During our tour of the Havaianas North America HQ in Venice, CA this June, we were introduced to the Tradi Zori. To say that they grabbed our attention is an understatement. Rarely does a flip flop cause the Flip Flop Daily Chief Dudes to stop in our tracks, but that is exactly what the Tradi Zori did.
On a display case amongst scores of variations of Havaianas’ bread and butter traditional rubber flip flops sat the Tradi Zori. Almost nothing about this flip flop was like the others. Where to begin…?
“…YES, THESE ARE HAVAIANAS FLIP FLOPS.”
In the context of Havaiana’s world dominating and genre owning design the Zori is a revelation. Simultaneously extremely traditional and ultra-modern. At a glance, they look a lot like the original flip flop, the Japanese Zori. As the gaze lingers, however, it’s obvious that there is much more to these flip flops.
First there is the strap and toe post. Every other pair of Havaianas, and 80% of all other flip flops, are made of rubber or nylon. The white Tradi Zori strap is made of bathrobe-like terrycloth, fastened by a white silk-rope styled toe post to the footbed, with an elegantly simple cow-hitch knot. The wide and plush towel-like strap, embossed with the Havaianas logo, confirms that these are indeed Havaianas flip flops.
The charcoal gray footbed, in the shape of a traditional Havaianas flip flop, is embossed with the usual Havaianas grains of rice pattern providing both firm traction between foot and footbed and familiarity, another assertion that yes, these are Havaianas flip flops.
“THE HAVAIANAS TRADI ZORI ARE TO THE ORIGINAL JAPANESE ZORI, THE ORIGINAL FLIP FLOP, WHAT QUINTON TARANTINO’S FILM, KILL BILL, WAS TO ORIGINAL JAPANESE MARTIAL ARTS CINEMA.”
The footbed rests atop a pedestal-like bright white sole sloping up from the ground and transitioning from a ninety-degree rectangle where heel meets ground into smooth and curved shelf, gracefully displaying the footbed. One cannot help but wonder, “is this art?”
The front of the sole and footbed maintain the familiar rounded flip flop shape. However, turning over the flip flop the tribute to the original Japanese Zori carries through.
The sole is separated into three sections. At the heel is a small rectangular patch of pastel blue sole taking up the last two inches or so of the sole. In the middle 80% is a sunshine yellow section of sole that takes up the entire mid-part of the foot from the ball of the foot to just before where the heel begins.
From the ball of the foot to the toe is a pink sorbet section complete with a line dividing the big toe from the others, mirroring the position of the toe post above. The colorful, three-part sole with rectangular siping does an excellent job of maintaining footing while navigating most terrain.
“…DOJO MASTER STATUS OF THE FLIP FLOP LIFE AND ULTIMATE DUDENESS.”
The fit of the Tradi Zori is spot on. True to size, even for larger feet, the Tradi Zori fits well, and the terrycloth strap holds the foot firmly atop the shoe. Due to the very thick sole these flip flops are quite a bit heavier and beefier than the average flip flop and significantly more so than any other Havaianas flip flop. However, the strap does a great job of keeping them on.
One issue, unique to these flip flops, is the tendency to step on the corner of the heel of one foot with the other when taking shorter strides. This is due to the squared off soles which jut out a bit more than typical flip flops. While not a huge issue it is sometimes annoying.
“ALMOST NOTHING ABOUT THIS FLIP FLOP IS LIKE THE OTHERS.”
The Havaianas Tradi Zori are to the original Japanese Zori, the original flip flop, what Quinton Tarantino’s film, Kill Bill, was to original Japanese martial arts cinema. An amazingly inspired, respectful, and modern homage to the original exuding nothing but respect, awe, and enthusiasm for the masters of the genre.
These flip flops exude extreme confidence and devotion to the Flip Flop Life – a Flip Flop life varsity move. People will look, people may point, people will whisper. Are you confident enough to wear the Havaianas Tradi Zori? That is something only you can decide. But if you do, set forth confidently knowing that you have achieved Dojo Master status of the Flip Flop Life and ultimate Dudeness.