Why are we NOT Making Flip Flops? Part 1

SeaPigs Drifters, not flip flops.

 
SeaPigs Drifters, not flip flops

SeaPigs Drifters, not flip flops

 

I love flip flops and have worn them as often as I could from my teenage years until my early 40’s. I wear them because I love the way I feel when wearing them. Why do I love the feeling of wearing flip flops? It generally means I’m off work, its hot, I’m on holiday, chilling or playing with friends at the beach or pool, dancing about at a festival, chucking a ball about in the park or wearing them in the house as slippers.

However, they can be uncomfortable, give me blisters, toe pain, heel pain and sore shins. Despite all this I still persevere - it’s how they make me feel and that overrides the pain and long-term damage. Plus they are really easy to slip on and give you less tan lines.

I’ve tried all different types. The traditional beach flip flop. The more rugged hiking style brown leather and rubber ugly looking things. Havaianas. Gandys. O’Neills. Quicksilvers. No matter what I tried, something was missing either way - sacrifice comfort for couture, or couture for comfort, with no alternative.

Weary, I tried Birkenstock sandals upon recommendation, which at the time were available exclusively in fifty shades of brown. These beach sandals are designed and engineered in Germany, they are well made, good quality and durable (apart from water, they don’t like water and I feel this is a fundamental requirement for beach footwear, but that’s just me). Once again I was experiencing discomfort, and I looked like Jesus while I was at it. Birkenstocks have a rigid support structure designed for the perfect foot - if you don’t have the perfect foot, they won’t fit. Our feet are as different as our faces. I don’t have the perfect foot, so they rubbed and gave me blisters for weeks, until the hard skin build-up stopped the blisters. I eventually gave up.

Then I found sliders - with foot support built into the sole. These are comfortable and stay on my feet, however they make my feet sweaty, and in hot weather your feet slip forward inside the slider, plus they are lethal in the showers at the gym. Amanda and I found out that we had the same problems with flip flops, we both loved them, but we couldn’t wear them. Are me and Amanda really so unique?

“Flip-flops are really bad, because they're very flat, and they're super thin.”

Podiatric surgeon Dr. Jacqueline Sutera

We set off 2 years ago to make flip flops better, however, through all our research, design, engineering, talking to our customers, we ended up designing a new style of beach footwear that met the needs of Amanda and I, and many of our customers, the SeaPigs Drifters. This is risky as we are not only trying to sell a new brand, but now create a new classification of footwear. Time will tell if our decision was correct, but we are 100% confident that the SeaPigs Drifters offer adaptable personal foot support, while not looking like it. Invisible foot support that only you can feel.

One of the Physiotherapists we are working with said this after trying on the SeaPigs Drifters, prototype 15:

“The structure of the product allows the foot to be supported but also freedom to adapt - this will be beneficial to all not just those with foot pain.”

Mike Geritz - Sports Physiotherapist

Through our research we found 49% of people found their current flip flops as being perfect, but that meant 51% did not find their last pair of flip flops perfect. 12% of people surveyed did not like anything between their toes, 9% lacked heel support and 6% stated the sole was too thin.  Style was the most important purchasing decision closely followed by comfort.

Through co-creation we ended up designing a new type of beach footwear that would feel similar to flip flops, without the toe strap and offering comfort and support. Our aim is to make our SeaPigs Drifters feel like you are walking on sand, whilst also not compromising on style. We also know that as a responsible and prosocial brand we had to make them better for your health and wellbeing. This is why we have added the under sole support to our Drifters.

 
Four-layer exploded view of the SeaPigs Drifters 4 layer sole technology

Four-layer exploded view of the SeaPigs Drifters 4 layer sole technology

 

The SeaPigs drifters are still going through rigorous testing and development. So after 2 years of research and development we are ready to launch our new product on KickStarter in February 2019! Read more about our upcoming changes in Part 2 of this blog.

Over and snout,

SeaPigs!


Written by Mick & Daniel