Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Business

April 24, 2011

These shoes are made for drinkin’

Kokomo creation FlipFlasks have received attention at national level

— Don’t bother hauling coolers, weighed down with ice and drinks, to the beach.

Shoes work just fine.

A duo of Kokomo residents, one a delivery truck driver, the other an owner of a speaker store with a global market, have begun selling a type of footwear that puts a new spin to the term “bootlegging.”

Hidden within the soles of the sandals created by T.A. Weber and Jim Rayl Jr. are flasks that pour out of the shoes’ heels.

The men admit the FlipFlask isn’t an original idea — the concept spurred from a similar pair Rayl had that was discontinued. But the Kokomo residents say their product is much better quality.

Rayl said he received flask sandals as a gag gift several years ago. The problem was they leaked a lot and trips to the beach meant sand got into the drinks that sloshed below his feet.

After they left the market, Rayl took the idea to Weber.

“I actually took my favorite pair of sandals, hacked them up and put a shot bottle in them,” Weber said.

After about a year of trying out six or seven prototypes, the men had the FlipFlask and its catch phrase: “A party in every pair.” Both the shoes and the slogan are trademarked.

Each sandal’s sole has a bottle that holds 1.5 ounces of fluid. Openings for the container poke out slightly from the heels, where shoe wearers can unscrew the caps and pour their drinks.

“I poured a drink while on a beach in Florida,” Rayl said. “A guy comes up. ‘Did I just see you do what I think I saw you do?’”

Big Endorsements

Available in a single style of a brown and burnt orange cracked pattern over black soles, FlipFlasks probably won’t earn a spot on a Parisian runway.

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