Enda, a Kenyan startup making running shoes, beat more than 400 other entrants to win the Body & Mind category at the ISPO Brandnew competition in Munich, Germany.
Enda is the first African company to win the contest.
Held as part of the ISPO trade show, the ISPO Brandnew contest is the largest sports start-up competition in the world. This was the 20th edition of the contest, and it marks the first time an African company won. Notable previous Brandnew winners include action camera company GoPro and watch brand Nixon. The Body & Mind category of the contest celebrates fitness products ranging from running shoes to sports nutrition and exercise equipment.
“I’ve been wearing sneakers for 50 years, and Enda won me over right from the start,” said award jury member Barbara Klein, Managing Director & Founder of Flexi-Sports. “And the story behind it is something special. I like the fact that a running shoe has been developed in Africa based on the experience of the local athletes.”
Enda entered the contest with their newest model, the Lapatet, which is set to be released in late February. Lapatet, meaning “running” in some Kalenjin languages, is the company’s first entrance into the daily-trainer category and the mainstream running market.
“The Lapatet is a great shoe, and it’s a joy to see it earn this prestigious recognition,” said Enda Co-Founder and CEO Navalayo Osembo. “We’re grateful to everyone who has made creating Kenyan running shoes possible, especially those who pre-ordered the Lapatet last year, making it possible for us to bring it into production. We can’t wait to have thousands of runners around the world out enjoying this shoe.”
Enda, “go” in Swahili, launched with a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2016 by co-founders Navalayo Osembo and Weldon Kennedy. The first model, the Iten, is a lightweight trainer and has sold more than 4,000 pairs.
The company is driven by a social mission to connect runners around the world to the culture of Kenyan running and to increase the amount of income Kenya generates from its running reputation.