The unofficial shoe of summer is pretty basic in construction: a Y-shaped strap keeps your toes connected to a simple sole, often a foamy rubber material. But there’s more to the shoe than meets the eye—to find out what we mean, read on for 6 peculiar facts about the flip flop.
It All Started 6,000 Years Ago
Would you believe that flip flop style shoes have been en vogue since 4,000 B.C.? According to multiple preserved murals, that’s at least how long flip flops have been in existence.
Flip flops have been worn across the globe and throughout history. Egyptians constructed their flip flop style sandals using papyrus and palm leaves, while wood was the material of choice in India. Rice straw was used in China and Japan, and the Masai of Africa opted for rawhide flip flops. The British museum displays a pair dating back to 1,500 B.C.—the definition of timeless fashion!
From Zori to California Cool
The flip flop as we know it today is modeled off the Japanese zōri: many US soldiers returned from World War II with these shoes, and the rest of the country jumped on board with the trend. If the word “zori” sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of slipping your soles into a pair of our Men’s Printed Zori Sandals. By the 1960’s, the shoes were part of the unofficial Californian uniform—suddenly available in bright colors and patterns, and a must-have for treading along the sandy beach.
What’s a Jandal?
Don’t blush—“thong” is just another word for flip flop, a term you’re likely to encounter in Australia. This simple shoe goes by many monikers: jandals (short for Japanese sandals), slops, tsinelas, chinelos, and slippers are just a few of names you might come across worldwide.
One of the most popular flip flop producers world-wide is the Brazalian company, Havaianas. They produced their first pair of flip flops back in 1962—today, the company sells more than 150 million pairs of sandals every year!
A Casual Debate
Flip flops are associated with a more casual dress code, but glossed up versions with rhinestones and sparkles exist—many brides even opt to switch out their stilettos for “bridal” flip flops, when it comes time to hit the dance floor. You can find flip flops in just about every variation you can imagine, even animal print!
But the sandals might be too casual for some. You might remember this saga from 2005: a group of women from the Northwestern University lacrosse team visited the White House, donning (gasp!) flip flops. There was a minor outcry from the public—the athletes responded by auctioning off the now infamous flip flops online, raising funds for a friend battling cancer.
Not everyone is a fan of flip flops: they are the bane of many a podiatrist’s existence. Flip flops don’t offer much foot support, which can result in overpronation, flat feet, tendonitis, blisters, ankle sprains and even broken bones. Here’s what you can do to keep your feet happy: avoid wearing flip flops for extended periods—if you’re going on a long walk, opt for something with more support. Opt for flip flops that have thick-cushioned soles and that are made with a higher-quality material, like our ladies striped thong.