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 Enda Lapatet v2, Somali O Review
By Contributor Nathan Brown


"We exist to increase fairness, justice, and equality in the world. Right now, we do that by making running shoes in Kenya." A simple read of Enda's mission tells you almost everything you need to know about their company. Yes, they are advancing their running shoes and taking strides in the right direction, but running shoes aren't their main focus. They want to make positive changes in the world through being socially responsible in their production, working for economic development in Kenya, supporting local communities through the Enda Community Foundation, reducing environmental impact, and showing that Kenya is a country full of creativity and skill. Supporting this company allows runners to be a part of a large mission that has driven the company forward since its inception. 

Enda Lapatet. Arrowhead logo on the midfoot upper. Black upper with Kenyan flag on the heel. White foam with a firm EVA on the front and back indicated in black foam.

Specifications for the Enda Lapatet (meaning "running" some Kalenjin languages, a tribe in Kenya) Somali O (per Enda)
Weight: 8.8 oz, 249 g (men's size 8.5 or women's size 10)
Stack Height: 24mm forefoot, 30mm heel
Drop: 6mm
Classification: Daily Trainer

Enda |Lapatet Somali O pair together, upper pair laying over displaying outsole.

RUNNING SHOE SUMMARY

The Enda Lapatet has reached it's newest version in the "Somali O" package. It is a major refinement to the upper while keeping the same character underfoot. The change in upper brought with it a drop of 0.4oz  of weight while keeping the same amount of cushioning. This newest Lapatet takes many strides forward, but also has areas of refinement that could make this a truly fine shoe.

Top-down view of the Enda Lapatet 2. Standard fit throughout, minimal heel padding

FIT (LENGTH / WIDTH / COMFORT)

The fit is the biggest area of change in the new Lapatet. There is a transition to a much thinner, more elastic, and bootie constructed upper that accommodates to the foot and allows some splay in the toe box. Although the toe box allows more splay, it is also lower volume and you can feel the upper on the top of the foot (though it does stretch). The midfoot is reinforced internally to give some structure and is effective in holding the midfoot on the platform while turning. All of these changes were a huge step forward and make the Lapatet fit true to size, with a lean towards being more narrow and long. Those with a more narrow forefoot will do best in this shoe.

The one area that really needs work is the heel and lacing system. The bootie construction tries to rely on the bootie itself to hold the foot, but the heel was too wide and the lacing too far down the foot to get really any sort of lock down. I did not get any blistering, likely because the heel only has a soft counter in it, but my heel was not secured in the shoe. 

What this version made huge strides on is making the upper much lighter, more breathable, and more accommodating, where it needs to improve is the heel lock.

Underside of the Lapatet, showing heel and some foam. Nearly full rubber coverage with some exposed medial midfoot

PERFORMANCE (RIDE / SPEED)

I was excited to be testing the Lapatet because I wanted a shoe that I could take for daily miles and felt like I could feel the ground and feel my body doing the work. For the most part, the Lapatet delivered this. The cushioning is on the firm end throughout, and although the listed stack in the forefoot is 24mm, it feels even lower to the ground due to that firmness. Transitioning from the midfoot forward moved well and consistent throughout. There is a flexible forefoot, so you get a more natural run feel rather than a rolling feel or bouncy feel. That said, the lighter weight allows you to pick up the pace rather well and the EVA foam used becomes more responsive at those paces. I had no problems hitting strides or a fast finish to a run in these. However, they do best at controlled tempos.

There are a few quirks. One is with the outsole. The outsole is a softer rubber, which for me made for an almost silent running experience over pavement. I really grew to appreciate not hearing the rubber hit the road and I could focus on other parts of my running because of that. However, due to the softer rubber I found that I had early wear starting at 15 miles in the heel and the beginning of the forefoot. These changes have stabilized after a few more runs (meaning it hasn't worsened) but there is some question of how long that rubber will last. Another quirk is the firmer EVA wedge that's put into the heel and expands to the middle of the forefoot (just the beginning of it, not through it). Enda seems to have the philosophy that a midfoot strike is most desirable, so they say that the wedges "reward a natural midfoot strike". We did a full podcast on the topic of strike patterns, so if you want to hear our team's thoughts on that, check it out that episode (fair warning that the audio quality is subpar).

