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Oliberté was founded on a pretty simple idea – if you make high-quality, functional footwear, people will buy it. And if people buy it, then the Ethiopian craftsmen and women who make those high-quality shoes and boots by hand – in the world’s only Fair Trade Certified footwear factory no less – will continue to have a job. And if those men and women continue to have a job, they’ll be able to afford the basic necessities in life without having to rely on the support of non-profit organizations.

The idea might seem simple, but it would be impossible to turn that it into a sustainable reality if the footwear didn’t have the kind of quality that matched the ambitious mission of the company. From the moment you slide on a pair of Oliberté’s there’s no doubt in your mind that the person who made them knows exactly how much is riding on the quality of their craftsmanship.

The Gando Boot has a classic, understated style that can go seamlessly from the office to the opera, and the outdoors to après bar hopping in the swankiest of ski towns. It’s a versatility that is rare to find in a pair of shoes and one that will become increasing more essential the longer you wear them. Because they’re on your feet, chances are you won’t want to take them off.

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The boots are available at Oliberte.com for $160, but don’t expect to find a high-tech lining or a fancy footbed in the Gando’s. They don’t have innovative air pockets or a bulletproof shell. What they do have is a water-based PU comfort insole and a 100 percent goat leather lining with traditional stitch-down around the base. They aren’t fancy or trendy or pretentious. They are leather and laces and soul. They are classic. They are comfortable. They are simple.

What they are accomplishing half a world away however, is anything but simple. And that’s where the true beauty of these boots lies.

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