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Shoes and Shoe 4 Africa

Shoe 4 Africa was named after an incident; a shoe lost in Africa on Dec 29th, 1999…

Although shoes were a large part of Shoe4Africa, they were not the main part… It was a step forward (a shoe as a symbol) out of poverty, a way of transposing you from here to a there.  We had many projects going on and shoes were one of them.  Addressing hookworm through giving shoes was a major project as seen here in our drive for Shoes to give out in Kibera.  We gave out 12,000 pairs and had 5,000 women gather at Kibera Primary School – probably the largest ever gathering of women-only in one place in Kenya’s history!  Certainly the largest women’s-only running race ever.  Here is our (best) trailer for collecting the shoes in 2007


The event itself was crazy, and can be seen here…

However now we are drifting… in 2016 we read that the East African Governments had met and were united that they wished to stop the import of secondhand clothes by 2019 to give the local tailors a chance to succeed in a highly competitive market.  With thousands of tons of s/hand clothes coming in many tailors had left the trade.

To stop what is a today a huge market they began by raising the taxes – we used to pay $1 or $2 for each pair of shoes we imported, which we felt was reasonable (typically we held events giving out 1,000 pairs) but when this number leapt to $10 per shoe in 2016 we took the hint.

Right now there is a dire need of quality second hand running shoes for the massive amount of people wishing to be runners in Kenya and no factory in Kenya making shoes.

One company is currently trying, making the shoes in the far east and assembling the final product in Kenya, another company is looking to start a fitness shoe – but truth be told the nike, adidas, asics, new balances won’t be replaced in the next decade.  Sadly (Running) Shoes are included in the secondhand clothes docket!

Regardless, we are dramatically scaling back as we want to be as supportive as possible to the Kenyan Government and be compliant with their wishes – thus we will no longer import containers (mass) amounts of running shoes.

We are more focused on helping with health and education.  Sending one pair of shoes to Kenya now costs $10 in postage and almost the same amount in import tax*; more expensive than buying a shoe in Kenya.  $11 will buy a new desk for a child at one of our schools, or vital medicines at our hospital… thus our focus has shifted.
*Taxes are high for s/hand goods as the country is trying to move away from the imports of so much s/hand goods.


Read more The Economist  The BBC

Update Oct 2017.  The taxes now stand at $11 per imported pair of s/hand shoes.  No resolution with the government has been upheld due to the large amount of monies drifting through the secondhand clothes market.  For Shoe4Africa, again, we do not want to interfere in East African trade.  (update).

For the Hospital and the sick kids;

Thank you for your kind letter, please see below;


And thank you for your kind letter offering to help.  Please send gently used Kids running shoes to;

Shoe4Africa Children’s Hospital, MTRH Campus


Attn: Toby Tanser CEO Shoe4Africa

3 Nandi Road,

Eldoret 30100, KENYA

Please write a short a note to include inside the box describing what this donation is for; for eg.

To Shoe4Africa

Please find use kids running shoes to be given to the Children to help them rehabilitate and recover quicker

Your name

And for us please send us a picture for our blog.  Thank you!