As soon as we booked our tickets to Rio de Janeiro, my wife was determined to embark on a hunt to buy Havaianas, the sexy flip flop that has risen to the top of the fashion ranks.
In Brazil they are so common the company says three out of every four Brazilians own a pair. It got to the point that Brazilian model Giselle Bundchen, the face of rival flip-flop brand Ipanema, was even caught wearing a pair of Havaianas.
Named for Hawaii, these cushiony-soled sandals in fact hail from Brazil and have been around for almost 50 years. And while they may currently be riding a high-end fashion wave, they were originally designed for poor slum dwellers and sold in plastic bags at convenience stores, next to cleaning supplies.
“It’s become the people’s brand,” said Sugimara. “We say Havaianas are to flip-flops what Kleenex is to tissue and Coke is to sodas.”
So everywhere we assumed they would be, and everywhere they are. But some places are better to buy Havaianas than others. Here are few places we discovered on our long walk through Copcabana, Ipanema and Leblon.
Sheraton Rio Hotel
has a shop featuring assorted Brazilian souvenirs, including Havaianas
. They have a nice selection, but prices to match a higher end hotel. A pink pair with the Brazilian
flag on the strap was R$29,00.
Rio Sul is a shopping mall in Botafogo that features a Havaianas store where a decent selection can be had for R$15,00 to R$21,00. My wife jumped in and bought a few pair here. Had she waited, she would have discovered a better selection and better prices deeper on the streets of Copacabana.
(R. Figueiredo de Magalhães 414, Copacabana) had them priced from $R11,00 to R$18,00 with a deep selection of flops for each nation from the World Cup, kid sizes, ones repping each of the Rio futbol teams, bright floral designs, dark gothic ones, a rainbow of solid colours and more.
According to Gringo Rio, 2 other shops to check out are Miss Bag in Copacabana and Kikarnes in Ipanema.
Hunting for Havaianas in Rio isn’t a difficult task, you can spot them in the easiest of places (hotels and shopping malls) but if you’re adventurous enough to get into the streets of the city, you’ll find better and more unique styles.
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