Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Mindful manufacturing in the flip-flop industry

November 29, 2017
By Tim Gibb

Nov. 29, 2017 – The mass production of footwear and apparel used to make sense for the fashion industry — the idea being the more product you could make, the more product you could sell. But the industry has evolved.

Not only is fashion in a constant flux between what’s popular and what’s yesterday’s news, but countless clothing manufacturers have flooded the fashion world, leaving it mired in overproduction and, ultimately, resulting in more stuff to throw away.

The flip-flop and sandal industry has not been immune to the calamity of overproduction. Each day, consumers purchase cheaply made flip-flops, and each day these flip-flops are thrown away — discarded in a landfill or dumped in the ocean. It’s a classic case of wasteful manufacturing.

However, some clothing and footwear companies are trying to be part of the solution by embracing a more sustainable approach to manufacturing — an approach borne out of advancements in technology and an adherence to a “just-in-time” mindset.


In the flip-flop and sandal industry, this sustainable approach is being achieved using state-of-the-art equipment and efficient and proprietary processes in which domestically sourced material is poured and moulded into shape using a multi-station rotating table paired with an open-pour mixing head and carriage, then cured, trimmed, cleaned, printed, lasted and shipped.

And because the fashion industry always demands the latest in style, flip-flops can be designed using a printing process involving a wide-format flatbed printer. This proprietary approach from Tidal New York means the manufacturer no longer mass produces the same design or same colour flip-flop, and quick runs have become achievable and affordable.

Tidal New York says the entire 10-minute manufacturing process is mindfully created to result in less overproduction compared to high-minimum screen printing and an overall quality product that lasts longer and looks better.

Tim Gibb is co-founder of Tidal New York, a New York-based flip-flop maker dedicated to creating the best and most environmentally friendly flip-flops for men and women. For more information or to comment on this article, email Tim at or visit

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