The world"s most fashionable flip-flops: Havaianas celebrate their 50th birthday

The world’s most fashionable flip-flops: Havaianas celebrate their 50th birthday

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UPDATED:

01:00 GMT, 30 July 2012

The joy of summer, however short lived, means women across the land have finally been able to rediscover that perennial wardrobe favourite — the flip-flop and, in particular, Havaianas.

You can keep your Jimmy Choo gladiators sandals, and your LK Bennett wedges — nothing compares to the comfort of what is widely regarded as the best flip-flop in the world.

Available in a rainbow of colours and loved by everyone from schoolgirls to world leaders, Havaianas celebrate their 50th birthday this year.

The best flip-flop in the world Havaianas celebrate their 50th birthday this year

The best flip-flop in the world Havaianas celebrate their 50th birthday this year

The secret of their success lies in the closely guarded rubber formula, which makes thicker, bouncier sandals that don’t cause blisters — and look good.

Jennifer Aniston and Heidi Klum love them, even David Beckham and Barack Obama own a pair. They have featured on the Paris catwalk and become so popular with the Hollywood A-list that they are a long-standing feature of Oscars goodie bags.

Last year, a staggering 210 million pairs were sold in 80 countries worldwide. And every second, five pairs of sandals are produced from the Havaianas’ factory in Paraiba, Brazil.

Who would have thought that a rubber sandal, based on the traditional straw-bottomed shoe worn by geishas, and designed for Brazilian labourers, would become such a style staple

But after launching in the Sixties, the shoes — which cost less than 2 in Brazil — became such an essential that they were included on the list of basic necessities such as rice and beans that the government used to calculate cost of living increases.

Soon, everybody in Brazil — from rich to poor — started to wear them. Before long, the rest of the world wanted a piece of the action and today you can buy Havaianas everywhere from JD Sports to Harrods.

Few other flip-flop brands boast the same cache among the fashion crowd. For proof just look at this summer’s zigzag patterned collaboration with luxe Italian label Missoni (yours for 60), or Brazilian jewellery label H. Stern’s limited edition diamond and gold pairs.

In the past 50 years, the same factory has made 2.2 billion pairs of sandals — and it is said that if all the size 5 ones were laid end to end they would go around the world 50 times. What more can you say Except, happy birthday Havaianas.