Even though the term ‘flip flop’is less than fifty years old, the concept is actually centuries old. Indeed, they have been in existence for well over 6,000 years with one on display at the British Museum, reportedly made in 1500 BC. Its popularity has seemingly endured the test of time due to its easy going nature –just slip on and slip off, grab and go. Such simplicity may be one of the reasons why it is so easily taken for granted and why many people do not know or may not care about its long history and how it is linked to the development of the modern man.
The name actually comes from the sound the simple shoe makes as its soles slap against the bottom of your feet and the pavement. However, the informal nature of the name also has to do with the casual air with which they are worn. They are definitely the easiest pieces of footwear to get in and out of and can be worn almost anywhere that does not have a formal setting. It’s little wonder why it is such a big hit with kids and why Mottos flip flops for kids have been big business for years. As a matter of fact they take a decent share of the estimated $1.5 billion sandals industry and anticipate significant growth this year.
Going back to their history, the Egyptians are credited with starting the trend of thong strap sandals, footwear which was emulated, knowingly or unknowingly, by other cultures and civilizations. Back then, they were made from a number of materials including papyrus, palm leaves, wood, rawhide and even straw. Nowadays, the preferred materials are leather, leatherette, rubber and plastic. Moreover, the modern flip flop as we know it is merely an upgrade of a Japanese version of flip flops, called the zori, which became popular in the United States after World War II. Back then, they were linked to the beach lifestyle that existed in California but spread across the rest of the country as they got more popular. Since then, several companies and individuals have designed and sold their own versions of flip flops, ranging from the very flat and basic to high heeled, bejeweled thong strap sandals.
As it relates to the name ‘flip flop’, it is believed to have been coined in the 1970s as just another name for the popular footwear which has also been called Jandals (short for Japanese sandals), flats, slippers, thong sandals, zori, japonkis, slip slaps and chappals. The term “flip flops”, being onomatopoeic in nature, is by far the most popular, however.
Today, flip flops are more than just casual footwear that can be worn on the beach or for a stroll in the park. They are now genuine wardrobe items and can even command their own closets. Actress Halle Berry was recently reported as having over a hundred pair of flip flops and many other celebrities have confessed to having several pairs. Even though older folks might be conservative as it relates to where and when they wear flip flops, younger heads have been much more liberal and care free as to where they have dragged them. As a matter of fact, celebrities such as Charlize Theron have even worn them on the red carpet and it is not uncommon to find many managers and CEOs strutting around their offices, showing off their feet in flips flops.
With adults being such huge consumers of the popular footwear, it follows that kids would also take a huge interest in them. Flip flops for kids are in fact an entirely different market segment that has its own story steeped in fun and creativity. Even though there are standard, run of the mill flip flops for kids, most either come in bright and lively colors or have colorful characters etched on them or both. There are even flip flops for girls and boys with interchangeable charms that they can use to express themselves creatively.
Flip flops don’t seem to be going away anytime soon, especially since the summer of 2014 was seen to be the summer of flip flops. This was in large part due to the heat of the season which had some of the highest temperatures on record for a while. With kids being brought into the mix with some innovative and expressive versions of the flip flop, their popularity is expected to soar even higher in coming years.