Havaianas in Rio is like bagels for New York: A perfect match. It’s the ultimate footwear for the beach, and once a gringo gets his feet into these rubber sandals it’s very likely he will never want to take them off. Cheap, stylish and comfy. The great thing about these flip flops is they come in every color you want, so you can always fit them perfectly with your outfit of the day. Brazilians in general have at least ten, but often way more, pairs of havaianas.
In the 1960’s some Brazilian entrepeneurs saw how you could make a sandal out of rubber. Basing the model upon a Japanese traditional design they created the Havaiana. It quickly became the footwear of the masses since it was durable, cheap and comfortable. Many copied the concept and this type of sandal could soon be found all over the world.
In the 1990’s sales were going down and the company needed to do something. They then lanced the “Top” model together with some good advertising and soon it grew into fashion. From there it has exploded and today there is a multitude of models and colors in different price ranges. They are sold worldwide. The only real competitor to Havaianas in Rio is the Ipanema; Advertising with supermodel Gisele Bündchen and some cool designs has established that sandal well. The Havaiana is still clearly number one.
One tip: never run with Havaianas on your feet. You are trying to pass a traffic light that is turning red? Better wait. The upper part of the flip flop can break when you put to much force on it, or get loose, and you won’t be the first person to fall flat on the streets because of this happening. So you better just walk around in them.
Where to buy Havaianas in Rio?
They are sold all over the city; In supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies and in fashion stores. Just keep your eye open, prices differ a lot depending on the model and also on the place where you buy them. The obvious place is to go to an official Havaianas store. Here they have a wide range of models you can buy and if you want you can also buy matching other merchandise like little wallets and phone cases.
There are several big stores in Ipanema, Copacabana and Leblon. It’s always a good idea to buy yours in Rio, because they are way cheaper here than in Europe or the US. You can buy a pair here for around 30 Reais.
On the website of Havaianas you can find the store that is closest to you.