Friday, April 02, 2010

Okabashi Sandals

Look! I just became a fan of Okabashi footwear, on Facebook! And I posted the comment you see to the left:

I love my Okabashi "Men's Torino" sandals that I just purchased, yesterday! They make me look like an old, fat guy from Miami! I can't wait to wow my students with my new look!

The comma splice was intentional (this time). With my usual spring attire for Gainesville (Bermuda shorts, athletic socks and baggy Dollar Store t-shirt) I really do look like an old, fat guy from Miami! I believe this has been my intention all along.

Back to Okabashi. My beloved faux-Birkenstock Pali sandals finally broke down after 4+ summers of constant service, and I fretted about the future of my feet for this upcoming summer. I considered getting a new pair of Palis from the Internet, but most Internet people want to charge 17-dollars for a pair of the ones I have now - SEVENTEEN DOLLARS! That's without shipping, and way too much for a cheap pair of plastic sandals. So, the other day I broke down and bought a pair of Okabashis at the neighborhood Walgreens for 10-dollars. The thing that sold me on them was not the fact that they are on Facebook and Twitter (although I find that fact immanently hilarious), but that they are:

  • Made in the USA
  • Have a 2-year guarantee
  • Are recyclable

They're made in Georgia, of all places. I thought "Okabashi" meant they were some New Age Japanese construction, but this is not the case.

About the recycling: Even with Gainesville's new recycling privileges (type 1-7), Okabashi will let you send your shoes back to Buford, Georgia for actual recycling into new footwear. You have to put them through the dishwasher first -- not having a dishwasher, I wonder if my washing machine would be enough? Yes, checking on the recycling page for Okabashis, apparently you can! If they pass muster, they grind up your old Okabashis and make them into new Okabashis. The circle of shoe life writ large, man! According to their website, Okabashis can contain up to 85% recycled materials and still be durable.

So far, so good with the Okabashis. I've been wearing them around the house this evening (I'm still recovering from a massive head cold so I've been out of commission most of the week) while I catch up on dishes/laundry. The real test will be when I wear them to campus on Monday and put them through the rigours of graduate teaching assistant life.

To recap: Okabashis are my new shoe of choice because they are made in the USA, so I support American industry and not sweathshops overseas, they are cheap yet they can contain recycled materials and be recycled themselves. Win!
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