Given that a majority of people are rear foot strikers, I think the insertion of this heel wedge is somewhat problematic. The rim of EVA around the edge is fine, but the extension into the midfoot is notable early in runs and has led to some foot soreness in the first couple runs until that part of the foam compressed and softened. 

The final quirk is that this is also one of my favorite shoes for mild trails, particularly dirt or grass. The soft rubber isn't worn as much in that environment, and the interaction of the shoe with those surfaces make it significantly more enjoyable to run in, despite also enjoying it on pavement.

The Lapatet has a very natural feeling mid to forefoot with some design choices in the rearfoot that may cause issues for some people.

Rear heel view of the Lapatet Somali O. enda written on heel vertically with a pull tab minorly seen.Kenyan flag peaking out of both sides from the upper.

STABILITY

The Lapatet is a lower stack, firmer shoe, which makes it a relatively stable neutral shoe. However, the lack of security of the upper and the effect of the firmer EVA extension can lead to some translation of the rearfoot and decrease stability. The softer rubber and responsive compression of the foam also make this shoe quite stable on grassy and mild dirt trails. For people with instability in the rearfoot (maybe chronic ankle instability or history of severe ankle sprains) I would consider another shoe until they get the heel lock figured out. 

Lateral view of the Enda lapatet on a sidewalk. Slim design seen.

THOUGHTS AS A DPT / FOOTWEAR SCIENCE

There are a lot of things that this shoe does well and I'd say Enda took about six steps forward from the first edition to this one. However, the heel lock is an aspect that needs to be addressed and for good reason. Let's talk about why heel security and overall shoe fit is important for runners. The most intuitive is that without a heel lock there will be a lot of rubbing that occurs between the heel and the collar of the shoe. High levels of rubbing can lead to shear forces on the skin and cause blisters. No fun at all. However, it's not just about blisters.

Lacking heel security can lead to translation of the heel on the platform of the shoe from side to side. If this is severe enough, it could predispose a runner to inversion ankle sprains, particularly to the outside leg during a turn. Additionally, slipping in the shoe may alter your normal mechanics due to altered landing position on the platform, changing your proprioceptive (body awareness) input and therefore require you to put more effort to stabilizing the foot on the platform, even if that is subconscious. This can result in compensatory motions like toe curling/grabbing and other compensatory motions up the kinetic chain. In addition to sliding side to side, the lifting of the heel off the shoe platform may result in a small amount of energy loss and requirement on the body to help the shoe return to the foot after leaving the ground. 

Insole photo showing "Proudly Made in Kenya" along with Enda's arrowhead logo.

CULTURE CORNER: ENDA SPORTSWEAR, PROUDLY MADE IN KENYA

Enda, meaning "Go" in Kiswahili, started it's journey in 2015 when founders Navalayo "Nava" Osembo, a lawyer and accountant born in Kenya, and Weldon Kennedy, a social activist, met over their passion for running. Understanding that Kenya has produced some of the world's greatest - women's marathon world record holder Brigid Jepscheshir Kosgei, former record holder in the 10k, half marathon, and marathon Paul Kibii Tergat, and of course two time Olympic Gold Medalist in the marathon Eluid Kipchoge being a few - it was only a natural transition to start a company like Enda to celebrate the country's achievements in distance running.

