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Why do Filipinos play basketball in tsinelas?

When it comes to the world of sports especially in the Philippines, basketball will always remain one of the top choices of every aspiring athlete. Not only does this sport open up a lot of opportunities for each player, but they instill in each and every athlete the discipline that it takes to be one of the best. In the Philippines, this sport can be played by anyone of all ages. All that’s left is to wear the right footwear for the sport which in the Philippines is the flip-flop, also known as step-in slippers.

The flip-flop, otherwise known as ‘tsinelas’ in Filipino, is perhaps the most common used footwear in the country. Take a look around your neighborhood and you will never fail to see a pair on every foot. It’s the ideal footwear for both indoors and outdoors; for the indoors, it keeps your feet clean and comfortable as well (apart from it being a handy weapon against cockroaches!); for the outdoors, it’s a nice, casual kind of footwear and its uses are as flexible as they go, including playing basketball.

playing basketball with tsinelas

(Original illustration by John Marc Ramirez)

That’s right. Slippers are worn by everyday basketball players on the court. While not seen as a glamorous and ideal type of footwear for something as taxing as basketball, it certainly beats having to put on actual rubber shoes. But, why exactly do Filipinos wear slippers when they play basketball? If you’re wondering the same thing, maybe the list below can help answer the question:

1.   They’re Affordable

As stylish practical shoes may be, they certainly do not come cheap. No matter which store you look at, the most affordable ones will most likely cost you around P2000. With slippers, you can just find them anywhere and their prices are definitely more affordable than shoes.

2.   They’re Convenient

With basketball and slippers, these two seem to mix well with Filipinos because of the convenience it offers. Since every Filipino household makes use of slippers, there are always nearby pairs for one to choose from and use, which makes a quick preparation to head into the court for a friendly game. Speaking of which…

3.   They’re Ideal for a friendly game of ball

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition in the world of sports, especially basketball. With slippers on your feet, you’re ready to conquer the court against totally random strangers. This is another great quirk for Filipinos: When one challenges another to a one-on-one anytime, then that person better get ready.

4.   They’re used in Other Games

While basketball is a staple choice of sport in the Philippines, there are other games that are just as well-known in the country. Incidentally, slippers can be worn while playing any of those. These games are tumbang preso, patintero, the Chinese garter, and the like.

5.   They’re good for the feet

Shoes were designed to protect your feet under any circumstances, especially when it comes to playing a sport like basketball. In the case of the sport, shoes specifically designed for basketball allow maximum comfort for players during any strenuous activity. While that may be the case, slippers are able to do just that as well.

Not only do they allow quicker movements and much dexterity amongst players, it allows the proper exposure of air for your feet, making it easier for you to move around.

Key Takeaway

When it comes to footwear, your pair of tsinelas is not to be underestimated. They may be vibrant and lightweight, but you’d be surprised at how much of a beast this is on the court.

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