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World's Best Flip Flops: Havaianas, Sandals Made in Brazil

Updated on May 5, 2014

Flip Flops. That’s how they sound...flip flop, flip flop…walking around in them. Italy calls themslip slops. China and Japan, zori. Others call them jandals. And in Colorado, we called them thongs.

Havaianas are colorful!


This isn't engineering! It’s footwear!

What’s that? You, the engineer, say flip flops are electronic circuits that have two stable states. No! Not that! Flip flops are sandals that have two feet in them not two states, for relaxing at the beach or around the house or wherever.

Everybody knows what flip flops are, but everyone may not know that Havaianas, made in Brazil, are the best flip flops in the world.

Ask Those Who Know!

Havaianas are the best!

How do I know this? I have incontrovertible proof, as follows:

1. First, an international travel tour director told me so. And he, after all, has been to almost every country in the world, speaks 7 languages, and is a veritable beach bum who hangs out on exotic scuba diving beaches – such as the Red Sea, the Seychelles, and the South Pacific. . . so he KNOWS.

2. After that endorsement, I bought a pair of my own Havaianas while in Brazil. There really is a noticeable difference between Havaianas and any other flip flops I’ve ever worn. They’re soft enough to be comfortable, even the bit between the toes, not too squishy, yet firm enough to give your feet a sturdy platform for walking. There is no comparison to thongs (that’s what we called them in Colorado) bought on the cheap that wear out every summer.

3. I’ve had my first pair of Havaianas for more than 9 years now! And they barely show the wear. That's because they're Havaianas!

Thongs! Not bikinis!

I’m talking thongs for your feet!

Hey, you over there with the wicked little smile on your face! I’m not talking about scanty bathing suits. Yes, I know Brazil is famous for those kind of thongs -- string bikinis, and band-aid bikinis. In fact, I was going to put a few pics from my Brazilian odyssey on this Hub showing those gorgeous Rio women in their thongs and Havaianas... (TeeHee, I have your attention now!) but this spicy video right here below ↓ ↓ ↓ does it better.

New to Havaianas?

If you love flip flops or thongs, but have never tried Havaianas, you need to! You won't regret it. Since they can last 10 years or more, paying over $20 or even $30 is worth it. You can spend far more if you buy the cheapies every year. They look chintzy, aren't as comfortable and only last a season before you have to buy new ones. You end up spending more money for less!

Women in Rio Wear Thongs!

How Havaianas are made. (I love this video!)


19th century Japanese straw sandals (zori))
19th century Japanese straw sandals (zori)) | Source

The Most Democratic of Shoes

In most developing countries, rubber flip flops are the cheapest footwear available, usually costing less than a dollar. Even so, attempts have been made to lower costs, such as making them out of recycled tires. Because of their low cost, they are widely used in poorer countries as typical everyday working footwear...not as fashion wear.

However, in most wealthy countries flip flops are leisure and resort wear and have developed into a summertime necessity. Their popularity has lead to an explosion of new versions, colors, patterns and designs.

The Genealogy of Havaianas

They had their beginnings in Japan. The traditional woven-soled Japanese zori have been used as beachwear in the South Pacific since the 1930s and are commonly worn today. Zori have a slightly different appearance from other flip flops. They are traditionally made with fabric straps and use rice straw for the soles. For this reason, Havaianas all have the textured rice pattern on the foot bed, one of the many unique features of Havaianas.

I addition to rice straw, zori sandals are made of lacquer, wood, leather, rubber and– increasingly–synthetic materials. Contemporary zori for women usually have a slightly elevated heel, somewhat similar to a wedge, although flatter.

19th century Japanese straw sandals (zori)

For Women, Girls, and Workmen
For Women, Girls, and Workmen | Source

Havaianas Birthday

Created in 1962, by 1970, Havaianas were so popular, mostly in Brazil, imitators were encroaching on the design causing the company to launch its ad campaign, "Havaianas. The real ones. They don't lose their shape, don't smell and the straps don't get loose."

Not until the 1998 World Cup model was created did Havaianas gain their international groove, primarily in Europe. Finally, by 2007, they were a consistently available brand in the USA.

Today, Havaianas are sold in 60 countries and are displayed in the hippest fashion stores around the world.


Environmental Issue

Because flip flops are inexpensive, they are disposable, and after one season many are discarded even in developing countries. Usually the strap between the toes snaps after some use, and although this problem can easily be repaired, most people do not bother because they are relatively inexpensive and easily replaced. Even in poorer countries they are discarded, although reportedly street vendors will repair worn sandals for a small fee.

Most flip flops are made with polyurethane, derived from crude oil. Polyeurethane is a number 7 resin and cannot be recycled in small amounts. With so many people wearing them, landfills can be the permanent and long-term resting place for millions of these synthetics.

So my advice? Buy a durable sandal—Havaianas—and repair them if they break!

Design Your Own Screen Saver

Start with this.
Start with this. | Source
Change it.
Change it. | Source

Havaianas Trivia

  1. On the Havaianas website you can design your own wallpaper and screen saver for your computer monitor with Havaianas colors and motifs.
  2. Havaianas have been part of the Oscars since 2003, and exclusive models are given to all Oscar nominees.
  3. A special bejeweled edition of Havaianas was created in 2004 in partnership with jeweler H. Stern, featuring 18 karat gold encrusted with diamonds.
  4. The manufacturer of Havaianas has also partnered with international design house Missoni to produce a line of the flip flops.
  5. Havaianas Slim were created in 2006 for women who wanted a thinner, more delicate, feminine strap. The originals are called Top Havaianas.
  6. Havaianas became an established brand in the USA in 2007, and in Europe (via Madrid, Spain), in 2008.
  7. Havaianas are made for men, women, boys, girls, and babies.
  8. On the Havaianas website, you can design your own—pick the color of the foot bed, the straps, and add decorative crystals and pins to the straps.
  9. Originally there were 8 colors of Havaianas; today there are 20 different colors and more than 200 different styles.

