“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and he will feed himself for life.” That’s the mantra of Nisolo Shoes and what sets them apart from other “conscious consumer” brands like Tom’s and Warby Parker. The basic philosophy is simple: create jobs in impoverished lands addressing not the “effects of poverty,” but the cause.
Based in Trujilo, Peru and Nashville, Tennessee, talented shoemakers Willan, Juan, Roxana, and Mendez are making handsome, well-crafted kicks that are putting their Peruvian community on the map, fostering responsible purchasing power in the U.S., and creating jobs in their homeland. And if you can’t get enough of what this company is all about, well, its story of origin makes it all the more intriguing.
Founder and CEO of Nisolo Shoes, Patrick Woodyard, spent time in Peruvian villages preparing for business school and helping women business owners grow their small businesses to better provide for their families. When he met one client’s husband, a gifted shoemaker, he put down the books and followed a dream of empowering talented craftsman in bridging a gap and getting their products into the hands of more customers. Joined by Nick Meyer and Zoe Cleary, Nisolo Shoes was born.
It wouldn’t mean anything if the shoes weren’t great and that’s what brings us to the Chavito Chukka. It has a durable rubber outsole and a cushioned, microporous interior for maximum comfort. It retails for $137 and is available directly from the Nisolo Shoes online shop.
If boots aren’t your thing, Nisolo still has you covered with loafers and oxfords. One pair I like in particular is the Wesley LE Oxford—another handcrafted gem with a leather sole (with slip-free rubber heel) and sheepskin leather uppers. Available for $152 in darker and lighter brown tones.
And since summer is right around the corner, you might want to consider the Mancora Sandal—a leather flip-flop that rivals some of the biggest brands to make their name in the market. In dark and light brown leathers with crepe outsoles, these are a definite pick-up for warmer weather. Available for $48 online.
What you get with Nisolo Shoes is an opportunity to help a budding community of craftsman. I love that their products are just as great as the company’s story and mission. Not only that, but with other accessories such as wallets and belts, I’m excited to see how they continue to grow in the industry. Check ‘em out.
By Tom Caruso