It’s no secret that many major sporting goods companies are guilty of taking advantage of the skills and sweat of third world laborers. It’s not the most inspiring state of affairs, people working to manufacture top-quality products and making only a pittance for their hard work, even as the products go on to sell for millions around the world. In Ethiopia, the idea to create great footwear which will directly benefit the communities that make them took hold–and SoleRebels was born.
Founded by Ethiopian shoemaker Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, SoleRebels was launched in 2005 and carries footwear such as sandals (soleRebels Cabana Sandal), trainers (soleRebels Women’s Urban Runner Suede Lace-Up), and open shoes (soleRebels ClassACT Sandal), all of them handmade and being churned out by the hundreds–500 pairs of sandals or 200 pairs of shoes, to be exact–daily. The company’s workshop is found in Addis Ababa.
Apart from providing livelihood, SoleRebels is also known as an eco-friendly brand, with the shoes being crafted out of recycled tires and woven fabrics. The shoes’ popularity is on the rise and is being positioned as Africa’s answer to Nike or Adidas. We have yet to spot SoleRebels in stores, but you can get them online from sites such as The Child Health Site store and even Amazon.