In past summers, it’s been nearly a tradition to have terribly inconvenient shoe malfunctions – a flip-flop breaking, an awful blister from a sandal strap, or wearing through the bottom of cheap flats. Thankfully as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten somewhat wiser and stopped buying those $15 cardboard and faux leather sandals from Forever 21. I’ve graduated into much, much nicer footwear, including the Chefeza Amatista Sandals from Tsonga.
Tsonga was founded in the late 90s by Peter Maree, who had decades of experience in the footwear industry. Tiring of the cheap footwear flooding the South African market, he set out to do something different.
“I wanted to create a range of shoes and handbags, inspired by Africa. The hand-stitching skills of the women of Lidgetton, close to my home in South Africa, are renowned. I though that together we could create something quite unique and wonderful”
He transformed an abandoned schoolhouse into a training center for local women to become experts in shoemaking. The building is now known as the Threads of Hope Farm, and employs dozens of crafters who make each shoe by hand.
The Chefeza Amatista sandals are made with full grain cobalt blue sheep leather with a lightweight wooden outsole padded with printed leather. The main body of leather has geometric cutouts that add texture and visual interest. The leather is surprisingly soft and supple, yet doesn’t feel like it’s going to break or cause problems. The soft leather makes the sandals extremely comfortable to wear, especially when combined with the cushioned, molded sole. Everything feels like a huge step up in quality compared to other similar sandals I’ve worn.
The bright blue color of the Chefeza Amatista sandals is fun and eyecatching. They’re great for getting just a little dressed up and I’ve worn them to casual weddings, parties, and just going out to dinner. They are extremely comfortable and it’s great that I can rely on them for hours without worrying that my feet will get sore or irritated. The rustic-looking heel and the intricate leather differentiates the sandals from cheaper models.
The shoes’ sturdy construction combined with the fact that these aren’t daily wear shoes means that the Chefeza Amatista sandals will last you a good long time. They’re a bit pricier than I am used to, but the difference in comfort and construction is impressive.