Because I’m a Cheapskate: Mending My Broken Flip-flops


Last 2011, I started the year by travelling to Bangkok and Siem Reap and only brought with me one pair of flip-flops. My sister had this pair of Havaianas which she barely used. So instead of letting it rot, I asked her if I can have it. She willingly gave me the pair and ever since, we became inseparable.

I actually didn’t like the shape of that Havaianas slippers because it doesn’t flatter my feet’s shape. However, I got attracted to the Filipinas design with a matching Philippine flag button on the straps of the flip-flops. So after my trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap, I used it for my trips to Sagada, Zambales, Davao, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Siquijor, Iloilo, and Osmena Peak.

my travel slippers

And when I started living a location independent lifestyle last February 2012, there was no question what slippers I would bring with me on the trip. The only downside to bringing that pair of Havaianas was that I’ve worn them out and I was afraid anytime soon, I’ll damage them just like the previous one.

Havaianas campaigns of having durable flip-flops but based from experience they were not that durable after all. My mom had to improvise a solution to fix my broken Havaianas once. And because of that, I dreaded the day that will mark the death of my slippers.

Then on my 2nd month of backpacking in Southeast Asia, it happened. One of the straps snapped while I was touring the Wat Chedi Luang temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

havaianas flip flops

But because I’m a cheapskate, I didn’t throw away the slippers. Replacing it with a new one was out of the question. After seeing what my mom did to my old flip flops, I looked for a wire. A flower vendor inside the temple grounds gave me a small piece of wire that she cut from her store’s tent. And I started fixing my slippers so that I could use it again.

When I travelled back to Pai on my 4th month of backpacking in Southeast Asia, the wire I used became too rusty that I had to replace them again. I also checked the other strap and found out that it was about to break as well. So with the help of my newfound friend, Palm, we started sewing both straps using stainless paper clips!


While I continued using the slippers during the rest of my travels, I noticed that some of the wired paper clips sank inside the rubber sole. But other than that, I never felt any discomfort from wearing my flip flops.

However, when I decided to go home to my hometown last July 2012, panic suddenly struck me. I got afraid that my paper clipped flip-flops might not make it pass the x-ray counter of the airport. What if they refuse to let me go through the x-ray checkpoint if I don’t remove the wire? Although I also brought a pair of sandals, the Havaianas flip-flops were more comfortable for the long flight. It was a good thing I managed to get through 2 airports without anyone questioning the wires on my slippers 😉

The other day, I decided to replace the wires since the paper clips were getting rusty. I asked my father if he has a spare stainless wire. I showed him the sole of my slippers and what I’ll do with the wire. After he saw it, he went to the cabinet to search for something. I thought he was looking for a wire but when he approached me, he handed me a 100-peso paper bill and said “Oh, bili ka nang bagong tsinelas” (“Here, buy yourself a new pair of slippers”) 😆

I couldn’t help myself from laughing hard. My pop was a practical person and he found it more practical for me to buy a new pair of slippers rather than fixing one.

fixing a havaianas flip flops1 my old Havaianas and its new wires after the surgery 😆

It’s not really that I’m that stingy or frugal. I just think that despite those wires underneath it, the flip flops are still in top shape. Besides, I can still use them and I refuse to replace them just yet.

P.S. In the Philippines, a lot of people go gaga over a pair of Havaianas and my sister’s one of them. I love the flip-flops from Havaianas because of their ability to retain their original shape. And although I’ve worn a couple pairs of those flip-flops, which originated from Brazil, I just never bothered buying one because of their outrageous prices. I’m just thankful for having a vain sister for I get the chance to raid her collection 😆

And yes, I’m back in the Philippines…indefinitely…


  1. This is super helpful! I wish I read this when I was in Indonesia last week. Had to go barefoot for a while then discovered a safety works too! Buti na lang island life 🙂

  2. Astig… Old school Doi ah… gawain din namin yan dati,saka didikitan namin ng goma galing sa interior ng gulong yung swelas para matagal maupod.. hehehe

  3. Doi! Welcome back! 😀

    I’ve had moments like that too, i just put it back in and walk more carefully. The most matibay slippers i’ve had is actually a cheapo 70P one that i used while caving in Sagada, i’ve never owned Havs cause i find them too expensive for plain tsinelas, like you, and i know deep within my heart i won’t wear them much 😛 I prefer cutey sandals and Melissa-esque plastic shoes. I super recommend them 😀

  4. Ang cute Doi! I was doing the same thing when I was a kid. esp kung favorite and trusted mo na yung flip flops no? yung tipong may mutual understanding na sila ng paa mo..haha!

    havent had a pair of havaianas, OA sa price kasi..haha!

  5. @lois: hehehe. too bad this post came out late but am glad you discovered a trick to save your footwear 😉

    @sky: hehe. if it was someone else, they would have probably tossed those flip-flops in the garbage can. glad you found this post useful sky! 😀

    @james: it wasn’t really more of a sacrifice but making use of things that can still be used with a little magic. hehehe. as for my havaianas, am glad i got them at no cost. 😆

    @titus: hahaha. mas classic yung sa inyo at parang mas hassle din. 😆 i just followed yung ginawa ng mom ko dati. hehe

    @killerfillers: hehe. glad to know di ako nagiisa sa mga ganitong gawain. 😆

    @darwin: i agree sa ka OA ng price nya. kaya nga never ako bumili nyan. am also glad nauntog na ang sister ko sa kakabili nya coz of the flip-flop’s tendency to break. pero mas mahal na brand naman pinalit nya! hahaha

    @lauren: brand ba yang 70P? 😆 macheck nga! hehehe. napagoogle tuloy ako what Melissa-esque looks like. pero naguluhan ako sa dami ng pics. hope you can show them to me. hehe

    @cille: as in. nalingaw kong papa. 😆 amen to the vain sisters!

    @ivan: hassle nga mag opera ng tsinelas. tagal ko rin natapos sa latest operation niya. hehehe. di naman sagabal yung alambre kasi nakatago naman sya dun sa supposed butas nung sole. and yes, nasa pinas talaga ko. hehehe. dito lang ako sa cebu if mapadpad ka dito . lemme know lang 😉

    @peter: probably but I have the original ones 😉

    @arsie: ehehehe. thanks!

  6. A small safety pin works too! I was afraid of the safety pin scratching my hardwood floor, so i put pressure on the pin so that it wraps around the base of the strap like your last picture.

  7. Awesome tip. Outrageous prices too for those Havaianas here in Brazil’s neighbour country, Argentina. Mine were a gift (I would never pay that much for flipflops), very uncomfortable at first (kind of forced to use them because gifter would see me with my run down old ones and ask about the gift); but now that the straps are softer and more comfy, one broke like that (dissapointed!). And the soles aren’t even worn down a bit. Will try to fix with wire, and if not, improve them with all cloth straps.
    Also, very interesting to find out shared words between spanish and filipino (I assume): “Oh, bili ka nang bagong tsinelas” flipflops can be referred as “chinelas” in spanish, and then i saw “alambre” in the comments, haha (I am amused very easily i guess).

  8. Being a Brazilian, it always astonish me when someone from another country says that Havaianas prices are outrageous, because in Brazil they are very cheap (well, at least they used to be some 30 years ago), and usually worn by poor people. The manufacturer did some brand overhaul in the 90s and the sandals started to be seen not as cheap, but as a comfortable and practical piece of clothing (somewhat like what Crocs were released as). Today they are not as cheap as they used to be (and they have a much wider range of colors and models), but they are still considered as in the low-mid price range.


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