Flip-flops

Last updated
Havaianas flip flops being worn Flip flops.png
Havaianas flip flops being worn

Flip-flops are a type of sandal, typically worn as a form of casual wear. They consist of a flat sole held loosely on the foot by a Y-shaped strap known as a toe thong that passes between the first and second toes and around both sides of the foot or can be a hard base with a strap across all the toes (these can also be called sliders).

Contents

This style of footwear has been worn by the people of many cultures throughout the world, originating as early as the ancient Egyptians in 1,500 B.C.

In the United States the flip-flop descends from the Japanese zōri, which became popular after World War II as soldiers brought them back from Japan. They became popular unisex summer footwear [1] starting in the 1960s.

Etymology

The term flip-flop has been used in American and British English since the 1960s to describe the thong or no-heel-strap sandal. It is an onomatopoeia of the sound made by the sandals when walking in them. [2] They are called thongs (sometimes pluggers [3] ) in Australia, [4] jandals (originally a trademarked name derived from "Japanese sandals") in New Zealand, [5] slops or “visplakkies” in South Africa [6] and Zimbabwe, and tsinelas or step-in in the Philippines (or, in some Visayan localities, "smagol", from the word smuggled).

This footwear has a number of other names around the world. The Japanese wear similarly designed, traditional straw sandals known as zōri. [7] Throughout the world, they are known by a variety of other names, including dép tông or dép xỏ ngón in Vietnam, chinelos in Brazil, japonki in Poland, dacas in Somalia, sayonares (σαγιονάρες) in Greece, slippers in Hawaii, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands, infradito in Italy, djapanki (джапанки) in Bulgaria,"charlie wote" in Ghana, "japanke" in Croatia and vietnamki in Russia and Ukraine, yezenes in Latvia. They were introduced by Bata in India under the brand name Hawaii slippers and are extremely popular throughout the country. [6] [8]

History

Pair of leather thong sandals from the New Kingdom of Egypt (ca. 1550-1307 BC) Egyptian - Pair of Leather Sandals - Walters 73110.jpg
Pair of leather thong sandals from the New Kingdom of Egypt (ca. 1550–1307 BC)
Havaianas thong (flip-flop) vending machine in Sydney, Australia Flip fop vending machine.jpg
Havaianas thong (flip-flop) vending machine in Sydney, Australia
Anatomy of a sandal Anatomy of Sandals.svg
Anatomy of a sandal
Tabi Flip-Flops socks.jpg
Tabi

Thong sandals have been worn for thousands of years, dating back to pictures of them in ancient Egyptian murals from 4,000 BC. A pair found in Europe was made of papyrus leaves and dated to be approximately 1,500 years old. These early versions of flip-flops were made from a wide variety of materials. Ancient Egyptian sandals were made from papyrus and palm leaves. The Masai of Africa made them out of rawhide. In India, they were made from wood. In China and Japan, rice straw was used. The leaves of the sisal plant were used to make twine for sandals in South America, while the natives of Mexico used the yucca plant. [9]

The Ancient Greeks and Romans wore versions of flip-flops as well. In Greek sandals, the toe strap was worn between the first and second toes, while Roman sandals had the strap between the second and third toes. These differ from the sandals worn by the Mesopotamians, with the strap between the third and fourth toes. In India, a related chappal ("toe knob") sandal was common, with no straps but a small knob sitting between the first and second toes. They are known as Padukas. [10]

The modern flip-flop became popular in the United States as soldiers returning from World War II brought Japanese zōri with them. It caught on in the 1950s during the postwar boom and after the end of hostilities of the Korean War. As they became adopted into American popular culture, the sandals were redesigned and changed into the bright colors that dominated 1950s design. [11] They quickly became popular due to their convenience and comfort, and were popular in beach-themed stores and as summer shoes. [12] During the 1960s, flip-flops became firmly associated with the beach lifestyle of California. As such, they were promoted as primarily a casual accessory, typically worn with shorts, bathing suits, or summer dresses. As they became more popular, some people started wearing them for dressier or more formal occasions. [10]

