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The Battle of the Flipflops: Havaianas vs. Beach Walk


 

I don't know about you but I've always wondered about how Havaianas compares to a "regular" pair of slippers.

What's so special about Havaianas? Are they really all that different from the slippers you can get from any wet market or grocery (a.k.a Spartan)? And so in the name of hard nosed investigative journalism (Watch out Howie Severino!), I took it upon myself to finally dispel the myths and uncover the bare bone truth!

 

Round One: Availability

 

The first thing I did in my quest was to look for a pair of Spartans. I went to SM Southmall and after asking a saleslady, I was told that Spartans the brand no longer existed. Apparently, Spartan merged with Beach Walk sometime back. I was then directed towards a single rack towards the edge of the shoe section filled with slippers of varying colors. Unlike the ubiquitous Havaianas which has a free standing store in every major mall, as well as big displays in Rustan's and various sporting goods stores, Beach Walk is not as easily accessible. It's probably available in all SM branches but you still have to search for it.

I don't know if Beach Walk can still be found in wet markets though, as it used to be when I was young, but my dad bought his recent pair in the grocery. So if you're so inclined, you can grab a pair of Beach Walk together with the week's grocery requirements.

 

Round Two: Style

 

There is no doubt that Havaianas comes in a gamut of styles and designs. A trip to an All Flip Flops branch will lead to a veritable slipper overdose with the dozens of colors and designs available for the eager shopper to choose from. In fact, I myself have a Yellow Top, Hot Pink Flash and white Metallic pairs. In comparison, the Beach Walk rack in Southmall was not as formidable, design and selection wise. Actually, I was half tempted to scoot over to the Planet rack because it had cuter designs. But I stuck with my earlier plan and chose a bright red pair with blue thongs.

The available Beach Walk slippers were of the two - toned variety. I originally wanted the green and yellow pair, but they didn't have it in my size so I had to settle for the more eye catching red and blue. There were only two styles available in the Beach Walk rack, the thong type slipper and the "X" type, where the straps formed an X (my father's preferred style). However, according to this blogger, Beach Walk also comes in wedges and has its own box. Sadly enough, the boxes and the wedges were not available when I went to Southmall.

 

Round Three: Comfort

 

The first thing I noticed about my new pair of Beach Walk was that the thongs were not as long as Havaianas and so after a few minutes of using them, the thong was already rubbing on my foot! Ouch! I then tugged on the thong to elongate it a bit. I tugged and I twisted the slipper for a while until it became a little more comfortable. I'm happy to say that I've been using my Beach Walk pair for over a month now and chafing is no longer an issue.

The foot pad was very soft too but it did not have the legendary buttery feel of the Havaianas. It didn't feel cool on my feet, rather it felt like, um, rubber. But very, very soft rubber nonetheless. Just like the Havaianas, the Beach Walk foot pad also easily collected grime but I haven't tried scrubbing it with soap and water though so I don't know yet which is easier to clean, I promise to make a postscript on that later on :p

 

Round Four: Durability

 

My first pair of Havaianas was bought almost three years ago and I still use it up to this day. Even after constant use and abuse, it still looks relatively new, although it now has stubborn grayish foot marks on the foot bed and the sole more that shows its age. The sole has started to grow thin in parts (or pudpod na for lack of a better term) and I've noticed that I tend to slip more while wearing that pair. I guess with pudpod also comes a loss of traction.

It's still too early to tell how durable my Beach Walk pair is, but my father looooves his Beach Walk! He has around three pairs of the the white X yellow thong style which he bought at different times. The one he likes best is his oldest pair, which is now practically paper thin with the soles turning black at some part (black = pudpod). The two newer pairs (doppelgangers of his first pair) usually turn up at various places in our house because, much to my father's chagrin, they have become the default slippers for the rest of the household when we can't be bothered to look for our own slippers.

 

Round Five: Price

 

My Beach Walk slippers set me back a mere Php89.95 while the cheapest pair of Havaianas is a little under Php700.

