By Ben Bowers
on 4.16.10

obilerte_adibo_desert_boot-gear-patrol

Charities, non profits, and governmental aid are some ways countries around the world and their citizens can be helped back on their feet. We don’t want to undermine the noble work and impact of these forces of good, but the reality is nothing really helps a struggling country like developing a strong economy and successful businesses. Oliberté happens to be a Canadian company, but as its website says “its heart is in Africa” and its goal is simple. Produce high quality shoes using native African resources and labor to improve the economic situation across the continent, one pair at time. Curious to learn more, we spent sometime wearing their Adibo-S Black Sheep desert boots ($129) and really appreciated their details compared to similar offerings from other desert boot makers. To find out more, read on for our thoughts below.

Made of premium leather from Ethiopia, these boots feature an interesting mix of formal and casual elements that make them perfect as a weekend alternative to sneakers, no matter what activities are on your agenda. As the picture shows, much of the boot’s distinction stems from their soles. The material used looks quite similar to those found on Clarks and slowly tapers off in width from the heel of the shoe to the toes. While it might not seem like much, we really liked this approach compared to the uniform soles found on Wallabee’s, since it reduced the chunky look of the boot and gave the shoe a more athletic feel while walking. Comprised of recycled crepe rubber from Liberia, it is molded to form what Oliberté calls “the grill” and has a supportive, but springy quality that felt good walking on all day.

The leather uppers like most new shoes definitely felt stiff for a day or two while breaking in. In short time the exterior and goat leather lining did soften up and develop a comfy molded quality that all good leather shoes share. One thing to note though is that these shoes are quite narrow in the toes, so much so that initially we thought our review pair was actually too small. Wearing them however eventually loosened up the toe space giving them a perfect fit. If you tend to always feel shoes are narrow in the toe however, then we’d suggest buying a size up just to make sure you can wear them.

Our black leather versions received a variety of curious glances and compliments while out and about. They even managed to catch the eye of man on the street fashion blogger Mr. Mort while at a Levi’s press event. Overall we just couldn’t’ get enough of their distinctive look compared to every other desert boot out their. The perfect companion to jeans, day or night, we recommend them to any guy looking for a versatile but comfortable shoe that stands out from the pack.

Editor’s Note: If black isn’t your color, Oliberté offers similar models in Navy Suede, Grey Nubuck, or Antique brown.

Buy Now: $129

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