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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

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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