Enda's first shoes came out in 2017 after a success worldwide crowdfunding campaign in 2016. The goals of Enda are layered. First and foremost, the brand pushes for economic development in the local Kenyan supply chain. Not only are there the positions at the factory - today the company employs between 50-100 Kenyans, producing 150-300 shoes by hand a day - but it also helps connect with various Kenyan producers as well, such as Umoja Rubber Products Limited for resources. The company aims to demonstrate how one business can activate an economy through its many relationships.

A large portion of their production so far as been geared towards overseas sales, with the US making up nearly 80% of its business, with Europe being 8% of the business and the rest within Kenya. With Kenya being at the center of their focus, they are slowly shifting towards focusing on more products for the Kenyan market. This year they will be releasing the Tusker Mwanzo shoe as part of their Buy Kenya, Build Kenya initiative. The shoe was designed to craft performance running specifically to Kenyan terrain.

Further showing their dedication to supporting Kenyan culture, a portion of the purchase price is put towards social good initiatives in the country through the Enda Community Foundation. Working with experts in social activism, the brand funnels support towards places that have the highest possible impact for people who need help.

Made in Kenya has become an important movement to help reshape Kenya's imagery in the past ten years. Kenya has a rich history of crafting, particularly ornamental culture. Clothing and jewelry have long played a major role in displaying status and currency. In 2018 the Kenyan government began a big push to make Made In Kenya an important part of their exporting to help highlight Kenyan craft worldwide, emphasize Kenyan skills in hand crafted work, and de-stigmatizing preconceived notions about Kenya' s culture - in Enda's case emphasizing both quality and contemporary style in their constantly evolving shoe lines.

Black and white striped Bomber jacket. (From Enda's website)

Sources:
A Journey into The History and Symbolism of Kenyan Ornaments
‘Made in Kenya’ label to be added to all export products
Should You Care about Country of Origin Impact

RECOMMENDATIONS

You've probably noticed my recommendations throughout this review, but there are two main ones. First is to secure the heel. I think this could be done by significantly narrowing the heel with the current bootie construction, increasing the heel padding, or by improving the lacing system to come closer to the throat of the shoe. The second is to alter the heel wedge. We've seen firmer EVA wedges work will in other shoes like the Puma Velocity Nitro, but the extension into the midfoot may give some runners discomfort. You can still reward a midfoot strike without making a heel strike uncomfortable. 

WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)

I cannot emphasize enough the virtuous nature of this company. Supporting them not only gets a runner a quality pair of shoes, but it helps people work towards good things for our world. The Lapatet in particular will give runners a flexible, firmer riding lightweight trainer that is quiet on the road and performs well on dirt and grass. The fit has some kinks to work out in the heel, but the midfoot and forefoot will suit runners with slightly more narrow feet. 

Pair of Enda Lapatet Somali O. Rear pair laying on its side, showing full outsole. Front pair is laid out laterally.

GRADING (SHOE CATEGORY)

Nathan
Fit: C+ (heel security lacking, some rubbing from the lower volume upper in forefoot, midfoot secure and much more breathable than previous version)
Performance: B
 (Best on dirt and grass, gives smooth transitions and can pick up tempo as needed, natural ground feel)
Stability: B+
(the lower platform, firmer foam, and secure midfoot get high marks on road and trail, heel security the biggest knock)
DPT/Footwear Science: C+ (Research doesn't bear out that midfoot is the "best" strike pattern, so I think they should move away from "de-incentivizing" heel strike, positive scores for rubber interaction with ground and performance on multiple surfaces)
Personal: B (I feel good running in this shoe, partially because of the quiet ride and firmer ride, and partially because I know it supports good things)
Overall: B-

SHOP ENDA

Head over to Enda to find their sportswear and learn more about the brand. This is NOT an affiliate link and we are not sponsored in any way by Enda. We do, however, love the spirit of the brand and would love you to at least take a moment to learn more about what they do.

If you would like to support Doctors of Running, check out some gear we're into right now through these affiliate links:
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FURTHER READING

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Thanks for reading!

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TESTER PROFILES:


Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon.

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at *** for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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