Traditional flip-flops (or slippers for our friends in Hawaii) are a staple in many a surfer’s footwear quiver. While they let the feet breathe and are marginally more comfortable than shoes, the traditional thong design through the big and first toes means a loss of functionality. Flip-flops are great for post surf strolls, but for anything remotely strenuous e.g. jumping, a quick jog, or even walking on rocks and uneven surfaces, flip-flops are remarkably ill-equipped. There are several companies out there pushing sandal designs that are more capable of off-roading (most notably, Chaco), but all do so by adding straps. The Porto, Portugal-based company, iGuaneye, though, is trying to change the sandal design game through a simple, intuitive design shift. Instead of flip-flop that goes between the toes and over the top of the feet, the iGuaneye Jungle wraps around the big toe and heel in an effort to free the foot and keep the sandal firmly hugging the foot.
Aesthetically, the Jungle is strange. A fully enclosed big toe with the rest of the toes exposed would definitely take some getting used to, but if their Indiegogo campaign is any indication – they raised over $100,000 – people are interested in a flip-flop alternative without straps that don’t slap your heels every step.
According to iGuaneye, the inspiration for this concept comes from indigenous Amazonians who traditionally “dipped their feet in the latex from Hevea trees and smoked them in a fire to coagulate the first rubber tennis shoes.”
The Jungle is available in a “light” version with an EVA foam sole or a “lux” version with a leather and cork sole. The Jungle Light retails for $70 and the Jungle Lux retails for $100.
Learn more here.