SPLAFF was founded in 1997 following my discovery of huarache sandals in Mexico during a surf trip. I was fascinated by the recycled tire bottoms on these traditional Mexican sandals. Unfortunately, they used leather, they were not comfortable, and they did not come in a flip flop style.
I set off to learn how to make shoes from recycled tires in a flip flop style that did not use leather. After a couple months of apprenticing with shoemakers and cobblers, I honed my skills of cutting, stitching, folding, and the likes. I began making flip flops out of my garage for myself and my surfing comrades.
My first models used a combination of hemp fabrics and recycled race car tires. Later, I incorporated the use of recycled bicycle inner tubes. I was always drawn to hemp fabric as an environmental alternative to cotton and its competing synthetic textiles. I like the inherent strength of the hemp fiber and its natural resistance to moisture and mold. After reading “The Hemperor Wears No Clothes” I was convinced that I had to use and promote the benefits of hemp.
As SPLAFF’s sandal business grew, I began to add and design more eco-conscious, alternative products utilizing the same materials (recycled tires, hemp fabrics, and recycled bicycle inner tubes). Today SPLAFF’s product line includes bags, belts, wallets, guitar straps and wristbands.
-Cliff Drill, Owner & El Presidente
SPLAFF started in a garage with a tire, a bike tube, and a shoe knife. The vision was to make a comfortable, long lasting, fairly-priced sandal from all recycled materials.