Enda is a new shoe that hopes to give something back to the runners who inspired it, by creating jobs in their communities.
Kenya’s elite, world-record runners are the superstars of a surging global running culture. An entire cottage field of study has evolved around explaining the Kenyans’ running “secrets,” often tied to selling shoes, books, magazines, or gear of some sort. Nike’s Air Rift shoe—”inspired by the efficient barefoot style” of Kenyan runners in the Great Rift Valley—retails for $100, for instance.
For all of this, the runners and the broader economy of Kenya don’t benefit very much. The most decorated runners get lucrative sponsorships and prize money, but income earned by those training at the nation’s’ famed running centers drops off quickly if they’re not winning races. Many runners remain impoverished. (A scandal that rocked the country over the last year revealed that sports officials had embezzled large sponsorship payments from Nike that were supposed to benefit poor athletes, prompting protests).