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Flip Flops: A Global Love Story

Posted by Christal Earle on

Footwear has a fascinating and wild history. By far, the most enduring style of all is our beloved flip flop. In fact, it's a love story that’s been more than 6000 years in the making.

The earliest evidence of humans wearing flip flops can be found in ancient Egyptian murals dated back to 4000 B.C.

However, that’s just when they got caught on camera ;)  I am sure they were around much longer than that.

Through the centuries, we have done every possible thing to make them unique in our quest for personal expression. The humble flip flop was even able to become a symbol of wealthy, being bejeweled and elevated with the fashionistas of history.

Made from all imaginable materials, the flip flop has seen it all. Wood, rubber, straw, leather, suede, plastic, fabric, twine, even the yucca plant has been known to be transformed into a flip flop.


There is no corner of the earth where this little shoe hasn’t shown up with spunk and utility.

In our little corner of the world, we know it as a the “flip flop” because their name is an English onamatopoeia (a word the phonetically suggests the sound that something makes). However, this sweet little shoe has many other terms of endearment around the world:

  • Jandals (New Zealand)
  • Thongs (Australia...but just to be clear, a thong is something very different on the beach where we live!)
  • Zoris(Japan)
  • Dép xỏ ngón (Vietnam...try to say that one fast!)
  • Chinelos (Brazil)
  • Slippers (Hawaii, Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago, and Christal’s neighbour, Eric)
  • Sayonares (Greece)
  • Infradito (Italy)
  • Vietnamki (Russia and Ukraine)

We know the flip flop now as the "between-the-toe-thingy" that goes between the big toe and the second toe. However, even that has been left open for debate throughout the major civilizations of time. In ancient Rome, the strap was between the second and third toes. In ancient Mesopotamia, they even went so far as to put them between the third and the fourth toes!


The Indians, however, have perhaps been the most ingenious: they simply didn’t bother with the straps. Instead, they put a knob between the first and second toes and called them Padukas.


Whatever you want to call them, we call them the first thing you want to slide your feet into on your way out the door and the last thing you take off as you slip between the covers at night.


So, cheers to you, flip flops. Thanks for filling our childhood with memories and laughter, for filling our adult years with comfort and for being the one thing we always know will fit our feet.


We truly heart you, flip flops. 

#soulsinbravesoles fashion sandals shoes

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