Wearing Rubber Slippers is Just One of Hawaii's Simple Pleasures – Hawaiian Footwear and Happy Feet
Hawaii’s people love happy feet. One of the things I have learned about living in Hawaii is that I treasure comfortable feet. That’s right. My wardrobe sports many plain to frilly embellished pairs of “rubbah slippahs” (rubber slipper, zori, thong, geta, or whatever you like to call them).
This is my grandson, Makani, just weeks after learning to walk, cruising at Puuhonua O Honaunau National Park
Arriving in Hawaii when I was sixteen, I easily moved into the island lifestyle as if born to it. My feet show this free and easy state we are in here—no crimped toes for me, more like spread wide and happy. Just as sweet as Liliko’i butter on hot toast. Happy feet are an island pleasure for all to enjoy!
Getting closer to home (or work), I love the fact that Realtors in Hawaii are not expected to wear business attire! In Hawaii, we are blessed! My dear friend and fellow Realtor with Hawaii Life, Erik Hinshaw, arrived in Hawaii and fell in love with the island stride and way of life. He sports a pair of slippahs from the Island Slipper Co. located and manufactured in Pearl City, Oahu, which are the only locally manufactured slippahs available. They even make custom pairs for special-order large sizes and unique demands too.
Erik has other friends in the shoe manufacturing business and mentions the minimalist footwear movement where the controversy is on how modern running shoes could have negative affects on health conditions in amateur and professional athletes. I find it interesting to see runners moving toward the barefoot run.
Japan leads the world in mass producing cheap rubber slippers, or as islanders say, “rubbah slippahs. The Japanese also find our products from Island Slipper Co. a favorite “high fashion” item. So, they do not mind plunking down $170 to $350 for a pair of Olukai slippers. I too support our local product! Why not?
Last year, a local surfer used his daughter’s small worn rubber slipper as a hand board to win the Da Hui Waimea Bay Shorebreak Slam. Although they may be worn as footwear at an island wedding, slippers are also used to swat cockroaches, whack a mango out of a tree, or smack a mosquito.
The slipper epitomizes the fundamental values of Hawaii’s multicultural history and lifestyle. Whether visiting your local island doctor or attorney, I bet I could guess what footwear each would be wearing! Sure, I love the look of high fashion shoes, but it’s not for me anymore. More often than not, at work or play, you will find me in island slippahs!