Brazil: Birthplace of Havaianas


The Real Deal Genuine Article ************Havaianas************

Havaianas, purchased in Brazil in 2002.
Havaianas, purchased in Brazil in 2002. | Source
Ahh... Sit back. Now where's my gin and tonic?
Ahh... Sit back. Now where's my gin and tonic? | Source

For men and women

Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flop
Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flop

You can buy your very own Havaianas at! These Slims are a little thinner and sleeker than the originals (below).


The Official Havaianas ad

What color would you like? Check out this store!

EVERYTHING Havaianas. . . . . The Store in Sao Paulo, Brazil


This hub is dedicated to Mike Welch of London, England, tour director par excellence.


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    • profile image

      james 2 years ago

      Amazonas are way better! They make biodegradble footwear

      haviannas rubber sits in landfalls for 700 years!

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 4 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      LOL. yes they are great for slapping those mosquitos. I caught dengue ever there twice. dang skeeters.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      I live in Brazil, home of Havaianas! I virtually haven't worn anything else since I arrived.

      Everyone wears them no matter what their occupation. It isn't uncommon to see a pair hanging on the handlebars of a motorcycle as it whizzes by with its barefoot rider.

      I even have seen people jogging in them!

      They are also used here for whacking wasps and mosquitoes , angry stray dogs, and marauding cattle.

      To prolong the life often people will put a soda pop tab to hold the strap in the base.

      The feet of people here are wide and flat from wearing these all their lives because there is no support in them.

      Interesting hub.

    • idigwebsites profile image

      idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

      I also love about footwear, and I find the profile about the Havaianas more interesting. The video looks like making Havaianas a pretty fun thing. Thanks for posting! Voted up and awesome.

    • SoManyPaths profile image

      SoManyPaths 4 years ago from West Coast USA

      I think they look fine and feel OK. But then I read the other day from a podiatrist that wearing sandals too much is not so good as they do not provide much arch support and you can develop stress fractures, extensor or flexor tendonitis. OTOH, I see many people w/o foot problems so that foot doc must have some flaws in her study.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I am wearing my havaianas as I read this. I must agree....the BEST! They were purchased under duress (who pays almost $20 for a plain black flip flop?!?) It turned out (4 years later) to be one of the best investments I've made!

      Thank you so much for all the interesting little tidbits and facts!

    • Grace-Wolf-30 profile image

      Grace-Wolf-30 4 years ago from England

      They are rather marvelous!

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Great hub. I lived in Brazil for part of the year in 2009. Everyone raved about Havaianas! The funny thing is, I ended up picking up counterfeit ones that wore out while I was there! I couldn't believe it. When you speak only a little Portuguese....not easy at times. This really brought me back and made me want to order some of these, but this time making sure they're the real deal! Voting this up, great memories and interesting.

    • scottymb profile image

      scottymb 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great hub! I need a new pair of flip flops for the summer and am now considering Havaianas! Have a great summer :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil


      Havaianas are also great formal wear (at least where I live). We have a commercial where an attractive lady comes out and her date makes a comment about her shoes. She tells him "Okay, I´ll change" and she goes back inside. Another car drives up and she goes with off with him (still wearing her flip flops, of course) and she leaves the first guy at the doorstep.

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      The Kiwi brand looks nice. However, I couldn't find anything for "jandeys" in my search.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image

      Jandeys man 5 years ago

      Another interesting fact is the first 'rubber' flip flops or jandals were made in New Zealand in the 1950s. Jandeys is a great Kiwi brand that's worth checking out :)

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Of course! Here's to summer...bottoms up! Enjoy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have not worn any type of flip flop in years so had not heard about Havanaias. They sound interesting! Thanks for the review. Can I join you for that gin and tonic? Haha! Up votes!

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 5 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      I appreciate your opinion, RRSimmons, and I like my Crocs, too. Crocs have their place and Havaianas have theirs. My personal evolution has been to wear Crocs when I'm working and Havaianas when I'm playing. But...each to his/her own.

    • profile image

      RRSimmons 5 years ago

      Crocs have the best selection and best wear of any flip flops I have worn..ever!

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      twentyfive - I so enjoy finding fellow solemates :D who love their Havaianas, too. Thanks for the vote and comment! Best wishes.

    • twentyfive profile image

      twentyfive 6 years ago

      I love Havaianas! They're fabulous and very durable. The most popular flip flops from Brazil here I think. Thanks for this great hub! Rated up! :)

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Hey Simone, thank you for such a nice comment! That means a lot to me. I have to say, this hub turned out to have a lot more background, resources, and related issues than I ever expected when I started it.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Havanaias are fascinating shoes- and I find the brand even more interesting! What a fun overview. Voted up!

    • JSParker profile image

      JSParker 6 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      Nice comment to receive, Phil! Thank you so much. Best to you.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      It definitely pays to buy quality - this is true of most things. Great hub earning you a vote-up and a useful.