Oliberte` is a unique company. Made in Ethiopia, Africa, all of their footwear is hand made and all materials are locally sourced. That means Oliberte` is creating jobs in an exceptionally impoverished area of a nation plagued with civil war and upset. It also means they not only do they source materials from the Motherland, but factory supplies and machinery comes mostly from the continent of Africa. This unique dedication has earned them the only Fair Trade Certification given to a footwear company in the world! Nice. Find out more about the Oliberte Tompa Boot in our review.
Now that we’ve established their reign on the green footwear front, let’s talk about the boots themselves. The Highlander boot line is a fashion-forward take on some more traditional/established boot designs. They are work boots first and foremost, made from tough but flexible Camel leather and made to hold up in the Ethiopian highlands, which is how the series gets its namesake. But work aside; these boots are snazzy enough to rock from the office to dinner to the garage.
The fit of the Tompa boot is loose, like a classic chukka boot. This is great for on the way to the hill or apre` chilling. After cramming my feet in shredding boots for the day, I need to give my feet some “space”, and these offer just that. The camel leather is soft and feels pre-broken in. Contact with water does seem to leave some marks on the leather, so I recommend some wax or waterproofing treatment to keep the leather fresh and your feet dry.
That being said, these are not hiking boots, or even long walking boots. The rubber soles are durable with ok traction, but there is little support or cushioning happening here. The sole design is quite Ugg-like, with an exaggerated footprint and visible outside stitching connecting the upper to the outsole. I have a very high arch so I had to slip in some aftermarket superfeet-like insoles to feel like I could wear these out and about for an entire day.
Overall I like these Oliberte boots ($99). They have a place in my boot closet next to the “snow shovelers” and the “hikers”. They have become my garage boots, my apre` chillers, and my “time to get sassy boots”, which is an interesting combo of uses from one set of boots. They are the most “hip” boots I own, not only because of their cool styling but also because of the forward-thinking environmental and economic choices that Oliberte` is making. I like supporting brands like this and enjoy offering a backstory when asked about my “cool boots”. And did I mention a lifetime warranty? Nice moves Oliberte`!! Way to make some of the nicest mountain winter boots on the market.