Wednesday, October 6, 2010

#23 Flip Flops

In the world of surf apparel where casual fashion meets function; there is perhaps nothing more iconic of the surfer and the surfing lifestyle than the classic flip flop (also known as “sandal”, “slippah”, “thong”, or “go aheads”).  It is by far the footwear of choice amongst surfers the world over. Consisting of nothing more than a Y thonged strap inset into a rubber sole to hold the toes in, the flip flop is simplistic ingenuity at its finest.  Its convenient slip on, slip off functionality lends itself well to the casual surfer lifestyle where wearing shirts is often optional and sporting boardshorts is a way of life.  For those surfers who might have just as easily gone barefoot through life, the flip flop provides a refined solution for getting around town or for patronizing those demanding “no shirt, no shoes, no dice” type of restaurant establishments.  They have also saved many a surfer from imminent 3rd degree burns on countless hot, sunny days where haole feet and lava hot sand don’t mix (Black sand beaches – Really??!! Can we turn it down a notch?!!)

For surfers, flip flops are practically a part of our d.n.a.  Just as surfing is seen as pure freedom, flip flops are liberation for our feet.  They’re like a convertible with the top down throwing inhibitions (..and possibly toe jam) to the wind.  Sauntering down to our favorite beaches for a quick surf, the flip flop is there for us and our feet in their time of need.  They wait for us patiently while we surf and are there to greet us as we get out of the water just so long as they don’t wear a hefty price tag on them beckoning “come steal me!” (i.e.- only cost $20 or less) or somebody’s dog didn’t mistake them as a chew toy.  Surfers quickly grow attached to their flip flops forming bonds of embedded toe and heel prints into the body of the sole.  But much like a six month High School romance, the writing is on the wall and one day the flip flop’s toe strap breaks and it’s all over before it really even had a chance to begin.

Ode to Flip Flop’s Passing:  “R.I.P. dear Flip Flop.  We will remember you and all the joy you brought our feet.  We tried to resuscitate you but our MacGyver like attempt to reconnect the toe strap was amateur at best.  We will try and recycle you so that you may come back in another life (presumably in a Chinese factory) and bring happiness to another surfer’s feet.  Yours Truly, Surfer Dude”

To shed some more light on the array of flip flop options out there, SSL would like to recognize and poke fun at some of the companies that make these glorious flip flops.  While nearly every major surf company sells them, we’d like to focus on the more core contenders who make it their business to produce the highest quality flip flops available.  If we miss someone, please feel free to add them on our comments section and we can update the post as needed to include them.  Enjoy!

Astrodeck:  Well know for being one of the first in the industry to make traction pads, Astrodeck now makes sandals with the same traction patterns built into their sandals.  Now you never have to lose that classic Astrodeck feeling of grip it and rip it!

Cobian:  Their slogan is “Walk with us” and you may just want to as they make reasonably priced flip flops that hold up quite well over time.

Flojos:  Flojos have been around since 1979 and were extremely popular back in the bitchin’ 80’s.  They are making a comeback and have an especially popular girls line.

Havaianas:  Hailing from Brazil, makes a simple, rubber thonged flip flop with the use of florals and bright colors.  Popular with the ladies. 

Kustom:  Makes a wide range of comfortable rubber and leather flip flops worth checking out.

Locals:  It used to be you could only get these if you were in Hawaii.  Now they are available in select shops on the Mainland.  They are a classic, very inexpensive flip flop worth having in the surf sesh repertoire.

Ocean Minded:  A sustainably minded, earth friendly sandal company to the core.  They use recycled plastics and materials to make their stylin’ flip flops.  They also organize numerous beach cleanups and work to promote a cleaner environment through the sale of their products.   When they’re not too busy saving the world, they’re adding to its beauty and our eye candy enjoyment by sponsoring surfer twin hotties like these

Rainbow Sandals:  This company makes very high end leather sandals that last a long time.  In fact, it is not uncommon to see surfers wearing these flip flops for years until they are worn down to mere nubs, yet the toe strap survives!  Worth the money and it has a great entrepreneurial rags to riches story behind its founding in a garage in Laguna Beach.

Reef:  The undeniable leader in flip flops, sandals, thongs, whatever you want to call it.  Speaking of thongs, just check out their Reef Brazil Ads! Enough said!  They even make a Mick Fanning Pro Model Sandal complete with a bottle opener embedded in the underside of the sole for those who enjoy mixing bubble gum, toe jam, and residual dog poo with their beer of choice.  All in all, pretty cool!

Sanuk:  Sanuk flip flops are fun.  They reek of creativity and funkadelic-ness.  Like Ocean Minded, they are pretty earth friendly and they even make a flop in the likeness of an artificial putting green.  Fore!!

Scott:  Original Hawaii Sandals since 1932.  Also called “Slippahs”.  High end and last a long time like Rainbows.  A good choice for upping your game on nights out whilst wearing your man blouse (no popping collar please).


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