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Shaun Hunter | 09.23.2019

soleRebels Hand Crafted Shoes specs

  • Materials include hand-spun cotton, recycled tires, and natural fibers including hemp, koba, and jute
  • Various styles including slip ons, lace ups, boots, flats, sneakers and sandals

Where to Buy

Prices vary • soleRebels | Amazon

The bottom line: soleRebels is an artisanal shoe brand, headquartered in Ethiopia, that uses localized materials and traditional production methods to make a variety of shoe types for fans and consumers within and outside of Ethiopia.



Utilizing shoe design and build practices that merge the traditional and the eco-conscious ideal, soleRebels is a shoe designer that seeks to take the products of a small Ethiopian community and artisan makers to a wider audience. Featuring qualities that North Americans may perceive as specialty characteristics, soleRebels is quick to acknowledge that these are par for the course in normal Ethiopian design.

soleRebels makes shoes for men and women in a variety of styles and colorways. Slip-ons, flats, sneakers, boots, and sandals are among the different models found in their catalog. Shoes are made using hand-spun cotton and loomed fibers, which are grown locally and transported to employees practicing traditional artisan crafting methods. Other materials used by the company are koba and jute plant fibers, and local leather in models that contain leather—most models are vegan-friendly.

Soles and laces are made from recycled tires, which the company points out is a standard practice in Ethiopia, and it is not looked at as recycling but rather the normal lifecycle of rubber tires.

While soleRebels professes to follow eco-ethical guidelines in the manufacture of their shoes, they also mention that they are simply designing and creating shoes in the Ethiopian tradition, only attempting it to bring this awareness of materials and labor to a wider scale.

Differing from North American shoe sizing, when buying a pair of soleRebels the wearer gives their foot measurement in centimeters, so that their shoes are made for their specific fit. Once worn in, their shoes are comfortably well-fit. Their laces are made from recycled rubber, which I'll admit takes a little bit of getting used to following a lifetime of fabric laces, but the simple eco-aesthetic of the shoes would be of great appeal for those who like mass-marketed, conscientious brands such as Tom's.

I got a pair of runAROUND FREEDOM's, which are a low-top sneaker, but the solid craftsmanship and build of the style make it a pair I could wear for more conventional everyday activities. Although the soles are made from used car tires that have been cut and cleaned, the smoother tread isn't quite aggressive enough to wear these on outdoor activities that would require grip, such as hiking on sloped trails.

The PureMAGIC mSh shoes are a slip-on, so the non-aggressive tread is fine for the casual everyday activities that this style is a good fit for.

Women's shoes come in a variety of styles, from colorful flats to hefty light boots. Comfort is the most striking quality about the exOdus ahhh boots.

Those who appreciate artisanal and eco-conscious products will have a strong appreciation for soleRebels shoes and their efforts to preserve traditional shoe-making methods and bring them forward into the global shoe market. That the company integrates locally grown and upcycled materials on a larger scale into their products whenever possible—from the used-tire soles to cotton shipping packages—are great habits in an industry all too often based on brand recognition and exploitive manufacturing practices. That soleRebels offers dozens of styles of men's and women's shoes in a large variety of colors that are custom built for every order make this a company worth looking into.


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