At $18,000, Chipkos’ latest pair of flip-flops must surely be the world’s most expensive. Hand-painted by Los Angeles contemporary artist David Palmer, the one-of-a-kind, ashram-inspired sandals features the Chipkos emblem gilded in six grams of 18-carat recycled gold by Readers Fine Jewelers in Santa Monica. Despite the extreme price, there is a method behind the shoemaker’s madness: With every purchase, Chipkos will adopt 100,000 square feet of endangered rainforest in Costa Rica.
In addition to the sandals, the purchase comes loaded with extras. Deep-pocketed philanthropists will also receive a two-night stay at the LEED-certified Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, a display case made from reclaimed mahogany and glass, a certificate of authenticity, along with a meet-and-greet with Palmer himself. And if, on a whim, you decide to take your $18,000 kicks for a stroll on the beach, Chipkos’ included shoe bag will come in handy.
Deep-pocketed philanthropists will also receive a two-night stay at the LEED-certified Montage Hotel n Beverly Hills and a meeting with Palmer himself.
Norm Gershenz, executive director of SaveNature.org, which partnered with Chipkos on the project, compares the endeavor to “adding land to Yosemite.” “Each sandal purchase expands a Costa Rican national park by 100 square feet, thereby protecting the habitat, species, and resources within that land area in perpetuity,” he says.
Gimmicky, sure, but who are we to judge the motivations of the monied?