“Mai Pehn Rai” is Thai for “It’s cool, no worries, or take it easy.” What a spot-on mantra for a company that makes flip-flops. Meet Feelgoodz, whose "take it easy" style complements perfectly its socially responsible and sustainable business model.
What is it? Feelgoodz flip-flops are made of 100% natural rubber that's harvested from the Yang Para tree in Thailand, where the flip-flops are also produced. Biodegradable and 100% recyclable, these comfortable flip-flops come in 5 different color combos and are available worldwide through their website. I particularly like the "Twilight" choice, pictured left, which Feelgoodz has designed especially for brides looking to be comfortable at their weddings!
What I like: Feelgoodz flip-flops are made from biodegradable natural rubber, hemp, bamboo, and recycled paper; its display hangers are recycled, too. The company belongs to the Ashoka network, a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. Through their relationship with Ashoka, Feelgoodz has developed a plan to donate 1% of profits to the planet, 1% to the Fair Trade Natural Rubber Program in Thailand, and 1% to the Phitsanulok community that inspired founder Kyle Berner when he worked there several years ago. I’ve been wearing a pair of the "moon" flip-flops for several weeks, and find the rubber to be very soft and cushiony. They have not completely molded to my feet just yet, but it is clear from the softness of the rubber that they will.
What could be improved? Because Feelgoodz is a very young company, you can only purchase their products in a handful of retail stores in Louisiana, Hawaii, Oregon, and Maine. We'd like to see them replace the throwaway flip-flops found in most big-box outlets. The website is confusing: it shows a great variety of color combos, but only sells five options. Are those coming soon? Hard to say. The company claims the product is recyclable and biodegradable, but where's the proof? If I wanted to recycle my Feelgoodz flip-flops, where would I send them? How long does it take for them to biodegrade? Back up the claims, please.
Havaianas – Feelgoodz' rubber flip-flop style reminds me a lot of the sandals I regularly wear, Havaianas. While Havaianas offer more colors and are available in many local retail outlets, the company makes its product from synthetic as well as natural rubber and says nothing on its website about its commitment to Fair Trade or environmental sustainability.
Rainbow Sandals – One environmentally-friendly aspect of Rainbow leather flip-flops is the lifetime guarantee they provide for the soles of their products. Keeping one pair of flip-flops in usable condition for a lifetime is a great way to reduce the waste generated by discarding old or broken pairs. Rainbow also manufactures flip-flops made out of hemp. All their sandals are "triple glued" to keep the soles intact; it was hard to find any information on the environmental impact generated by the glue.
Simple Shoes produces an eco-friendly flip flop called Gumbo, for women and men. These sandals are made of sustainable hemp, carpet padding, recycled car tire, and natural jute. They are also vegan-friendly and are shipped in a post consumer recycled box. Simple Shoes are carried at many nationwide retailers like Nordstrom and Journeys.
BTW, here's more info on eco shoe styles.
Feelgoodz – $19.99.
Top Havaianas – $18.00.
Rainbow Wide Strap Leather Sandals – $42.50.
Simple Gumbo Sandals - $50.
How many purses?
Two and a half. Feelgoodz says on its website, “We’re not environmentalists, but we’re doing our part.” That's what Big Green Purse is all about, encouraging manufacturers to adopt more sustainable practices. Feelgoodz is ahead of the curve. Show us some documentation on your environmental claims and we'll feel not just good but great about making this a three-purse review!
By Katie Kelleher (with oversight from Diane MacEachern)
Full Disclosure: FeelGoodz provided Big Green Purse with one free pair of flip flips to review, at a value of around $20. The flip flops were worn by our unpaid student intern Katie Kelleher for several weeks before she wrote the review. They will be kept by Katie since who else would want to wear them at this point?