Havaianas (pronounced ah-vai-YAH-nas), from Brazil are probably the most recognisable flip flop brand in the world. They also have an interesting past that dates back to the 60's. In 1962, a local firm called Sao Paulo Alpargatas began producing sandals that were based upon the traditional Japanese flip flops known as zori. Rather than using traditional and somewhat impractical straw to make these new all-purpose flip-flops, they used waterproof, durable rubber. This had the added advantage of being very comfortable. These simple shoes were then sold through small, local shops for a relatively low price. As a result, Havaianas flip flops were purchased by people who could afford little else. They were therefore known as the poor man's flip-flop or "chinelos de pobre".
The Havaianas flip flops soon became incredibly popular, selling as many as a thousand pairs in one day. Many imitators tried to cash-in on this popularity, so in 1970 Havaianas hit back with their "Havaianas As Legitimas" campaign, (Havaianas, the Legitimate Ones). These are the flip flops we know today, such as those available from Havaianas UK. As a result of these flip-flops becoming popular with visiting tourists to Brazil, the footwear eventually became successful with middle and upper classes Brazilians. A change in their design during the 80's also increased their popularity. In 1996, these humble flip flops had developed into a national brand and were able to reach new consumers in all parts of the country. In 1998, the company released a special World Cup edition of the flip flops which brought the brand to an even wider audience. The Brazilian flag was then utilized as a company logo and became the new trademark of the company.
Loyal wearers will be familiar with their comfort, effortless style and practical durability. Favoured by globetrotting backpackers, kicked off and slipped on by sun-worshippers and swimmers, Havaianas UK are by now the British summertime's casual footwear of choice. Fans will tell you that they don't cause blisters and if you happen to pull the strap out through the sole you can simply pop the whole thing back together. Most brands would have ended up being thrown away under such circumstances. It is this sheer practicality, coupled with the fashionable image of these colourful flip flops that has ensured their worldwide success.
By the year 2000, the brand was to be seen on the feet of models and celebrities such as Gisele Bunchen. Within a year, the company began to export their flip flops around the globe. Now immensely popular in the USA, Australia and Britain under the Havaianas UK brand, they are to be found virtually everywhere and seen at fashion shows, rock-concerts, premiers and movie award ceremonies. There are over twenty different types of these well-recognised flip-flops suitable for women, men, children and even babies. They are available in a staggering range of colours and an estimated 160 million Havaianas flip flops are sold every year. The poor man's flip-flop has certainly come a long way!