In 1962, Alpargatas marketed a version of flip-flops known as Havaianas in Brazil. By 2010, more than 150 million pairs of Havaianas were produced each year. [13] Flip-flops quickly became popular as casual footwear of young adults. Girls would often decorate their flip-flops with metallic finishes, charms, chains, beads, rhinestones, or other jewelry. [14] High-end flip-flops made of leather or sophisticated synthetic materials are commonly worn in place of sneakers or loafers as the standard, everyday article of casual footwear, particularly among teenagers and young adults, although it is not unusual to see older people wearing playful, thick-soled flip-flops in brilliant colors. Platform and high-heel variants began to appear in the 1990s. [15] [16] [17] [18]

A minor controversy erupted in 2005 when some members of Northwestern University's national champion women's lacrosse team visited the White House wearing flip-flops. The team responded to critics by auctioning off their flip-flops on eBay, raising $1,653 USD for young cancer patient, Jaclyn Murphy of Hopewell Junction, New York, who was befriended by the team. [19] There is still a debate over whether this signaled a fundamental change in American culture many youth feel that flip-flops are dressier and can be worn in a variety of social contexts, while older generations feel that wearing them at formal occasions signifies laziness and comfort over style. [10] In 2011, while vacationing in his native Hawaii, Barack Obama became the first President of the United States to be photographed wearing a pair of flip-flops. [20] [21] The Dalai Lama of Tibet is also a frequent wearer of flip-flops and has met with several U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, while wearing the sandals. [22] [23]

While exact sales figures for flip-flops are difficult to obtain due to the large number of stores and manufacturers involved, the Atlanta-based company Flip Flop Shops claimed that the shoes were responsible for a $20 billion industry in 2009. Furthermore, sales of flip-flops exceeded those of sneakers for the first time in 2006. If these figures are accurate, it is remarkable considering the low cost of most flip-flops. [24]

Design and custom

Flip-flops have a very simple design, consisting of a sole with a strap passing between the big and second toes. Havaianas.jpg
Flip-flops have a very simple design, consisting of a sole with a strap passing between the big and second toes.

The modern flip-flop has a very simple design, consisting of a thin rubber sole with two straps running in a Y shape from the sides of the foot to the gap between the big toe and the one beside it. They typically do not have a strap around the heel, although heeled varieties are available, as well as flip-flops designed for sports, which come with added support common to athletic shoes, with the thong between the toes. Most modern flip-flops are inexpensive, costing as little as $5 USD, or less in some parts of the world. [10]

They are made from a wide variety of materials, as were the ancient thong sandals. The modern sandals are made of more modern materials, such as rubber, foam, plastic, leather, suede, and even fabric. [10] Thongs made of polyurethane have caused some environmental concerns; because polyurethane is a number 7 resin, they can't be easily discarded, and they persist in landfills for a very long time. [25] In response to these concerns, some companies have begun selling flip-flops made from recycled rubber, such as that from used bicycle tires, or even hemp, [26] and some offer a recycling program for used flip flops. [27]

Because of the strap between the toes, flip-flops are typically not worn with socks. In colder weather, however, some people wear flip-flops with toe socks. [28] The Japanese commonly wear tabi, a type of sock with a single slot for the thong, with their zōri. [29]

Health and medical implications and injuries

While flip-flops do provide the wearer with some mild protection from hazards on the ground, such as hot sand at the beach, glass, thumb tacks or even fungi and wart-causing viruses in locker rooms or community pools, their simple design is responsible for a host of other injuries of the foot and lower leg. [30]

Walking for long periods in flip-flops can be very tough on the feet, resulting in pain in the ankles, legs, and feet. [31] A 2009 study at Auburn University found that flip-flop wearers took shorter steps and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than those wearing athletic shoes. [32] [33] [34] Individuals with flat feet or other foot issues are advised to wear a shoe with better support. [35]

The lack of support provided by thong sandals is thought by some to be a major cause of injuries. Some flip-flops have a spongy sole, causing the foot to roll further inward than normal when it hits the ground (over-pronation). Flip-flops can cause a person to overuse the tendons in their feet, resulting in tendonitis. [36]

