They can protect your feet from gym scum in the showers. They can take you to the beach and back without you sustaining substantial tan lines. But propping up an economy in a conflict zone such as Afghanistan? Can your flip-flop do that? Enter, Conflict Flip Flop: a new shoe brand whose goal to manufacture in Afghanistan came about after two Army rangers wanted to make sure the peaceful gains their units made locally were sustained after the U.S. military left. Though the style names may be a little unfortunate (the combat flip-flops are named the "Bombshell" and the "AK-47"), the idea behind is admirable: Its product and manufacturing techniques could easily be taken over in factories in conflict areas once United States industries withdraw.
According to the brand's website, "We started Combat Flip Flops with the mission of supporting a growing Afghan economy. A strong economy will sustain the gains made over the last decade." The idea was formed when Donald Lee and Matthew Griffin, former Army rangers and entrepreneurs, saw a factory worker in Afghanistan that concocted a flip-flop using a combat boot bottom. Says Griffin, "Small businesses are making a difference. They employ people, and protect and build neighborhoods.”
However, since opening its first factory in Afghanistan, the duo has run into a few problems with manifesting its dream, and had to close after experiencing a string of setbacks. They reopened production in Issaquah, Washington, so as of now, the flip-flops don't directly support the Afghan economy, but Lee and Griffin hope to resume production soon (and hopefully expand to other conflict areas such as Syria and Libya). Keep following news of the team's operations on its website at CombatFlipFlops. (WWD)
Photo: Courtesy of Conflict Flip Flop