Kevin O’Neill founded Malibu Sandals in 2014 as a tribute to the surf-centric Californian city, though the brand’s infatuation with the huarache sandal is rooted in South American tradition. With their vegan-friendly composition and built-in cushioned soles, Malibu’s broad variety of huarache-style silhouettes optimize carefree coastal living while destabilizing the conventions of Western footwear. Struck by the unplaceable, earthy charm of their initial output, Missoni integrated the brand’s woven leatherwork into a footwear collaboration that inevitably introduced Malibu sandals into the larger high fashion conversation. Malibu Sandals have since gone on to experiment with sneaker-like structures, suggesting a boundary-pushing spirit underlying their meticulous leather craftsmanship. Employing the latest advancements in environmentally-conscious production while concurrently recontextualizing the legacy of the huarache, the brand’s effortless balance of modernity and tradition has taken their beachcomber aesthetic to unexpected places.
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