Oh, Aunt Esther. Fun and kooky Aunt Esther.
She’s the “creative” Aunt with a very soft spot in heart for animals, children, and the less fortunate.
She tells heart-wrenching tales of poverty and desperation from her days, so many years ago, in the Peace Corps.
Stories where the price of a soft drink in our world is the difference between life and death in theirs.
She’s known for taking in injured animals and giving to every needy person she encounters, even if it’s only a few minutes of her time to acknowledge and encourage them.
Say what you will about all organic Aunt Esther, though her acts may sometimes be awkward and clumsy, there is no arguing that her heart is in the right place.
Olli Fair Trade Natural Rubber Flip Flops reminds me of my Aunt Esther.
Created by two sisters with their hearts in the right place.
They are made of 100% natural rubber which has a dreamy texture. It is soft and silky yet firm and forgiving. They feel very organic.
Not in the now trendy sense of that class-dividing term, but as it was originally scientifically intended; “natural matter with a carbon base.” They feel like life.
The near inch thick grey integrated footbed/sole arrived as flat as a slab of marble.
I doubted that they would ever adjust to the contours of my soles. I was wrong. The 100% natural rubber has shifted itself to match the curves of my feet. What’s more, the 100% natural rubber has a very pleasant scent and texture.
As if a very subtle lotion was misted over them making them…cozy.
Now, like my Aunt Esther, the folks at Olli want to ensure that the people making their flip flops are treated well and not exploited.
I think this is what is intended by the term, “fair trade.”
It’s an idea intended to mean that all involved are treaded and compensated equitable. It’s a wonderful idea and their hearts are certainly in the right place.
That said, all too often something has to give. In the case of these flip flops it is the strap and overall fit that suffers.
The execution and installation of the strap are sloppy and negligent.
The gap between the strap and the footbed is as wide as the incomes of the rubber farmer and the tire industry magnate. Substantial.
I know there are amazing craftsmen and women among the labor force that Olli has tapped, along with the rubber trees.
Sadly, they must not have been the craftsmen enlisted in the final construction of the Olli fair trade natural rubber flip flops.
The failure of the strap is catastrophic.
These flip flops have the potential to surpass the Hunter Originals but for the strap.
With each step, they dangle from my feet like a much too loose tooth.
Barely held on by a thin and much too slack sinew of a rubber strap that refuses to hold the shoes on my feet.
Like Aunt Esther, Olli’s heart is in the right place.
But sadly, the strap is not. I’m hopeful that future versions will correct this significant failure.
I fear that, like Aunt Esther, they will have moved on to the next cause before doing so.
Flip Flop Verdict
Overall Performance — 3.2 out of 5
Alleviating the guilt of privilege
Fit – 3
100% natural rubber footbed molds very nicely to the foot, yet the strap is near useless
Style – 3
They look good but would look amazing if the strap fit correctly
Traction – 4
Great traction in both wet and dry
Comfort – 3
They could be so much more so if the interplay between strap and footbed were right
Dudeness – 3
The Dude digs that their heart is in the right place