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Now and Then: Flip-Flop Slippers

When summer comes along, so do the flip-flop slippers. It’s a great choice to allow yourself to ditch the socks and let your feet breathe when the temperature rises. But did you that it has such a rich history?


Sandals in Ancient Times

Before any form of a slipper was made, the ancient sandals use the Y-thong that flip-flop slippers are known for. These were traced back to origins in 4000BC, even though the oldest surviving pair comes from 1500BC (it is currently on display in the British Museum). This certain pair is made of papyrus. However, since the form of footwear was widely used across the world during this time, many have found other materials to make them with. Papyrus and palm leaves were used in Egypt; rawhide in Africa; wood and rice straw in China and Japan. From all of these versions, it’s the Japanese one that caused the birth of the flip-flop slipper.


The Japanese Zori

The design of a flip-flop slipper is very simple: it’s just a flat footbed with a Y-Shaped thong. But the very first appearance of such a design was actually in Japan. This was in the form of the zori. It’s a traditional footwear that is still used today in Japan. Mainly, it’s used to teach children how to walk.


During World War II, American soldiers discovered this and decided to bring some home as souvenirs.


Arrival in America and Manufacturing in Hong Kong

Once it reached America, it wasn’t long before the Americans started to recreate them. They sold these under the name “jandals”, which was basically a wordplay with “Japan” and “sandals”. This was marketed as slippers for women to be worn along with their housecoats. Then a businessman named John Cowie started to manufacture them in Hong Kong. Here, he made rubber versions, which were ultimately cheaper. Because of the affordability and the bright colors that these came in, it quickly became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. In the latter year, it became a staple wear in California, where there is a strong beach lifestyle.


Flip-Flop Slippers Today

The use of flip-flop slippers today have become so popular that it is actually met with mixed feedback. While it is used by all ages for casual events, they are also seen being used in dressier occasions. The younger generations feel like this is fine, while the older generations view it as a sign of disrespect and laziness. While the debate is still ongoing, dressier versions of the footwear have been made, such as bedazzled versions and high heel versions. This is probably these are beginning to make appearances at formal events.


Key Takeaway

Whether it’s in the ancient times or the current day, flip-flop slippers are truly a product that has stood the test of time. Because of the convenience and comfort it brings, it’s the first choice anyone would have when they want to take a simple walk or go to a casual gathering. The use of it informal events is questionable.

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