Introducing the Afridrille, the world's first fully-customizable espadrille shoe, designed in Austin and handmade in Kenya. Three things make this shoe special:
- Classic and customizable: You can choose from our ‘Classic’ colors, or go with a ‘Custom’ pair to design your shoe inside and out! There are endless options so you can create a unique pair to match your style.
- Empowering women and children: Each pair of shoes is hand-made by entrepreneurial Kenyan women, our Maker Mums. We pay above-market wages, and 100% of net income supports life-changing care for children with special needs in Kenya.
- Responsibly sourced: We develop long-term partnerships with our suppliers so we can ensure our entire supply chain is socially and environmentally responsible.
The espadrille is a timeless shoe style. It's versatile, casual, and comfortable, and our Classic Afridrilles add a couple key improvements: super-soft leather insoles and a dash of African flair in the interior lining.
We offer our Classics at a discounted price in our four most popular colors: black, natural, safari green, and gray.
Available Colors for the Classic Afridrille
We think the Classics are gorgeous, but we wanted a challenge: Could we make this shoe fully customizable, a perfect reflection of each customer's individual style?
Nothing about our Custom Afridrilles is “off the rack”. Each customer creates their own unique shoe by selecting from:
- 10 colors of the canvas
- 13 silk-screened print designs (or plain!)
- 12 colors of ink for the print
- 12 inner linings in Kenyan kanga prints
For a small taste of what combinations are available, check out our lookbook!
We’ve partnered with our friends at Zazzle to bring some beautiful technology to the Afridrille design process. Using their interactive software, you can see exactly what your shoe will look like as you select from an wide variety of options.
The Afridrille Designer on Desktop
The Afridrille Designer on Mobile
Zazzle is providing us with the use of their proprietary design software at no cost during the Kickstarter so you can see exactly what your shoes will look like as you design them. Customers will receive a link to design their shoes on the Zazzle platform at the end of the campaign.
'Ubuntu' is a South African philosophy that speaks to the reality that we are all connected and interdependent.
Positive economic and social impact is what sets the Afridrille apart from other purpose-driven shoes. Each pair of Afridrilles is hand-sewn by our Maker Mums in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. These are entrepreneurial women who directly benefit from every pair of shoes sold, because they’re the ones making them! And 100% of what we make from our products goes to support life-changing healthcare and therapy for children with special needs.
All our Mums earn above-market wages, have health insurance (almost never provided by the private sector here), and are able to send their children to school. None of our Maker Mums were homeowners when they started working with us, and now today half own their own homes. Every single Mum takes a huge amount of pride in her work and her empowered role in the community
Why do we call these women our “Maker Mums?” Because the majority of the women in the Ubuntu Sewing Studio have children enrolled in the Ubuntu Special Needs Centre, where we provide healthcare and education for children living with a variety of special needs, including Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy.
Every single cent of our net income supports life-changing care for children with special needs through our Special Needs Centre and medical camps.
Buying an Afridrille isn’t just a transaction, it's a connection to these Mums and their children and supports a transformation in their lives.
Every step of our supply chain represents a positive economic benefit to each person who helps make the Afridrille.
Our suppliers are long-term partners who provide meaningful jobs and have excellent standards of employment. All our Custom Afridrilles are silk-screened by hand at our partner Color Creations, for example. We source our leather insoles from a local boutique tannery, and our blue-and-orange tags are hand-beaded by Maasai craftswomen.
Now it's time to have fun! Browse the rewards below and then select from the right-hand side of the page, which also contains more detailed information about the perks you’ll receive from backing our campaign!
Here is a look at our other Ubuntu Made products that are in the rewards packages:
We’ve sourced top-quality materials for the Afridrille, in order to make a shoe that will be comfortable all day long, and can last for years.
- Canvas: Heavyweight 15-oz plain weave canvas
- Tag: Leather tag beaded by hand by Maasai artisans
- Print: Silk-screened by hand using water-based, non-toxic inks
- Leather: 100% Kenyan nubuck pull-up leather, cut by hand
- Sole: Traditional Spanish jute rope sole lined with vulcanized rubber for durability
Backers can choose from almost unlimited design options! Colors and patterns are subject to change over the course of the campaign (we'll keep you informed if we do!), but our current offering includes:
The Afridrille is available in standard US mens' and womens' sizes. The fit of our shoes is true-to-size and intentionally snug at first. Within a few hours, they’ll conform to your feet.
Since we can not offer returns on customized Afridrilles, we encourage you to measure your feet at home to be 100% sure!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A ruler or tape measure
- Masking tape or a pencil
- A door or flat section of wall with flat baseboards
How to measure your feet:
- Barefoot, stand straight with your heel against the wall or door. Do this in the evening, or the afternoon at least, once you’ve been on your feet for a while. Who wants to measure feet in the morning anyway?
- Mark the end of your foot by placing a piece of masking tape or a pencil on the floor parallel to the wall, flush with the tip of your furthest toe.
- Stand back up straight and check again. Is your marker right on? As your carpenter would say, measure twice and cut once. (Please do not make any cuts in this process.) Adjust the tape if necessary.
- This is exhausting, and you deserve a break. Step away from the wall. Be careful not to disturb the tape/pencil marking the length of your foot.
Measure the distance from the wall/door to the tape/pencil.
Repeat with your other foot, since most folks have feet with slightly different lengths. This probably goes without saying, but if your feet are different sizes, you should buy for your larger foot.
- Look up your shoe size in the tables below. If you’re between sizes, round up to the next one
After this Kickstarter campaign ends, we’ll send you an easy survey to fill out, and will also include a link to the Afridrille Designer if you ordered any ‘Custom’ pairs to design your shoes on the Zazzle platform! We plan to go into production by mid-May at the latest, and should deliver shoes to your door in time for the peak summer season.
Hurry up and back this campaign earlier rather than later, as shoes will be produced in the order that they are submitted!
Impact begins with community! We would love your help by introducing our campaign to your own community and spreading the word across your social networks. Click any or all of the banners below to share this campaign, and thank you so much for your support!
Share with your friends on Facebook!
Give a little tweet love!
Follow us on Instagram!
If you have any other questions or want to dig deeper into the Ubuntu story, please visit the FAQ!
Risks and challenges
We're fortunate to be in advanced stages of design and prototyping, which means we've already learned a lot about the materials and fit of our shoe. However, our design and operations teams have encountered several risks in this project, and we're working hard to minimize them.
The first set of risks are operational. With over 20,000 distinct designs, production requires strict processes to communicate production requirements, produce orders exactly as requested, and check quality at multiple points throughout the process.
A second risk is controlling the build quality. Since these are made by hand and a first-of-its-kind product in Kenya, we can mitigate this risk by investing early in rigorous training programs for our Mums, defining consistent step-by-step processes, and ensuring we have multi-point quality control throughout the process to identify any issues early.
Third, we are currently launching extensive real-world and laboratory wear-testing of our shoes to make sure that none of the materials have hidden defects that only reveal themselves in time. We will have the results from these tests before we need to start production of the Afridrille.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)