Mawu Lolo Sandals: Comfort, Value & Ethics

This post was sponsored by Mawu Lolo and I received an item for review.

Being picky about footwear is a matter of health for me.

Last year, I was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the extremities. As a result, my toes show signs of tissue damage and hypothermia after very limited contact with cold conditions (even air conditioning), which means I need footwear that is appropriately warm in cold weather and doesn’t constrict blood flow.

You might be wondering what this has to do with sandals.

I love the look of ankle-wrap sandals and flats, but I realized last spring that my ribbon sandals and ankle-wrap flats were tightening around my ankle with continued wear, resulting in numbness and discomfort in my feet. Sadly, I had to let them go. I thought I’d never be able to achieve the elegant look of an ankle-wrap again – though I knew different strap configurations existed out there, I couldn’t find a fair trade version.

But then I discovered Mawu Lolo’s SuborSubor Sandal.

Ethical Details: Tunic – c/o Victoria Road; Jeans – Eileen Fisher; Bag – c/o Greenheart Shop; Cardigan – Everlane; SuborSubor Sandals – c/o Mawu Lolo

The Mawu Lolo SuborSubor sandal is made by Ghanaian artisans out of hand-loomed fabric and local materials. The leather ankle strap is delicate, and shaped to look like a typical ankle-wrap, but a secure grommet on each side ensures that it’s fastened at the preferred tightness without constricting more as you walk. This means my foot is secure, but I can keep the strap loose enough to maintain proper blood flow.

I’m wearing the Brown Multicolor version, which contains brown, cream, black, and a few pops of color, making these perfect for every outfit. The footbed is soft and lightly padded throughout and the sole is made of a sturdy, skid-resistant material.

The best part? These sandals retail for $34.99. Don’t be fooled by fair trade companies that tell you that ethically produced items have to cost hundreds of dollars. Costs will vary based on country of production and materials sourcing, but it doesn’t mean that all ethical goods must be cost prohibitive.

Case in point: I recently learned about a fair trade huarache sandal brand that buys their shoes from artisans for under $12 bucks and retails them for over $90! That means the bulk of the price is paid to the American owner rather than the person who made the shoe. We need more accountability in profit sharing, so I’m pleased to see that Mawu Lolo prices fairly.

Mawu Lolo works on a fair trade partnership model, selling artisan products in the American market and returning profits to Ghanaian artisans in a profit-sharing loop that allows the program to sustain itself while providing fair wages to Ghanaian employees.

Mawu Lolo is actually the commerce branch of a larger initiative to provide education to children and vocational training to their mothers, who learn employable skills and are provided sewing machines so that they have a continued source of income. Sandal making is a related skill that allows artisans to have access to an additional source of sustainable income. In a country where over 40% of the population lives in extreme poverty, sustainable and responsible infrastructure is absolutely essential.

Mawu Lolo currently carries a small collection of sandals for women and men, including a unisex slide and a few styles of flip flops.

Fair trade. Fair value. Real comfort.

I couldn’t be more pleased with these sandals, or what they support.


Shop Mawu Lolo here. 

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Photos by my sister, Jennifer Nichole Wells

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