By Carol Kasujja
Jackie Naggayi, a fashion designer, recalls the day she attended her cousin’s wedding in Munyonyo.
To look good, she bought a pair of shoes at sh50, 000 from downtown Kampala specifically for the ceremony. “The trader emphasized the shoes were durable,” she said. But it rained on the day of the wedding.
“I was rushing to the shade, one shoe got stuck in the mud and that was the last time I saw its sole. I was bored and failed to enjoy the party,” Naggayi explained.
Naggayi is not the only one who has gone through that experience, everyone has seen them, fake shoes, and they are everywhere. They're on your feet and in your friends’ closet.
According to Uganda National Bureau of standards, for the last nine years Ugandans have been deceived and cheated and the same time putting their health at risk due to an increase of Fake shoes on the market. The fake leather shoes on the market are not authorized by any Government regulatory body.
“We took samples from the market and we realized most of the shoes, people buy on the streets and in some shops, are fake especially leather shoes. They fall apart within a couple of days of use,” said John Ssanyu, a senior technician at UNBS.
Ssanyu says that fake shoes are made with cheaper materials and less materials causing your foot to be in potential danger if you always walk long distances. He says that not all leather shoes are genuine. The cheap material used can make someone’s feet smell because it cannot absorb sweat. By the time you remove your shoes, the smell is like for a dead rat.
“The manufacturers of these fake shoes do not care for people’s feet; they just want to produce as many shoes as they can. Most fake shoes lack sole support, instead of using rubber, they use timber,” he said.
He explained that for anyone who buys a leather shoe, make sure you buy from people or companies with good reputations, if a shoe is cheap, definitely it is fake and fake shoes are expensive because you have to buy another one after a week.
“Fake shoes can cause accidents, especially for ladies, in case the high heel is not constructed well, and you happen to walk fast, the heel can come off and you fall badly and break your leg,” he explained.
How to tell a fake leather shoe
A real leather shoe feels smooth but the fake versions feel like plastic. The smell between the two differs as well, since real leather has a very distinctive smell, and leather doesn't smell like anything or smells like plastic.
If you find a shoe in so many different types of colors, chances are that it is fake. Real shoes are durable, don’t fade.
Women’s high heels that make a lot of noise are substandard because the manufacturers put a timber sole and came off.
The finishing of a fake shoe is always folded but with a real leather shoe, the cuttings are done smartly and uniformly.
If you check the show, and inside they have put papers, don’t buy. A real shoe has fiber material inside.
A fake one comes out during rainy seasons.