Ankle sprains or broken bones are also common injuries, due to stepping off a curb or tumbling; the ankle bends, but the flip-flop neither holds on to nor supports it. [36] The straps of the flip-flop may cause frictional issues, such as rubbing, during walking. The open-toed nature of the thongs may result in cuts, scrapes, bruises, or stubbed toes. [37] Despite all of these issues, flip-flops do not have to be avoided completely. Many podiatrists recommend avoiding the inexpensive, drug store varieties and spending more on sandals with thick-cushioned soles, as well as ones that have a strap that's not canvas and that comes back almost to the ankle. [38]

See also

Related Research Articles

Shoe Type of footwear

A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration and fashion. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function. Additionally, fashion has often dictated many design elements, such as whether shoes have very high heels or flat ones. Contemporary footwear in the 2010s varies widely in style, complexity and cost. Basic sandals may consist of only a thin sole and simple strap and be sold for a low cost. High fashion shoes made by famous designers may be made of expensive materials, use complex construction and sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars a pair. Some shoes are designed for specific purposes, such as boots designed specifically for mountaineering or skiing.

Footwear Garments worn on feet

Footwear refers to garments worn on the feet, which originally serves to purpose of protection against adversities of the environment, usually regarding ground textures and temperature. Footwear in the manner of shoes therefore primarily serves the purpose to ease the locomotion and prevent injuries. Secondly footwear can also be used for fashion and adornment as well as to indicate the status or rank of the person within a social structure. Socks and other hosiery are typically worn additionally between the feet and other footwear for further comfort and relief.

Boot type of footwear extending above the ankle joint

A boot, plural boots, is a type of specific footwear. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle, while some also cover some part of the lower calf. Some boots extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials. Boots are worn both for their functionality – protecting the foot and leg from water, extreme cold, mud or hazards or providing additional ankle support for strenuous activities with added traction requirements, or may have hobnails on their undersides to protect against wear and to get better grip; and for reasons of style and fashion.

<i>Tabi</i> Japanese sock with split toe

Tabi (足袋) are traditional Japanese socks worn with thonged footwear dating back to the 15th century.

Clog thick-soled protective footwear made of wood

Clogs are a type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Clogs are used worldwide and although the form may vary by culture, within a culture the form often remained unchanged for centuries.

Slipper light footwear made for indoor wear, generally without means of fastening

Slippers are light footwear that are easy to put on and off and are intended to be worn indoors, particularly at home.

<i>Zōri</i> flat, thonged Japanese sandal

Zōri (草履) are flat and thonged Japanese sandals made of rice straw or cloth, lacquered wood, leather, rubber, or, most commonly, synthetic materials.

<i>Geta</i> (footwear) traditional Japanese wooden footwear

Geta (下駄) are a form of traditional Japanese footwear that resemble clogs and flip-flops. They are a kind of sandal with an elevated wooden base held onto the foot with a fabric thong to keep the foot well above the ground.

<i>Waraji</i> Japanese sandals

Waraji (草鞋) are sandals made from straw rope that in the past were the standard footwear of the common people in Japan.

Platform shoe footwear that consist of dense soles at least four inches in height

Platform shoes are shoes, boots, or sandals with an obvious thick sole, usually in the range of 3–10 cm (1–4 in). Platform shoes may also be high heels, in which case the heel is raised significantly higher than the ball of the foot. Extreme heights, of both the sole and heel, can be found in fetish footwear such as ballet boots, where the sole may be up to 20 cm (8 in) high, and the heels up to 40 cm (16 in) and more. The sole of a platform shoe can have a continuous uniform thickness, have a wedge, a separate block or a stiletto heel. Raising the ankle increases the risk of a sprained ankle.

Sandal Type of footwear with an open upper

Sandals are an open type of footwear, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by straps going over the instep and, sometimes, around the ankle. Sandals can also have a heel. While the distinction between sandals and other types of footwear can sometimes be blurry, the common understanding is that a sandal leaves all or most of the foot exposed. People may choose to wear sandals for several reasons, among them comfort in warm weather, economy, and as a fashion choice.

Slide (footwear) open-toed slip-on sandal

A slider is a form of footwear. They are backless and open-toed, essentially an open-toed mule. Slides can be high-heeled, flat-heeled or somewhere in between, and may cover nearly the entire foot from ankle to toe, or may have only one or two narrow straps. They usually include a single strap or a sequence of straps across the toes and the lower half of the foot to hold the shoe on the foot. The term is descriptive in that this shoe is easy to 'slide' on and off the foot when the wearer wants to do so. Slides do not have a “Y” shaped strap, like the flip flop. Slides are currently trending because of the desire for a more comfortable shoe that still allows participation in activities and sports.

