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I was surprised to find this version of Reef's surf shoes on here because there are so many different types available. These were bought for me as a gift, I would certainly never pay this much for what are effectively very nice and different flip flops, but they are lovely and were appreciated by me. These are the Guatemalan "Love" sandals which come in a few colours including the lovely purples in the pic. Mine are brighter however and have a striped rainbow coloured design which appeals to my inner hippy and matches my horrible tie-dyed clothes...
I love bohemian clothing. Anything rainbow, floaty, hippy, indian style is my idea of heaven. These fit the bill because of their woven rainbow straps. I remember when my daughter was tiny we bought a pair of Guatemalan dungarees made from the same woven fabric. They were so bright and unlike anything found in the rather uninspiring high street that even though she has long outgrown them, I have hung onto them with a view to one day making some form of patchwork quilt with them. The person who bought these for me knew me well in terms of the style that I like and although Reef are primarily a "surfer" oriented company, these are just on the edge of that for me to like them.
Traditional Guatemalan weaving is beautiful and colourful. The distinctive patterns and skillful designs make them recognisable. The descendants of the Mayan people pride themselves in using bright and bold colourways and the weaving is not confined to just rugs and throws, some Guatemalans wear whole outfits of finely woven patterns based on traditional shapes and designs. The same method of weaving has stayed the same over hundreds of years via backstrap looms or larger treadle ones for sheets of woven cloth. This is the cloth that the straps on these sandals are made from.
There is more on the history of the weaving in the link below with some amazing pictures:
We are told that these sandal straps are hand woven in Guatemala and feature traditionally patterns and designs. Reef state that the straps are created in partnership with the nonprofit organization Nest. From an ethical standpoint this is very interesting but even with some digging I was unable to find out what proportion of profits actually go to the people who weave the straps. I would like to know though.
There is more information on Nest here:
These shoes are very soft underfoot and are well cushioned. They apparently used to have thicker soles on them and there have been a few negative comments on the internet due to this, but as these are my first pair of this type I really do not know any different. I wear them around the house, and have worn them to the beach. They are easy to walk on sand with and dry fast when wet from the sea. The weaving has stayed intact and I have even hand washed them. They also look good with pretty much anything due to the variety of colours on the strap.
The toe posts of these are flexible and did not need to be broken in at all, no blisters or problems even when worn for long periods. These have a footbed shape to the base which I love (Birkenstock fan here) which are exceptionally comfortable and good for my feet. The soles although soft keep their shape well so there is no sagging over time of the footbed itself or the straps. The outer tread is rubber and lightly textured with an all over "leaf" type design. The "Reef" logo is embossed onto the bottom of the sole but this is subtle which is good because nobody wants to look like an old fart trying to be "down with the kids"....
These are a hand-made item and therefore the website states that slight variations may occur in the colours of the woven straps. This is true for mine where the straps are slightly mismatched but then I think that gives them character. These are very lovely shoes but I wonder if the high price is due to the name rather than the materials unless of course Reef are donating a sizeable chunk to the charitable organisation involved with the weavers.
The colourful woven straps are double seamed at the edges with tight stitches and these have held true despite being worn a lot. The rainbow colours on mine have not faded either and they are just as bright and beautiful as the day that I received them. So I would say that these are well made despite their simple design and they seem to be able to hold up to all sorts of wear and tear. They have also survived a few rounds in the washing machine on a cool wash with no damage showing.
* Soft cotton strap with hand-woven textiles from Guatemala
* Colourful and lively shoes
* EVA footbed
* Lightly textured rubber outer sole
* Toe post logo
* Excellent arch support
These are available in a whole variety of colours and range from size 3 up to size 9 . They are sold on Amazon and in various online shops, especially surf shops and the prices range between £29.99 and £39.99.
There are a whole range on http://www.surfdome.com and the rainbow ones like mine are £31.99.