I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to write this review. Perhaps because deep down inside I didn’t want to have to face facts and admit what I’ve known in my heart for months. Like the classic story of the rough around the edges too cool for school kid falling for the friendless geek – each of whom are the same thing but at opposite ends of the spectrum. Telling themselves they prefer it that way. I’m not sure which one I am in this scenario and which one is the Sanuk Land Shark flip flop, but I don’t care. I’m just glad that we’ve found each other. There, I’ve said it.
“I’m just glad that we’ve found each other.”
I really wanted to feel nothing for these flip flops, but they are just too good. I even adore their name, “Land Shark” but feel I should despise the blatant retro-cutesy-cool attempt to catch my eye. But the fact is, I like it, it’s clever. So clever, that I found myself searching YouTube for clips of the old SNL Land Shark skits. Watching them now I understand how they were the perfect commentary for the world’s fear of sharks at the time following the release of the Jaws movies. I wasn’t even born then, but those clips still work. Imagine living in a time when folks were so worked up and fearful…
The Sanuk Land Shark is like no other Sanuk that I’ve encountered. The styling is updated traditional. From afar they look like just another ho-hum pair of black and gray rubber flip flops – yet given a closer look you notice the updates, the details. The wide-pleated soft fabric gray strap looks as sharp and crisp as a bespoke trouser from London’s classic Savile Row haberdashery, Henry Poole & Co. in “Mid gray plain tropical worsted wool” – this may sound odd but it steps up the scope of occasions that these flip flops work in. They transition perfectly from day at the beach to night at the posh cocktail lounge.
“Imagine living in a time when folks were so worked up and fearful...”
The black footbed is made of the same yoga mat material of all Sanuk flip flops and has a wonderful texture. The grip between foot and footbed can’t be beat. Combine that with a perfectly placed strap, they feel as secure on the foot as a pair of ski boots, but much, much more comfortable. The fit is perfect. They’ve even included a couch-like ridge of arch support which make them a joy to wear. Comfortable is not a strong enough word to describe them – they feel bespoke.
The tire rubber outsole seems to be a departure for Sanuk and is a huge upgrade. On my pair it is gray, similar to the strap and the edges are curved up ever so slightly – like the tips of an eagle’s wing in full glide. The curve of the sole brings to mind the cool-curved screens of the latest smart phones. It just looks so…nice. The outsole tire rubber material wears like iron. I’ve worn these all over the world the past few months, across all kinds of terrain and the treads still look almost new.
“The Sanuk Land Shark is a rubber flip flop masterpiece.”
The soles consist of three different types of traction maximizing features: 1: hundreds of small embossed images of the Sanuk smiley tiki logo, 2: a large green Sanuk text logo running the length of the heel and 3: deep and widely spaced crevices (sipes) branching out across the footbed in a vascular random pattern. The combination of these three features make for a grip that holds on any surface. Wet, dry, slick, smooth, rough – solid every one. I suspect that the curved edges give extra support to the grip, but I just don’t know how exactly.
The Sanuk Land Shark is a rubber flip flop masterpiece. They really made me examine and rethink my unfounded bias against the brand – a bias I really don’t understand myself because the origins of which I can’t pinpoint but suspect that Sanuk’s initially strong tie-in with the namaste-spouting, yoga-pant brandishing, and fad diet following crowd played a part.
Despite all that, I’ve had a change of heart, the Sanuk Land Shark has won me over. I may even re-think my yoga-aversion…but probably not. Namaste.
Flip Flop Verdict
Overall Performance — 4.8 out of 5
Transition perfectly from day at the beach to night at the cocktail lounge.
Fit – 5
Style – 4
Updated traditional yet a bit ho-hum from afar
Traction – 5
Treads include two types of siping for a self-assured grip on all surfaces
Comfort – 5
Dudeness – 5
Easily and for every occasion