‘I want to be at the forefront of innovation’ – Vaya footwear founder

Founder and CEO of VAYA Footwear Themba Makamo says his brand is notably one of the top black-owned sneakers in South Africa. The sneaker brand has a couple of key retail stores across the country.  

Makamo, from Katlehong, Ekurkhuleni, was inspired by a passion for streetwear and trends in his neighbourhood while growing up. This nurtured a dream of owning his on sneaker brand.

Passion for inspiring others

“My passion for inspiring and helping others is what saw me venturing into the footwear industry. And and my love for design and creativity also drove me,” he said.

“I want to be at the forefront of innovation, creativity and quality products.”

The 37-year old spoke about his target market and comfortability. “Our target market are go getters, individuals who have the courage to go for it. Whether it’s in a career, a business venture, studies or asking someone you like out for a date.

Affordable, versatile brand

“Our shoes are affordable and very light and comfortable. They can adapt to different functions such as casual wear, formal wear, hiking, light exercise or short distance walks and running.”

South Africa has seen a lot of black-owned sneaker brands, and competition is high.

Makamo explained to Sunday World how he plans to compete in this industry. 

“Our aim is not to compete but to inspire and impact people’s lives. This we do by designing and creating products that add value. Products that inspire people to have the courage to reach for their goals. We believe that the market is big enough for all of us to co-exist,” he said.

Positive feedback

He says Vaya Footwear has received a lot of positive feedback from those who have interacted with the brand. Interactions both online or at the stores. “The amount of people inspired by our brand story is significant. Our brand stands for courage. This inspires people to rise up to any challenge.”

The designer says his biggest challenge is to grow the brand. This will create the opportunity to impact as many people as humanely possible.

Change lives, create jobs

“Our highlight is seeing people from all walks of life embracing the brand and giving us great feedback. This is with regards to quality, design and functionality. And, secondly, being able to create job opportunities for others,” he said.

On Vaya Footwear’s longtime goals, Makamo concluded: “To be a leading footwear brand in the world that is positively impacting people’s lives. Footwear that is inspiring many to have the courage to reach for their goals, however big or small.”

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