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Walk Responsibly: Flip-Flops Made of Natural Rubber

by Elke Erschfeld

PlanetFlopsOver the last few years, flip-flops have become a summer staple. But did you ever wonder what they are made of? Most flip-flops are made of synthetic or natural rubber. According to The Rubber Manufacturing Association (RMA) approximately 70% of all rubber used in manufacturing today is synthetic. Natural rubber comes from the rubber tree and is a renewable resource whereas synthetic one is petroleum based and depletes our natural resources. By now, you probably know which material I advocate.

Planet Flops, founded by a podiatrist in Beverly Hills, uses natural rubber for the designs with the goal to create the most comfortable and eco-friendly flip-flops out there. Rubber trees must grow for about seven years until they can be tapped as part of the rubber making process. This involves stripping away a small area of bark to facilitate latex drainage. There’s no need to cut down the rubber trees during the extraction process. Instead they provide a renewable and sustainable source of income for families living in the rainforest area. Unfortunately the natural rubber in its original form still gets treated with dyes and glues to achieve the comfort and colors of Planet Flops. But I do believe in voting with your wallet by supporting eco-conscious companies in the hope that current technology will be replaced by greener alternatives to eliminate all harmful components eventually. In the meantime, replacing your worn out synthetic flip-flops with natural rubber ones is still a step in the right direction.

The cheerful flip-flops come in many different styles and colors for women, men, and kids. For every pair sold, Planet Flops plants one tree in the Brazilian forest through Trees for the Future which is committed to planting trees with rural communities in the developing world to restore their environment and grow more food. You also have the option to recycle your old Planet Flops by sending them back for a 10% discount towards your next purchase. It’s great when companies encourage responsible recycling. With so many cute designs in colors like pink, brown and army green, Planet Flops might become your new go-to summer footwear.


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