Assessment of the Quality of Leather Footwear for School Children made by SMEs in Kariokor Kenya
Footwear is the man-made outer covering of human foot. It is an assembly of top and bottom parts and each part is composed of various components. They are mainly produced from various materials such as textile fabric, leather and synthetics. Leather shoes contain an upper made of leather and the sole varies from leather, rubber, PVC, PU or other material. Various component plays a vital role in the quality and performance of the shoe and failure of one may affect the overall performance of the shoe. The quality of footwear is evaluated based on whether or not the shoe carries out its intended function, its effects on the wearer, and the extent to which it meets the requirements of the user. Poor quality shoe can result from poor quality of inputs, lack of quality control of the shoe during fabrication process and poor workmanship. The shoe made by SMEs in Kariokor are often not subjected to quality check hence their quality is unknown. A study was conducted to assess the quality of school children’s leather shoes produced by SMEs of Kariokor market in Nairobi, Kenya. Shoe samples were collected from SMEs for laboratory analysis. Samples were analysed using IUP/IUC methods. The tests carried out were tensile and tear strength, elongation, flex endurance, thickness, distension and strength of grain, pH, sole hardness, abrasion resistance, total chromium among others. The findings indicated that the samples tested failed Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) standards. Although the majority of the shoe uppers met KEBS requirements, the soles for the samples tested failed to meet the requirements. In conclusion, the shoes failed the quality tests as per the KEBS requirement. In line with the outcome, there is a need for a strategy to improve the quality of leather footwear fabricated by the SMEs in Kariokor Market.