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FASHION

3 Proudly SA Sneakers Brands Worth Collecting

These days sneakers make or break an outfit and these SA brands are top-tier

BY Naledi K

Jul 28, 2021, 12:34 PM

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There’s no denying the power role sneakers have in ensuring that your outfit makes sense and that you look good. In 2021, sneakers have managed to fully integrate themselves into space they didn’t previously “belong” in. From the red carpet at glitzy and glamorous award ceremonies to the white carpet down the aisle at church straight up to the brown carpet at the corner office with a view in Sandton. Needless to say, sneakers all over the world have “upgraded” their value for the people that wear them and South Africa has not been left behind in that market!

In fact, over the past couple of years we’ve seen the rise of local brands in fashion, and particularly in the business of making comfortable, stylish and still affordable sneakers. 

Like most parts of the world, we have managed to change the direction of where we spend our money as Black women, and supporting Black-owned business has been part of that mandate.
"Plus there’s just something about wearing proudly Black-owned brands that makes one feel good… think it’s Black pride!"
While most of these sneaker brands are relatively new, they have made great strides and established themselves as brands worth backing. Everything from the make, to the fabric, the sole, and the soul of these brands have made them appealing to us as Black customers.

If you don’t own a pair yet, these cool proudly Black-owned sneaker brands are worth investing in and collecting a few.

Drip

The name Drip in urban street culture means looking nice, having high fashion senses, Ukotini, style or being highly fashionable. And while the sneaker certainly fits the name, it’s the story of perseverance behind the founder and how he brought the brand to life that’s appealing for most customers.
Sneaker Bio: The story of Drip Footwear dates back to 2003, where founder Lekau Sehoana had to make the most out of what he had, which sparked innovation and creativity. Growing up in an informal settlement of Ivory Park, Lekau Sehoana didn’t have any shoes to wear. Fast-forward to 2019, the sneaker Drip was born and the rest as they say is history.

Bathu

Bathu was created with Black people in mind. The name is kasi slang for the word “shoes”. Not only did the founder, Theo Baloyi, create the sneaker out of a passion and a love for sneakers but he was also inspired by Africans and was fuelled by his desire to energise Africans, helping them to help themselves and reigniting hope within African communities through job creation.
Sneaker Bio: Bathu aims to be a sneaker brand that Africans can proudly affiliate with. A sneaker crand from Africa for Africa. In 2015, after months of conceptualizing, feasibility studies and being rejected by 13 different factories, the Mesh Edition Sneaker was born. It now has the likes of Khanyi Mbau as ambassadors.

Mpahla

In line with their own story, the pioneers behind Mpahla sneaker (mpahla can loosely be translated to clothes in isiZulu) made affordable, unisex, stylish, comfortable sneaker-line with African siblings in mind.
Sneaker Bio: The birth of Mpahla came about from a story of two brothers that used to share or alternate sneakers to clothes. Like most African siblings, they had to share clothes. So each season they’d be excited about new sneakers lines but would have to sit and choose items carefully so they could try to save money as it would not have been possible to afford two pairs of every item they liked.

That’s how their sneaker was born. Early 2016, they decided to start the process of realizing their dream of owning their own line of sneakers, took them a while but it was only in 2019 that they really disrupted the market.