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Olukai Kia'i II: A Technical Flip-Flop Designed by Lifeguards


Most flip-flops aren’t very high-tech. That's just the nature of this kind of footwear. Unless they’re being made by Olukai. That company's Kia'i II flip was researched and developed with the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. A hand-picked group of elite guards—from Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island—collaborated with Olukai engineers to review designs, test prototypes and influence the development process over a period of several years.

Hawaiian lifeguards are a humble and down-to-earth group—and some of the world's best watermen. They’re regularly hired to train lifeguards in other countries (including Australia), which speaks to their competency, innovation and expertise. Many guards are also big wave surfers and fishermen.

What they built the Kia'i II to be: highly durable and rugged, with a removable, washable, anatomically correct footbed that gives you great support and comfort for any activity, from cruising the boardwalk, to manning the chair, to walking to Sunday brunch.

Wear them, and you'll be outfitted in the same flips worn by all 450 Hawaiian lifeguards. It's part of their uniform. And, proceeds from every pair sold goes to the Junior Lifeguard program, which supports the next generation of lifeguards in Hawaii. Available spring 2013, $70;

—Berne Broudy

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