When we found out that Sseko Fellow Pam Cooke is training for a marathon in her Sseko sandals, we could hardly believe it! Disclaimer: our sandals aren’t made with the intention of being running shoes, but Pam is taking her #ssekostyle to the next level! Check out what she’s doing…

What do Sseko Designs and long-distance running have in common? Answer: Me!

About a month ago, I was visiting with a long-time family friend who was home visiting her parents. Joy recently moved to Portland and was working at Sseko Designs headquarters. In the midst of the ordinary “How have you been?”, “What’s new?” back-and-forth small talk I said, “Tell me about your new job.” Little did I know that this simple conversation would lead to a thrilling and deeply satisfying new chapter in my life.

As Joy described the vision of Sseko and the impact the company has on workers and University-bound women in Uganda, my heart resonated with a feeling of homecoming. “Yes!” I thought. “This company is doing what I know will make a difference. This is where I belong.” Before I had ever seen the website or a single product, I knew I had to join Sseko. About four days later, Joy interviewed me to become a Sseko Fellow, assigned me to an awesome mentor (Laura McCarley), and I ordered my starter kit. I was launched!

‘So where does running come into this story? Several years ago I ran a trail race with a co-worker who was a “barefoot” runner. All she had was a thin pad tied to her feet with cotton shoelaces. She said getting rid of running shoes improved her form and put less pressure on her knees and hips. I was skeptical. However, when I received my ribbon sandals, my first thought was, “These look a lot like what barefoot runners wear”. The arrival of my sandals just happened to correspond with me thrashing my feet (long story) so I couldn’t put on regular running shoes for about a week. So I thought, “Why not give it a shot! I’ll try to run in my new sandals.”

As I was chugging down the trail during my first “sandal run,” I began to wonder how far they could actually go. Would they last for a full marathon? I was intrigued, so I began earnestly training in ribbon sandals. I am amazed! The sandals are holding up so well and my knees and hips feel great. I have shown them no mercy, running on hot asphalt, dusty trails, rocky paths, through sheep poop and into the American River (it was very hot). After each run, I give the sandals a little rinse (or scrub!) and they’re ready to go out on the town! I’ve put at least 130 hard miles on them at this point.

After posting a few pre- and post-run photos of the sandals, friends point to my feet and say “Are those THE sandals?” What a great testimony to the quality of the products Sseko sells. So, here we go…I’m running in the California International Marathon in December and, if all goes well, I’m doing it in Sseko sandals. They say, “Every Sseko has a story.” My Sseko sandals will definitely have quite a tale to tell.

If you would like to step into the opportunity that Pam has as a Sseko Fellow, we would love to talk to you!

As a Sseko Fellow, you’ll be part of an incredibly supportive group of women, you’ll get to style and sell stunning fashionable products that make a difference in the lives of women across the globe, and you’ll earn an income for yourself and your family.


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