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Hari Mari, inventor of the smart flip-flop, tries on proper shoes

Two years ago, I wrote about Hari Mari, a flip-flop startup that wanted to improve the humble summer sandal. The company came up with a patented design to make them more comfortable and also inserted an electronic chip inside some models that paired with an app, to better engage with customers.

All of this has helped Hari Mari grow quickly and become an established player in the flip-flop market, which includes brands like Havaianas and Rainbow. Its products are available at Nordstrom and other retail boutiques, as well as on its website.

Today, the brand announces that it is expanding beyond its core product into shoes. The brand is launching with three casual men’s styles that include a desert boot, a chukka, and a sneaker. Lila Stewart, who cofounded the brand with her husband, says that the company is also working on women’s shoes, which will launch in the next few months.

This expansion allows Hari Mari to sell footwear all year round to those who live in colder climates, and bring its R&D processes to other kinds of shoes. It also allows it to move from being a flip-flop maker into a lifestyle brand associated with an active, outdoorsy lifestyle.

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