Meet Sanbera, a minimalist and sustainable sneaker brand from Marikina – Manila Bulletin


Their sneakers are great company for stylish essentials

Minimalism is a trend that we believe will always be in fashion. Casual, easy to wear and visually pleasing, these are just a few of the perks that come with following the minimalist style of dressing. In our quest for minimalism, we came across a local brand whose core business is to offer simple, light and durable shoes. Sanbera, founded by Mikko de la Paz, is a sneaker brand that is not only simplistic, but environmentally friendly and truly Filipino.

Sanbera’s sneakers feature streamlined designs, a monochrome color and, what’s more interesting, durable natural rubber and coir soles collected in the Philippines. “When we were at the stage of prioritizing developing the eco-friendly features of sneakers, we were looking everywhere for local, environmentally friendly materials so that we could incorporate them into the sneakers,” Mikko shares. “This involved approaching different suppliers and manufacturers who have respect for the environment in their DNA. Fortunately, we were able to find a manufacturer who understands the importance of sustainability which has led to Davao’s natural rubber sourcing. Then we were also able to create a meaningful partnership with Greenelas.ph, which was perfect as it is a company in the same sector as ours and which infuses environmentally friendly materials into its products. Thus, we were also able to rely on creating eco-friendly soles as opposed to the usual padding of polyester insoles which is harmful to the environment when broken down.

In this exclusive we had the chance to talk to Mikko de la Paz about Sanbera’s growth as a brand and its enduring efforts. The brand explains to us how it wants its brand to be perceived in the future and how its name has been sent by heaven.

Please share some background on the name Sanbera.

Sanbera was named after my late mother. She passed away in 2018. From that point on, I knew I had to do something in her honor. At the very beginning of conceptualization, when I started to think about possible brand names, I had rough ideas like “Surreal”. It was catchy at first but it was weak, and it lacked soul or meaning. It was then that I realized that this was finally my opportunity to honor my mother in one way or another.

I played with her name: Bernardita San Jose de la Paz. = Honestly, it took a long time. After weeks of brainstorming and shuffling the letters of my mom’s name, I have already become really frustrated and desperate. Looking back, I was literally sitting in my office chair, unable to think properly. As cliché as it sounds, in desperation I switched to this spiritual mode and decided to ask my mom from above for help. And honestly to God, after a few minutes I looked at his name on a Microsoft Word document on my laptop screen, and he just clicked. Sanbera!

Who designs your shoes?

Personally, I came up with ideas for the design with the help of some family members. Then we offer the design proposal for consultation at Zapateria Hub, a Marikina shoe startup incubator we work with. Together with their in-house shoe designers, they help us get our ideas down on paper. When we’re already happy with the official artwork for our proposed sneaker design, they then scan the design so we get a realistic preview of what the shoe might look like once it’s completed in the future.

Can you tell us more about the cushioning, fit and weight of your shoes?

Not to be biased, I truly consider Sanbera sneakers to be one of the most comfortable shoes on the market, and I have owned and accumulated several canvas sneakers over the years. I am a simple guy. As long as the sneakers are flexible to hug your feet the right way around, light and soft on the inside to make walking fun and effortless, I’m happy. And that’s just how Sanbera sneakers are (soft soles, become more and more flexible over time and light at 0.4 kg per shoe). I really love wearing them. Again, sorry for sounding biased, but it’s true!

Tell us more about using coconut fiber as insoles.

Greenelas.ph is the company we have partnered with for coconut fiber insoles. This is a company / brand specializing in the creation and design of products such as shoes, bags and wallets made from environmentally friendly materials such as coconut chips, abaca and even grass. They actively promote the sustainable approach to business by organizing various seminars and talk shows that address this particular ecological topic.

They don’t actually harvest the coir themselves. They’ve partnered up with suppliers in Quezon Province who use coconut shreds where they came from, and they rely on their collected shreds so that they can be used as padding for the insoles. Then the coconut shreds are then shipped to Manila where a group of talented PWD weavers personally sew the coconut shreds at the base of the insole to create the coconut fiber insoles.

What else can we expect from the brand in the near future?

We plan to expand our product line by introducing new footwear products to accompany our original everyday walking sneakers. Soon we may also be trying to get into clothing. Apart from this, we also hope to establish new collaborations and partnerships with different organizations that represent themselves through valuable and meaningful campaigns. There is certainly a lot to look forward to so stay tuned!

Visit Sanbera website to order your pair.

Image source: Sanbera Instagram Account


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