If someone told you "I am a product designer", for the most part the design side would stick out to you and immediately ideas of luxury mixed with frivolity would be what you take away from that job title. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The blatant truth of the matter is Nigerians and Africans in general need to start designing and developing products at home, to solve one small problem at a time, to encourage people to buy locally and even internationally. Not only would we boost our economy, we would be able to export ideas out of the continent.
At Thando’s our number one philosophy is good design leads to the best possible outcome. Seeing as we are a startup, we focus most of our energy into creating a truly unique piece of footwear to target the soles and souls of our users.
Happy feet make happy people, that cannot be denied in a city where people are always on the move. We can’t seem to understand why anyone would wear uncomfortable shoes, that’s like walking into traffic with a blindfold on.
Now enough chit chat, let us break down the anatomy of our flat. As you can see our first focus is the upper which we have lasted around an anatomical foot to create zero points of pinching that cause blistering. Number 2 is the insole, the most integral part of the shoe because it comes in direct contact with your sole. Last but not the least is the sole of the shoe.
The standard footwear brand has what we call the harbinger of back pain, an insole so bad that it makes you want to give up on life. We think like a sportswear brand, if you are always moving in our shoes then you should feel like you can run in them down any terrain. Tell us the last time you saw “Nneka” running down the street in heels to catch a keke.
We have painstakingly developed an insole that targets the 3 problem areas; the arch in the foot, the heel of the foot and the ball of foot. Our insole targets the major problems areas so well that we deserve an award, in fact we should sell it on the side to put in your other shoes because it’s just that good.
The material for the insole breathes for our tropical climate and any climate really, we believe in inclusive design so our shoes can be worn all over the world. It is also odor repellent so no more moist smelly feet ladies, “ain't nobody got time for that.” We have inserted the right amount of cushioning to drive optimum comfort, it's like wearing socks, you would want to go to sleep with our shoes on.
Now onto our outsole and midsole, our first pair of shoes met most great reviews but the only complaint we received was the shoe fabric and leather coming to direct contact with the ground. Lagos streets aren't known for being the cleanest so we went into the lab and created a flexible midsole that's easy to wash but still allows for balanced stride. It still folds up and fits in your purse and glove compartment.
The split sole doesn't just allow the shoe to bend but it creates two points for energy to be expelled in your walking and running motion. Most shoes have a one piece outsole that is stiff and locks up your foot. We have measured the optimum distance between each split sole for a comfortable foot to shoe to ground ratio. I mean you can now go to work, a party and even a yoga class with your Thando’s on.
Just when you thought we were just making flats, we are on the cusp of reinventing how people interact with their shoes, african products and social innovation. There is more, so don't leave yet.
Ask yourself, what is so African about African print? If Africans don't actually design it or produce it? Thando’s now accepts submissions from african artists inside and outside of the diaspora. The idea is simple, you think it we create it, and give you royalties. In the near future our fabrics will be authentically african, designed and created in the continent for export. We are here to just shake things up, but we need your help to keep that going!
Did you know your foot is contact to all your organs? Yes, its that serious. Throw your heels away and buy a pair of our flats and if your life doesn't get better after a couple of weeks, we will give you a full refund and buy you more painful heels.