Rubber flip flops are hotter than ever in Manila. The timing of this trend is strangely premature since the summer season has yet to hit (it's actually been rather rainy...

Rubber flip flops are hotter than ever in Manila. The timing of this trend is strangely premature since the summer season has yet to hit (it’s actually been rather rainy recently). But there’s no denying that the trend is here right now. We’re seeing local retailers that specialize in things ranging from perfume and novelty gifts cut their signature inventories to create space for sandal selling.

What could possibly be causing the hotness of the footwear other than actual heat? The short answer seems to be Latin America. Filipinos have always favored rubber sandals because of their affordability and their practicality in the context of a tropical country that never gets that cold. The problem was that rubber sandals eventually became a stigma of poverty as they were so accessible. They became associated with the term "pambahay" (meaning, fit to wear only inside your own home). Then fashion flip flop brands like Havaianas and Dupe from Brazil as well as Reef from Argentina broke through the borders. All of a sudden, rubber sandals didn’t have to be cheap or pedestrian. It was like the entire country was given permission to stop resisting.

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