How to Start & Run a Shoe Selling Business in Kenya to Success

How to start and run a successful shoe selling business in Kenya; A detailed review with highlights of potential obstacles you may face.

Carson O.
9 Min Read
  • Learn everything pertinent in regards to shoes, market statistics and potential obstacles.
  • Work on a business plan that will help you achieve set goals.
  • Capital requirement: At least Ksh.200,000.
  • Business name registration at Ksh.950 and a business permit.

Selling shoes in Kenya is a relatively lucrative business, especially if you choose to focus on fast-moving types of shoes. With the right planning, capital investment and execution, setting up such a business could be very profitable to a startup entrepreneur. This post will therefore take you through how to start and run a successful shoe-selling business in Kenya and give you a detailed review with highlights of potential obstacles you may face.

Buckle up!

1. Learn about shoes and do a simple business plan

As logic dictates, before starting any business, you must do research. In this case, you will want to learn everything pertinent regarding shoes, market statistics and potential obstacles.

As you learn, take note of the kinds of shoes that are profitable in Kenya. different locations call for different niches in the shoe-selling business. However, in general, the most profitable shoes to sell in Kenya are the fast-moving type. These include ladies’ shoes and the sporty kind i.e., Nike Jordans, Airforce etc.

In summary, here are the main types of shoes that you may choose to venture into when you start a shoe-selling business in Kenya:

  1. High-end designer shoes – These include:
    • Ladies’ luxury heels and pumps – These kinds of shoes are popular and very profitable, especially in urban areas.
    • Men’s premium leather-type shoes.
  2. Sports and athletics shoes. These are:
    • Running shoes for both genders or unisex.
    • Basketball shoes e.g., Jordans.Soccer shoes.
    • Other sporty shoes like Pradas, Airforce, etc.
  3. Hand-made artisan shoes.
  4. Sneaker-type shoes, sandals etc.
  5. Mitumba/Second-hand shoes – Specialize in a specific gender or age bracket.
    • Ladies’ shoes in this category are also very profitable in suburban areas.
  6. School and uniform shoes – These include shoes like the popular Bata etc.
    • Girls’ shoes with classic designs.
    • Boys’ leather uniform shoes.

📝Do a simple business plan for a shoe business in Kenya

Once you have done your research, you will need to work on a business plan that will help you achieve set goals.

Here are pertinent questions a business plan will help you answer:

  1. How much money do you have to invest?
  2. Can you attract other investors?
  3. What return do you expect?
  4. Where is your expertise?
  5. What do you like to do the most?
  6. Are you willing to work hard and long hours?
  7. What are prominent consumer trends in your industry today?

2. Pick a shoe-selling niche

When settling for a specific line of shoes in the list mentioned above remember that they should align with the preferences and demands of your target customers in each location.

For instance, specializing in women’s shoes will make your business name well-known and trusted by people. This is the same concept applied in branding and marketing. Once people associate you with a specific kind of shoe product/line, they are more likely to come back for more shoes or refer their friends to your business.

3. Capital Required to start a shoe-selling business in Kenya

After picking your niche, you will need to have a budget that aligns with the type of shoes you want to sell.

For a good shoe store, you will need at least Ksh.200,000. However, if you choose to sell mitumba shoes (second-hand shoes) then an investment of Ksh.50,000 will suffice.

Here is the breakdown of how you will spend your capital investment:

ExpenditureEstimated Cost (Ksh.)
Store Rental and Setup50,000
Store Fixtures and Equipment10,000
Marketing and Promotion15,000
Licensing and Legal Fees10,000

📝Here are details as to how you will spend in each category listed above:

  1. The breakdown above assumes that the store rental and setup costs around Ksh.50,000. This is especially true in big towns and cities. Rent may be cheaper as you set up a location further from town.
  2. The inventory cost is estimated at Ksh.100,000 but it may vary depending on the types and quantity of shoes you plan to stock.
  3. Further, store internal infrastructure and equipment, such as display shelves and shoe racks, are budgeted at Ksh.10,000.
  4. For marketing and promotion, you have allocated Ksh.15,000 to create brand awareness and attract customers.
  5. Additionally, Ksh.5,000 is set aside for licensing and legal fees to ensure your business operates legally.
  6. Lastly, an e-commerce store of Ksh.15,000 is included as a means of attracting new customers online.

Register your business and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. These include a business name registration at Ksh.950 and a business permit that will vary from county to county in price. To be on the safe side, have at least Ksh.10,000 for this.

Once you are done, you can choose to spend more on music licenses, if you decide to play music in your shoe store.

Visit your local huduma center for more information regarding licenses and permits.

5. Selecting a location for your business

Selecting a location is so crucial that if you get something wrong, you will probably make losses and close your shop.

As you select a location, be mindful of accessibility, visibility and traffic.

More factors to consider as you select a location include:

  • Target Market – For instance, if you are focusing on high-end designer shoes, you will need a shop in an urban area.
  • Foot traffic – Locate your business in areas where many people are walking a lot. These areas include shopping malls, busy streets, schools and universities etc.
  • Safety – Prioritize safety. You don’t want to lose your inventory overnight just because you chose to overlook security just because of a high population.
  • Online presence – even after setting up a physical store, it’s important that you also occupy the virtual internet space, to broaden your reach to more clients.

➡Is the shoe-selling business profitable in Kenya?

Kenya has a growing economy, a young and expanding population, and an ever-expanding middle class with a rising disposable income. These factors contribute to a favourable market for retail businesses, including shoe stores.

Furthermore, Kenya’s diverse and fashion-conscious population may create demand for various types of shoes, allowing you to tap into specific niche markets, as listed earlier in this post.

However, as with any business venture, there are challenges to consider. Competition from established retailers, fluctuations in consumer spending, and economic uncertainties can affect profitability.

Additionally, the success of your shoe-selling business will depend on factors like effective marketing, customer service, and the ability to stay updated with the latest trends.

To enhance the chances of profitability, it’s essential to have a well-thought-out business plan, differentiate your store by offering unique products or services, and keep a close eye on inventory management and operational costs.

Earnings per day in a shoe-selling business in Kenya

According to Bizhack, a good shoe-selling business will make an average of between Ksh.3,000 to Ksh.15,000 per day.


Starting a business and running it to success are two entirely different concepts. To run your business to success, we have compiled a guideline to help you achieve that. This will only be helpful after following this guide and setting up a good shoe-selling business in Kenya.

Good Luck!

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I am a multi-faceted professional with a strong foundation in Business and Finance, honed since 2020. Additionally, I possess a deep passion for automobiles, serving as an avid car enthusiast. In parallel to my diverse interests, I am also a dedicated student pursuing a career in the medical field.
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