Opanak traditional peasant shoes worn in Southeastern Europe

Opanci are traditional peasant shoes worn in Southeastern Europe. The attributes of the Opanci are: a construction of leather, lack of laces, durable, and various ending on toes. In Serbia, the design of the horn-like ending on toes indicates the region of origin. The Opanci are considered a national symbol of Serbia, and the traditional peasant footwear for people in the Balkan region.

Jutti Traditional and ethnic North Indian footwear

The jutti or Punjabi Jutti is a type of footwear common in North India and neighboring regions. They are traditionally made up of leather and with extensive embroidery, in real gold and silver thread as inspired by Indian royalty over 400 years ago. Prior to that, Rajputs of the northwest used to wear leather juttis. Now with changing times different juti with rubber soles are made available. Besides Punjabi jutti, there are various local styles as well. Today Amritsar and Patiala are important trade centers for handcrafted juttis, from where they are exported all over the world to Punjabi diaspora. Closely related to mojaris. Juttis have evolved into several localized design variations, even depending upon the shoemaker. However by large, they have no left or right distinction, and over time take the shape of the foot. They usually have flat sole, and are similar in design for both women and men, except for men they have a sharp extended tip, nokh curved upwards like traditional mustaches, and are also called khussa, and some women’s juttis have no back part, near the ankle. Even with changing times juttis have remained part of ceremonial attire, especially at weddings, the unembellished juttis are used for everyday use for both men and women in most of Punjab mostly called Jalsa Jutti which is blackish in color.

Toe socks

Toe socks are socks that have been knitted so that each toe is individually encased the same way as fingers within a glove.

Dress shoe

A dress shoe is a shoe to be worn at smart casual or more formal events. A dress shoe is typically contrasted to an athletic shoe.

Hnyat-phanat traditional sandal of Myanmar

Hnyat-phanat is a Burmese traditional sandal, similar to flip-flops. Although it refers to almost any sandal worn by the people of Myanmar, it is mostly used to refer to the traditional Mandalay velvet slippers that originate in Upper Burma (Myanmar).

Havaianas

Havaianas is a Brazilian brand of flip-flop sandals created and patented in 1962. It is currently owned by Brazilian manufacturing company Alpargatas S.A.. Inspired by Japanese zori sandals, Robert Fraser became the first to mass-produce flip-flops out of rubber. The name Havaianas is derived from the feminine form of the Portuguese word for "Hawaiians", and the pattern on the soles of the sandals is designed to resemble the straw soles of zori. Originally, all Havaianas featured white insoles with colored outsoles and straps. Because of their simplicity and low price, the sandals became popular with Brazil's lowest social classes.

Peshawari chappal

Peshawari Chappal is a traditional footwear of Pakistan, worn especially by Pashtuns in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. The shoe takes its name from the city of Peshawar, where it originates from, while chappal is the local word for flip-flops, or sandals. People in Peshawar -- the locals -- call the Peshawari Chappal Kherian. Peshawari Chappal is worn by men casually or formally, usually with the Shalwar Kameez dress. Because of its comfort, it is used in place of sandal or slipper in Pakistan.

Huarache (running shoe)

Huaraches are an open type of outdoor footwear, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by straps passing over the instep and around the ankle. The common understanding is that these sandals were a variant of traditional Mexican huaraches, the difference being in design and construction.