Why the big price discrepancy? First, Havaianas are imported from Brazil so there are taxes to be paid and import costs to be factored in. Second, Havaianas have big overhead expenses with its stand alone stores in the more upscale malls. Third, if it were cheaper, it wouldn't be any different from Beach Walk, Planet, Islander and Banana Peel :)

Incidentally, my uncle recently came from Brazil and he said that Havaianas can be found everywhere there. He was also surprised to find some discarded pairs along the street, but a local told him that Havaianas are so commonplace in Brazil that it makes better sense to just throw it out and buy a new one than trying make do with an old pair. And the locals don't clean their Havaianas, instead, they just chuck it out and get a new pair. Apparently, Havaianas is Brazil's Beach Walk.

 

Conclusion

 

It is beyond dispute that Havaianas outperforms Beach Walk in almost every aspect and it should, for the price you're paying for it and the value we have also attributed to it. But this experiment has taught me that Beach Walk is also a potential force to reckon with. It's comfortable, durable and value for money. Now if only the Beach Walk people can get its act together and come up with more designs...

As for me, now that I'm making my own money, I have become more careful with my spending, so for slippers it's a 90p pair of Beach Walk for this spendthrift and the remaining 600p I would have spent on a new pair of Havaianas can go to a movie and a good meal (and you can also even throw in a new paperback novel).

*PS. Special thanks to my cousin Mitchie for letting me take pictures of her pretty Havaianas!

Bevin Chu's picture

I used to wear Havaianas.

But their quality control has gone way down.

Straps break only months after purchase. Soles come badly warped, right out of the box.

I got fed up.

I recently discovered Ipanemas.

If you put the sole of an Ipanema up against the sole of a Havaianas, you will see that they are almost identical in shape.

Ipanemas have the same look as Havaianas.

But their quality control is far better.

I've switched and won't be going back.

anne loves beach walk's picture

i love this review..im a fan of Beach Walk and to defend it, they now have cooler designs, wedges and the classic ones still exist.. i have a pair of havs too, and i wanted to buy a red flash but i decided to buy Beach Walk instead..When I got to SM I looked for it on the Flip Flops Section but it wasnt there, and I found IT at the SUPERMARKET!!! wallah!!! lots of Beach Walk Slips with cool prints, and in fact it comes out with a box too!!! My 1000++ php bought 3 pairs of Beach Walk Slips, ticket for 2, dinner for 2 at Mang Inasal's and i even got change!!! ha ha... be practical but spoil yourself sometimes ^_^

net's picture

ramboo is pretty much better than havaianas..lol haha

erickzobel's picture

bantex is d best !

be a fan of havaianas's picture

havaianas is very comfortable to wear... infact i have 20 pairs... be branded..! Havaianas belongs to those who are part of its history who have done the simple act of slipping on a pair of flip-flops.

meg319's picture

What do you mean by "be branded"? Isn't every person who have put on a pair of flip flops part of whatever brand of flip flops' history as well?

Trina's picture

Where can I buy Braziliano Praia?

nakzz's picture

hey! ganda ng review mo.i like the way you compare both.kung tutuusin, pareho lang silang 'rubber slippers' though ibang rubber lang ginamit sa havs...but still they're both rubber slippers, at kahit anung brand pa yan ng rubber slippers, pare-pareho lang sila.pinoys loooooves luxury kasi.they're IN kapag havs suot nila.kumbaga sosi [sorry sa matamaan]kapag suot mo havs.sa totoo lang, dyan nakuha ng mga businessman yung idea na why not yung sosing tsinelas ipagbenta natin?maraming bibili, coz target nila the rich ones and those who can afford, e pati yung mga walang pera napipilitan para lang maka-buy kasi nga luxury eh, in ka.opinyon ko lang po.walang personalan.comment lang :)

Anonymous's picture

nice one! i love your comment! tama.....

The battle between Philippines’ Beach Walk vs Brazil’s H's picture

[...] By paolo • April 28, 2008 Jillsabs has a scholarly and very well-written article about that age old flip flops question– which is better, the Philippines’ Beach Walk slippers or Brazil’s Havaianas? [...]

tizai's picture

why dont you try to compare ipanema and havaianas this time??

