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2014 November 10 - 09:43 am

New Footwear Line Will Assist African Villagers

Oklahoma City CC Student Wants To Provide Clean Drinking Water through Sneaker Sales

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City Community College student Austin McAllister, hopes to turn his love of sneakers into donations to provide clean drinking water to villages in Malawi with a new shoe line.

A portion of the proceeds from McAllister’s new line of athletic shoes, AMAC Footwear, will go to build a water well to provide a village in Malawi with clean drinking water, The Oklahoman reported (http://bit.ly/1tulre5 ).

“At first, I wanted to do something to raise money for education, but then when I was doing research, I found that in Malawi there are villages where the children don’t even go to school because they are needed to go walk every day, miles to the nearest river to carry water back for their families,” McAllister said.

McAllister has partnered with the California-based nonprofit Water Wells for Africa to donate a portion of the proceeds from each shoe sale to the charity. The nonprofit raises money to build water wells in villages without ready access to clean drinking water.

The first sneaker that McAllister has designed for his new footwear line is called Katema, after the village in Malawi, where donations will be targeted to build a new well.

The shoes will retail for $65, and $4 will go to Water Wells for Africa.

The company’s motto, “Soles with a purpose,” is printed on the tongue and insole of each shoe.

Water Wells for Africa estimates that the $4 from each shoe sale is enough to provide 20 years worth of clean drinking water to one person in Malawi.

McAllister, 19, came up with the idea for the shoe brand by combining his obsession with sneakers and a desire to do mission work.

He has been an avid shoe collector since he was 10 years old and has about 400 pairs.

He’s a big Kevin Durant fan, so anything with the letters KD on it is his favorite. McAllister also has been customizing Nike shoes with his own designs since he was 14 and selling them online through the name AMAC Customs.

The new AMAC Footwear line will be made in Shenzhen, China, through a manufacturer McAllister found after doing research online. He first tried to find a U.S. manufacturer, but found it to be too costly, he said.

“It was a difficult process and there is a lot of emailing back and forth at midnight, and there are a lot of companies out there that will take your money,” he said, “so it was difficult finding one to work with (in China) that I liked.”

McAllister has set up a website through crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise funds to help manufacture the sneakers. He hopes to raise enough money to manufacture both men’s and women’s sizes in a variety of colors.

Vernon Deas, a friend of McAllister, said he wanted to carry AMAC shoes at his retail shop The Hangar because of the brand’s positive message. “We always try to carry brands that speak to the entrepreneurial spirit and seek to give back, and that’s one of the things I love about Austin,” Deas said.

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