Enda, a brand committed to improving life in Kenya and creating new jobs in the region, has designed a running shoe inspired by that country’s culture. Kenyan athletes are known for being the best runners in the world — the six fastest marathon times are all held by Kenyans — and Enda hopes to inspire other athletes to connect to the country’s rich running heritage. The shoe takes design cues from Kenyan symbols: 12 stripes symbolize Kenya’s independence, and the word harambee, printed on the sole, means “all pull together” in Swahili and is the official motto of Kenya. Enda is calling its new shoe the Iten, which they peg as “the world’s greatest running shoe.”
To start, Enda will have each part of the running shoe made in Asia, and will then assemble the shoes in Kenya. In the long term, they hope to manufacture every part of the shoe in Kenya, stimulating the local economy and creating new jobs. “Enda is a social enterprise,” said Nava Osembo-Ombati, one of Enda’s co-founders. “Meaning that we want to do as much good as we possibly can for Kenya.” The shoe features a 4mm drop, which makes it a great mid-foot/forefoot striking shoe. It has enough cushion to make it a great training option, while still staying slim enough to wear for race day. “Kenya defines excellence in running, and we’ve made a shoe that’s worthy of that tradition,” said Enda’s other co-founder Weldon Kennedy. “This is the perfect half marathon shoe.”
The Iten is campaigning now on Kickstarter and is available for $100. The shoes are expected to ship this November.