My second pair of Havianas gave out, and it was time to find a replacement. After assessing how socially conscious my summer wardrobe was (video below or linked here), I knew it was time to find a socon flip flop replacement. And where better to begin during quarantine than surfing the internet?
Looking for socially conscious flip flops online led me to several cork-based options that looked very attractive. Cork is a renewable resource, so this made sense. I bookmarked a few pairs I liked on Instagram and saved some shopping pages on my phone.
With a little cookie-based stalking and some social profile data mining, Indosole found me as someone who was eco-conscious and looking for flip flops. As a marketing manager myself, I see the “good marketing” as putting something in front of someone at the right time who is looking for it– and that’s exactly how it was. Several static Instagram ads and a story ad later, I was alerted of their pre-Black Friday sale.
These stylish shoes are made of ethically-sourced natural rubber with recycled tire soles. Natural rubber is a renewable resource, and workers are paid fairly and work under good conditions to harvest it and create the upper shoe.
As for the recycled tire soles, this is just another example of ways clever inventors are solving the tire problem: Used tires often sit for years in junkyards, landfills, and unfortunately the ocean. In addition to consumer products, the construction industry is starting to cash in on the goldmine of available rubber provided by used tires. Tire-derived fuel and DIY projects also take aim at eliminating used tire waste.
I ordered the light blue flip flop sandals and received them within a month. That’s relatively OK although they were shipping allegedly from in-state (Bay Area to L.A.). The main issue was that the black soles pre-scuffed the light blue sandals, in places that could be visibly seen when they were worn. For brand-new $40 flip flops, I wasn’t about to let it slide.
Initially I couldn’t get through on the phone, so I tried to find a local vendor where I could either return or exchange them. After trying 2 locations in-person and calling several more, I realized that wasn’t going to happen: Locations were closed during COVID, didn’t carry the sandals, or weren’t equipped to handle an exchange. So initially it appeared their product was well-intentioned but didn’t deliver. I was a little sad.
Finally, I reached customer service on the phone, and things turned around. The customer service rep explained that light blue was in heavy demand, and they had again run out of stock. Instead, they would send me another pair for free, and I could keep the scuffed ones! I chose forest green, a beautiful color that I initially thought wouldn’t match many of my clothes but as it turns out is very versatile.
Two more weeks and the green arrived. I immediately fell in love with the color, and I noticed the straps on the top of the foot were a little wider– an important distinction as explained shortly.
After learning a new pair would be coming my way, I slid the light blue pair on, leashed my pup, and went a’ walkin’. But after only an hour or so, what started out feeling like mildly uncomfortable straps started feeling like sharp edges cutting into my feet! The top layer of skin was cut away and my feet were literally bleeding. I hobbled home, to some Neosporin and bandages.
Seriously, the soles of my feet are cushioned and supported, and I can even lightly jog in these with no pain whatsoever. That breaking-in period was really rough, though.
The green pair, with a wider strap, never caused any pain nor did they have a ‘breaking in’ period. I wore them overtop of the scabs from the blue pair with no additional cutting or scraping. These, too, are the absolute most cushiony, comfortable flip flops ever.
As of today, March 27, 2021, both pairs are going strong. The blue pair got a little dirty, but were easily washed with an old toothbrush and Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap. Unfortunately, the scuff marks never did scrub off entirely.
Neither pair shows signs of wear in either cushion or sole, and I wear each one for at least one walk nearly every single day.