Flip-Flops Are Not Just For the Beach, My Friends

Summer time is fast approaching (despite the rain I’ve got in my neck of the woods), and my thoughts are turning longing toward my comfort “around town” and “on the beach” shoe of choice: the flip flop sandal. My husband despises the flip flop sandal, with its casual revelation of almost the entire foot. Not to mention the “slap-slap” sound it makes as I walk. But….my love for the flip-flob continues

The flip flop is arguably the oldest shoe in the world. It has stood the test of time, and is the best selling type of shoe in the world. Flip flop sandals can be seen everywhere, from the streets of New Zealand to the beaches of the French Riviera and everywhere in between. They range in look from utterly simple to more elaborate, dressy varieties.

Simple construction of flip flop sandals

The simplest — and cheapest — construction of flip flop sandals use rubber as the material of choice. A thin rubber sole is cut out and manufactured, and then two thin straps are attached. These straps are placed on the sandal so that they are between the big toe and the second toe. These straps can be made of rubber as well. Sometimes, the Y shaped straps are connected at the base, and then spread out into two separate straps. Sometimes, the straps truly are separate. The straps are usually anchored somewhere at the bottom of the flip flop sandal. On thicker soled flip flop sandals, the straps are anchored at the bottom of a top piece and then a bottom sole cushions the whole. In developing countries, rubber flip flop sandals are most popular, since they are very inexpensive. And, of course, in most developed countries, flip flop sandals are a favorite on the beach or on a casual day out.

Dress flip flop sandals

But flip flops have moved beyond casual and beach wear. Now there are dressy flip flop sandals (some makers of nylon hose stockings have started adding gaps so that they can be worn with dress flip flop sandals). These dressy sandals are made with different materials: hemp straps, patent leather parts, suede, metallic looking parts and other materials that take the flip flop sandal beyond rubber. Additionally, some dress sandals include embellishments of jewels, buckles and beads. In their dressy incarnation, these sandals are rarely referred to as “flip flops.” But even though they are becoming more popular as dress shoes, flip flop sandals are getting some bad press. Remember when some of the girls from the Northwestern Women’s Lacrosse team wore flip flop dress sandals to visit the White House? Lamentations on the order of the end of Western civilization ensued.

While I wouldn’t wear flip flop sandals as dress or formal wear, I still find them quite comfortable. And I have no problem with women who want to wear them. But they do still seem a little too…casual…for my taste. But I can’t wait to hit the beach with my flip flop sandals!

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