The fastest runners in the world come from? That's right - from Kenya. Running legends like Mary Keitany and David Elisha or Eliod Kipchoge, current world record holder in the marathon distance with just over two hours. They all ran their best times with shoes from major international brands. Running shoes 'Made in Kenya'? So far none.
Until now. Fast shoes are now also coming from the land of the fastest runners: 'Enda' is the name of the running shoe brand from the start-up of the same name.
'Enda' means 'run!' in the national language of Kiswahili.
The shout that fans use to cheer on their athletes, especially in the last few meters. The company is based in the Rift Valley, the training stronghold of the Kenyan professional running scene. Because at Enda, runners develop for runners. “The athletes are the experts, they know best what makes a good running shoe, so we work together with local runners when developing our shoes,” says Enda founder Navalayo Osembo-Ombati.
Two models for men and women are currently on the market, the 'Iten' for fast, short runs, the 'Lapatet' for relaxed long runs, and shoes for cross-country runs and competitions will soon be available. Bringing out a new edition of the models again and again , as is usual in the industry, Osembo-Ombati doesn't think much of that. "What really matters is consistent training." The focus is on the performance of the shoes, Enda's trademark are particularly durable soles.
In terms of design, all elements are Kenya-inspired. The logo resembles the tip of a spear, the country's traditional hunting weapon. Red and green lace eyelets represent the colors of the Kenyan flag. Kitenge, a typical fabric in East Africa, is used in the heel, the shoe upper has the country - typical Kikoi pattern. And on the midsole is the word 'Harambee' - 'Let's all pull together.' Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta, launched a social self-help movement under the motto, which still plays a major role in the lives of Kenyans today.
Also for Enda boss Osembo-Ombati. The 33-year-old chartered accountant herself comes from the Rift Valley. For a long time she thought about how the importance of running could be used to improve living conditions. In Kenya, running is part of the national identity. At the same time, running is often the only chance young people have of escaping poverty.