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Enda: The Kenyan Touch

Part 3: Iten, Lapatet and Koobi Foora

BY Agnes Amondi

Aug 25, 2022, 07:30 AM

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Throughout our conversation, Nava continuously reiterated Enda’s intentions of reflecting Kenya’s history and culture with their products. To begin with, the very name of the brand, Enda.

“We had other options but the name Enda fit perfectly. First of all, it means go, which embodies the spirit of running. It’s also the word that people use when supporting their athletes. They always shout enda! enda! enda!. The word itself is also short, memorable and can be used in any sport.”

This theme has been replicated across their three lines of shoes - Iten, Lapatet and the Koobi Fora.

Enda Iten

Enda Iten, the first model is super light and is meant for short runs covering distances of 5 KM to 20 KM. "If you put it on, you might feel like you aren’t wearing any shoes."

"It pays tribute to the history of running. It was named after the Iten town where most runners train and produced gold medal winners like Olympic gold medalist and 800m world record holder David Rudisha."

The town christened as 'The Mecca of world athletics' also attracts high-profile foreign athletes like multiple Olympic champion Mo Farah and former women marathon holder Paula Radcliffe. At 2400 metres above sea level, it provides ideal conditions for high-altitude training. 

"Enda Iten comes in the colours of the Kenyan flag, red, green and black. Red signifies the bloodshed in the fight for independence, green is for vegetation, black for the people and its white sole is a symbol of peace. The logo is a tip of a spear from the court of arms which underscores the spirit of go.”

“The shoe has 12 lines on its side that represent December 12, the day Kenya became a republic and also captures the concept of freedom. The word Harambee is engraved on the sole of the shoe and pays tribute to Kenya’s national motto which means pulling together. Geometric patterns at the side were borrowed from Swahili kangas. 

At the groove of Enda Iten is a depression, a symbol of the escarpments and the floor of the great rift valley, the region from which most athletes hail.”


The Lapatet has a more bouncy response with a much softer cushion and is thicker than the Iten. It’s recommended for longer runs - 42 KM which is a full marathon or races longer than that. 

“It was inspired by natural features. The original version had three colourways - grey for the sky, blue for the ocean and yellow for the Savannah. The waves on the upper capture the motions of the wind.”

“The theme of the Kenyan flag carries on with the red, green and black colours on the eyelets. The heel and tongue of the shoe contain Swahili fabrics - the kitenge and kikoi, which are Kenyans' day-to-day casual and office wear. Like the rest, it has the word Harambee at the bottom. The midsole highlights the topographical map of some of the locations of the Rift Valley."

Koobi Fora

This is Enda's latest line of shoes. This is a trail running shoe built to withstand rough conditions such as off-road, on-road and mountainous landscapes. It’s made of a tough nylon ballistic plate that prevents sharp thorns from going past the skin of the shoe. The sole has more lagged patterns and the shoe is waterproof.

“The Koobi Fora pays homage to homo rudolfensis and homo erectus who was found around lake Turkana which is where humankind became upright and bi-pedal. With that, they had to run to fend for themselves which literally says that not only Kenya is the home of runners but of running as well.”

“On the loops of the laces, it has 1470 inscriptions, part of the naming regime of the skull of Homo rudolfensis which was found around lake Turkana in Koobi Fora. The insoles have an imprint with the word Ileret which can be found near Koobi Fora, where the remains of H.Rudolfensis were found.”

Newspaper In Shoes

Enda shoes use Kenyan newspapers as stuffing material, as Navalayo explains, “to allow people to see the other part of the world and what it’s worried about." 

"It’s good for empathy and makes us realise that we are all the same. We want to be in a world where we understand each other more. Some people haven’t travelled to Kenya so it makes them curious about our existence." 

This stems from Nava’s interest in history and sees the need to share this kind of information with her clients.

“I value history and development and so we are using the shoes to educate people. When someone buys the shoes, they’ll learn about Koobi Fora, the story of Iten and more which is another way of sharing our history and culture. It’s also important because we don’t just have a purely transactional relationship with our clients.”       

In the last part of our series, find out why you should consider getting a pair of Enda shoes the next time you are looking for an upgrade.

Read More: Here's Why You Should Buy ENDA Shoes