References

  1. "How and When Flip Flops Become A Popular Unisex Summer Footwear". Free Earth. 15 March 2017. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 19 Feb 2018.
  2. "Flip-Flop". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  3. https://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2016/01/australian-men-out-drinking-stop-thieves-after-robbery-interview-video
  4. "IT Pro - Information Technology News & Reviews".
  5. "Morris Yock trademarks the jandal". New Zealand History. 4 October 1957. Retrieved 22 Feb 2017.
  6. 1 2 Key, A.J. "Jandals, Thongs, Flip Flops & G-strings". Archived from the original on June 21, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  7. Richmond, Simon; Dodd, Jan; Branscombe, Sophie; Goss, Robert (February 2011). The Rough Guide to Japan. London: Rough Guides. ISBN   9781405389266.
  8. Ribeiro, Patricia (August 6, 2011). "Havaianas - Brazilian Flip Flops". About.com . Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  9. Kippen, Cameron (1999). The History of Footwear. Perth, Australia: Department of Podiatry, Curtin University of Technology.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 DeMello, Margo (2009). Feet and Footwear: A Cultural Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, LLC. pp. 130–131. ISBN   978-0-313-35714-5.
  11. "The History of Flip-Flops". Peche Blu. Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  12. Cullen, Ed (2006). Letter in a Woodpile. Nashville, Tennessee: Cool Springs Press. ISBN   1591862493.
  13. Cain, Kathryn (July 30, 2010). "The Timeline: Flip-flops". The Independent . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  14. Peterson, Amy T.; Kellogg, Ann T. (2008). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through American History 1900 to the Present. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 372. ISBN   978-0-313-35855-5.
  15. Jessica Booth (2018-08-28). "What high heels looked like the year you were born". Insider.
  16. Lauren Alexis Fisher (2019-04-15). "Steve Madden Is Trying to Make Its '90s Platform Flip Flops Happen Again". Harper's Bazaar.
  17. Liana Satenstein (2018-03-26). "Thong Heels—Spring's Sexiest Sandals—Are Back". Vogue.
  18. Emily Kirkpatrick (2019-08-11). "High-heeled flip-flops are back". New York Post.
  19. Ward, Julie (September 13, 2005). "Next big step in team spirit: Flip-flops". USA Today . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  20. "Appropriate? Obama Becomes First Flip-Flop President". Fox News . January 5, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  21. Fermino, Jennifer; Hurt, Charles. (January 5, 2011). "That's quite a feet! Bam first flip-flop president". New York Post . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  22. Lister, Richard (February 19, 2010). "Flip-flop diplomacy with the Dalai Lama". BBC News . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  23. Weisman, Jonathan; Canaves, Skye (February 18, 2010). "Dalai Lama Meets With Obama". Wall Street Journal . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  24. Bernhard, Blythe (June 18, 2009). "Flips-flops are bad for your sole". Seattle Times . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  25. Bloch, Michael. "Recycling Flip-Flops". Green Living Tips. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  26. Vasil, Adria (2007). Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services In Canada. Toronto: Random House Canada. ISBN   978-0-307-36613-9.
  27. "Flip-Flop Brigade". terracycle.com. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  28. Stoller, Debbie (2010). Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics. New York City: Workman Publishing Company. p. 186. ISBN   978-0-7611-3597-5.
  29. Sosnoski, Daniel (1996). Flip-Flop BrigadeIntroduction to Japanese Culture. Boston, Massachusetts: Charles E. Tuttle Publishing Company. p. 85. ISBN   0-8048-2056-2.
  30. Csomor, Marina (July 18, 2012). "Flip-flops present feet with a painful problem". CNN . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  31. Kam, Katherine. "Flip-Flops Fun but Beware of Foot Pain". WebMD. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  32. Shroyer, JF; Weimar, WH (2010). "Comparative analysis of human gait while wearing thong-style flip-flops versus sneakers". Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. 100 (4): 251–7. PMID   20660875.
  33. Shroyer, Justin F.; Robinson, Leah E.; Weimar, Wendi (August 27, 2009). Influence of thong flip‐flops on running kinematics in preschoolers (PDF). Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics. Penn State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 22, 2013.
  34. Shroyer, Justin (September 9, 2009). Influence of Various Thong Style Flip-flops on Gait Kinematics and Lower Leg Electromyography (PhD Thesis). Auburn, Alabama: Auburn University. pp. 31–52. hdl:10415/1905.
  35. Willingham, Val (August 6, 2010). "Flip-flops aren't always easy on the feet". CNN . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  36. 1 2 Yara, Susan (May 4, 2006). "Skip the Flip-Flops". Forbes . Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  37. Watson, Nicole (July 18, 2012). "Study: Comfortable flip-flops causing painful health risks". ABC Action News . Archived from the original on August 14, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  38. "Doctors Warn About Flip-Flops". Click2Houston.com. October 10, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2012.