Sean's picture

I also found a really nice pair of sandals called (strangely enough) Braziliano Praia. Simple but very comfy! Check out igapost.com

I personally decorate these so they're great.

ziamz's picture

flojos wins!

Jillsabs's picture

Kikay: Please refer to comment #7. I explained there why I chose to compare Havaianas and Beachwalk instead of other brands.

As regards Flojos, I would be more than happy to do a review on it if a pair was sent my way.

Maybe you can ask your boss to do so ;-)

Angel: Maybe you can also back up Kikay in asking your boss to send a pair of Flojos my way. That is, if you're not one and the same person with Kikay :)

Angel's picture

Havs were being imported from Brazil. It must have been manufactured in Brazil when it was just starting. But this was when Havs is being introduced in the local market.

But now, all slippers (not only havs) being sold in the Philippines is being manufactured in and imported from China.

I compared Havs that came from Brazil and one that I bought here in Manila. And there's a difference in its texture and quality.

Go for comfort, not for the name.

Kikay's picture

You can't compare Havaianas with Beach Walk. It's like comparing FUJI and WASHINGTON apples. Both are apples but they have different texture.

Why not compare Havs vs Ipa vs Flojos...

You might ask, "FLOJOS???"... yeah FLOJOS. I've got 2 already and comparing it with my Havs, FLOJOS is more comfortable. The longer you wear it, the more comfortable it gets.

FLOJOS have different styles and designs.
This is where Havaianas wins, they've got more selections. But that's it. The texture of Havs is the same for all of their styles and designs.

You want comfort and durability? Go for FLOJOS. You want more style and designs? Go for FLOJOS or Ipanema.

geraldine's picture

you know, i have a "somewhat discussion with a retailer of havaianas" because i commented that it's such a waste to put money into THAT slippers and i said that i'd better buy spartan than havaianas,since one customer said that "naputol dw ung havaianas niya"hahaha! and she replied na
"Oh holy molly! Someone must not be familiar with that item. very unfortunate... Rolling Eyes well, anyway.. talking to people that can afford this kind of slippers, they will buy and buy until they die, and that's what kind of people I know who would get offs for the next time."
hahahahahahaaa!!!

Jillsabs's picture

lehnmae: what's only 8 dollars in saudi, havaianas or ipanemas?

lehnmae's picture

Nice battle hahaha... i'm not in to havianas to. tingting is right ipanema is way softer than havianas and more comfortable. here in saudi you can buy it for only 30riyals or 8dollars. :)
About the beach walk... evryone you ask about will say "its soft and durable". :D

Jillsabs's picture

sardonyx and G: thanks!

G's picture

Nice review! :)

sardonyx's picture

hi! i love your review! :)

annie's picture

i like beachwalk too! shop in megamall for beachwalk. i got the brown, black and white. it's really comfy. banana peel is also a favorite.

Dorothy's picture

i like beachwalk. my mom used to buy these slippers waaay back and i usually look for them pag umuuwi ako sa province, they're so comfortable for me.

Anonymous's picture

I have friends in Brazil and they told me that they can buy havs for 5 dollars. whenever there are beach parties, havs are readily available for the guests so that they can trade in their uncomfortable heels for havs. :)

tricia's picture

here's the website of the scented slippers named MALLOS. :)

http://www.mallosonline.com

Tricia's picture

There are these scented flip flops naman available which were recently featured in The Sweet Life. A tie-up between a Filipino & French company. Quite interesting. I must say flip flops are all the rave now and I'm curious to find out what the next level of flip flops will be. We've got the ones with blings, patterns, scents, how about flip flops with music? hahaha.

Toni's picture

I loved your article! Great review and interesting points. :)

Nikki's picture

great review! I'm glad someone did this as the question always ALWAYS pops in my head when I see people lining outside the Havaianas shops! :) thanks girl!

Jillsabs's picture

tricia: i so agree! attention beach walk people!

liz: i specifically chose beach walk to emphasize the difference between a high end brand and the average, everyday pair of tsinelas. although beach walk already costs 90-100p today, so i don't know if it can still be considered everyday ordinary.

celine: same response as with liz

paolo: go ahead, link away :)

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