if you lose it in the water.

Is Sugar Cane EVA Foam a Sustainable Material?

Some types of EVA are derived from crude oil, which isn't a renewable resource. At REEF, however, we exclusively use sugar cane EVA. It's derived from sugar cane, making it an eco-friendly alternative with a lower environmental impact.

Sugar Cane EVA Explained

Sugar cane EVA swaps out harmful petroleum materials in favour of plant-based sourcing. It is recyclable and even compostable in industrial compost. The sugar cane used in REEF footwear is sustainably sourced in Brazil. 

There's another major benefit of using plant-based materials. Not only is sugar cane a renewable resource, but it also absorbs carbon, which helps to lower CO2 emissions. Additionally, EVA is produced from the non-edible portion of the sugar cane plant, eliminating food waste. 

From the beginning of sugar cane EVA footwear's lifespan to the end, we can create a much lower carbon footprint. In fact, our formula uses 51% bio content allowing us to be carbon neutral in the production of our EVA sandals and midsoles.

How Does an EVA Foam Footbed Feel?

You don't have to sacrifice comfort for sustainability. REEF's EVA foam footbeds provide plenty of support on the beach and in the water. The texture is smooth and soft; in fact, EVA has gained a reputation for being even more comfortable than traditional materials like rubber or cork. 

And the flexible quality of EVA also adapts to your foot shape more quickly than other materials. Plus, it's able to regain its shape so it doesn't stay compressed and lose its shock absorbance over time.

Here's what some of our customers have to say about wearing REEF's EVA foam footwear:

"I am in love with these water-friendly sandals as it's so comfortable and versatile. The best part about this sandal is that it is so lightweight and durable and does not slip at all." - Anvit S.

"The Oasis sandals are very comfortable, even with a bunion on one foot. There are not many shoes that are comfortable for me now, so this style is a winner!" - Carolyn T.  

"I actually feel arch support unlike nearly every other sandal I have tried." - Brett H.

It's clear that our customers feel the difference with EVA foam — and we couldn't agree more. 

Is EVA Foam Waterproof?

One of the reasons EVA foam is so perfect for REEF lovers is that it's an extremely waterproof material. The foam has a closed-cell structure, which blocks moisture from getting in. Whether you're kayaking in the water, showering at the gym, or washing your car, you can pop on a pair of EVA REEFs in total comfort and move onto your next activity without soaked feet.

On top of being waterproof, EVA foam is extremely resistant to extreme temperatures and UV rays. So even if you're sunbathing on the beach all day, the quality of your shoes will hold up over time. You don't have to worry about fading or cracking, even with daily use. It's regularly touted as a go-to choice for high-impact uses like footwear.

What else is EVA used for?

With so many high-performing features, it's no surprise that EVA foam is being used in other applications as well. Here are other industries that are pioneering this sustainable material.

Sports equipment

EVA foam has tons of use cases in the sports industry thanks to being lightweight and shock absorbent. For instance, it's used as padding in snow and water ski boots, helmets, and even bike seats. 

EVA is also buoyant, making it a great fit in fishing and water sports. Manufacturers have used it in fishing rod handles as well as boat flooring. And when you're at the beach, you may even see EVA foam rescue tubes that are incredibly light for lifeguards to carry.


We know EVA doesn't weigh much and that it's also extremely durable. That's why many packaging companies are using this material for shipping fragile items like electronics. The foam is easy to cut into specific sheets to support any item that needs to be protected. If you've ever ordered a delicate item that fits perfectly into its foam packaging, it's probably made from EVA. 


The same benefits used by the footwear industry are also being used in the healthcare field. You can find EVA foam in products like splints and braces, as well as other types of medical padding. Physical therapy facilities use EVA foam for padded surfaces that provide major support during patient exercises. It's also present in paediatric care wards where patients need padded cribs. 

REEF's sustainable designs

REEF is at the forefront of incorporating EVA into innovative and sustainable designs. By opting for sugar cane-sourced EVA instead of petroleum based-EVA, our eco-friendly lines are carbon neutral. Plus, we're able to mould the foam into beach-worthy designs in several silhouettes to choose from. Each pair comes with arch support, soft cushioning, and traction on the bottom. 

Final thoughts

EVA foam derived from sugar cane brings renewable resources into the footwear industry. Not only is this plant-based material better for the environment, but it also brings an extra layer of comfort and durability. At REEF, we care about the environment as much as our customers do, which is why we are committed to incorporating eco-friendly practices into fashion-forward designs. 

Explore our EVA sandal collection to add stylish footwear to your closet and build out your sustainable wardrobe. Shop the Oasis Collection.


Shop our Women’s Sustainable Styles & Men’s Sustainable Styles.