Sunday, December 6, 2015

About Flip Flops

Whether you call them flip flops, thongs, slippers or slides, the simple flat footwear of summer is a worldwide phenomenon. Hundreds of styles in hundreds of colors means that there are flip flops for any occasion and taste. Some brides will even wear the comfortable footwear under their wedding dresses. Because they are cheap and easy to slide on and off, flip flops are a key part of any wardrobe for men, women and kids.


    Flip flops are a thong sandal that consist of a flat rubber sole and a thong strap that holds the sole to the foot. The strap is a simple Y-shape that allows the big toe and the second toe to grasp it, keeping the rubber sole close to the front of the foot. The name "flip flop" likely came from the flippy sound that the rubber sole makes when you walk in them. As the back of the sole hits the foot, you can hear a distinct popping sound.


    Flip flops have their origin in thousands of years of thong sandals throughout the cultures of Asia. The Chinese and Japanese used thong sandals for centuries, and Japanese sandals called "zori" featured straps that went between the first and second toe. The modern flip flop was perfected as New Zealand beachwear by Morris Yock, who filed for the patent in 1957. The footwear became instantly popular when flip flops were worn by the Australian Olympic swim team in 1956. The name "flip flop" is a brand name (protected by trademark) of a German manufacturing company, but the name has evolved to encompass any inexpensive rubber thong sandal.


    Rubber flip flops are some of the least expensive footwear in the world. They are intended to be convenient and taken on and off quickly. They work well at the beach or as a quick slip-on shoe to step outside with. Because they are cheap, disposable and waterproof, many people choose to use them in communal showers (such as a gym) or as indoor shoes in cultures where it is proper to leave shoes in the doorway, such as in Japan.


    Because flip flops provide no arch support or ankle support, many podiatrists feel that they are the cause of foot-related problems for people who wear them a lot. Because there is little support and the front of the foot must clench unnaturally to keep the thong in place, it can cause the wearer to walk in ways that stress the feet, ankles and legs. Beyond that, the shoes are loose and open, causing lots of sprained ankles and stubbed toes due to the slipping and sliding of the rubber sole.


    Flip flops are the source of several fashion controversies. They are considered too casual for many events, even more so than open toed shoes or sandals. There was a minor uproar with the national championship Northwestern Women's Lacrosse team when they were invited to the White House to meet President George W. Bush. In the group photo, several of the players are seen wearing flip flops, a serious breech of fashion etiquette. In such a formal situation, open toed shoes are considered inappropriate and flip flops are simply not acceptable. Critics pointed out how the flip flops at the White House were evidence of the cultural shift to less formal fashion and a disregard for traditional fashion rules.

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