Friday, June 22

Sole Of Africa

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Since the car tyre first hit the shores of Kenya, the Maasai community has used them to create sandals, called ‘Akala’. Maasai Treads has taken on the age-old Maasai tradition of using car tyres as the raw material to create sandals & shoes. And it works because the Maasai, a nomadic society of herders, often travel hundreds of kilometers a week in search of food and water to feed their cattle.

The company’s directors have a passion for up-cycling and working with local communities. They combined the ‘Akala’ sandal with their love for Kenyan Fabrics to create Maasai Treads sandals and shoes.

Moreover, they educate their staff in the art of shoemaking. Sustainability is a key goal whereby knowledge and skills gained help their craftsmen to provide for their families and their communities.

They are also in the process of registering with the World Fair Trade Organization in order to keep abreast of information regarding renumeration and support for their team.

The company also has close ties with the NGO, a Kenyan registered charity in Nairobi. LocalAid provides a future for street children as well as giving them a home and an education. Fareed Khimani is one of the directors along with Frank Hinrichs and tells us that Sumer and her team from localaid give streetkids, a second chance. They give them a home, regular daily life and bring them back to school. Check their website for more details and don’t hesitate to support them, also directly. With each pair of Massai Treads sold, this project is supported.

The directors’ ethos is that a Maasai Tread’s customer is not just supporting an environmentally conscious Kenyan business, but rather touching everyone involved along the way.

Fareed talks about their history being great and their future being yet greater for the company, “but it is the present that we are most proud of. Business is business and there is no denying that every business is created to become profitable. However, making money and changing lives is something that we take great pride in here at Maasai Treads.

“We have committed ourselves to creating well paying jobs and excellent conditions for our fellow citizens. What you see in our product, comes from pride in the workplace. From the Mitumba markets where we buy our materials, to the women’s groups who do our beadwork, this is an all-inclusive product that passes through a number of caring hands along the way”.

Their designs, having the wanderer in mind are taken from classic shapes like the safari boot that can take you anywhere from the city to the bush. The sandals are equally robust with attractive tartan checks or Kikoi stripes against the black tyre. Minimalist and modern, for slipping into whilst travelling, at home or on the beach.

Fareed continues. “Everything we do is aimed at applying the unique cultural style’s and designs that Kenya has to offer and we do so in sexy and funky products that have become a ‘must have’ is footwear in Kenya and across our borders. Our products have now hit the shores of The UK and Germany and later this year Maasai Treads will be available in The United States. Let’s just call it a win-win for us as a company, for you as the consumer and for those who pour their heart and soul into creating the real “Sole of Africa’.

Maasai Treads is starting a crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo this summer. The goal is to double their production by educating and employing more staff. They will be looking for support via their social media.


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