Flip-Flops are named for the flapping sound and motion the minimalist sandals make as a person walks in them. Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary notes 1600 as the first known year of use of the word “flip-flop” (the repeated sound of something loose), but the shoe dates back to ancient Egypt. Flip-flops became popular in the US after WWII, when American soldiers brought back the y-thonged footwear from Japan. The design of the original Japanese “zōri” shoe changed in the American tradition, moving from a wooden, squarish base to a foam rubber oval sole and to a plastic rather than a silk thong strap.
One of the best parts about flip-flops is the ease of customizing them. A fun graduation party favor is a pair of flip-flops in the school’s colors along with supplies like strips of bandana, friendship-bracelet threads, glue and small beads. The y-strap also pops out easily and can be replaced with a length of soft fabric like a silk scarf or strip of cotton in bright patterns. Take out the original strap and thread the fabric through the holes. Knot off the ends. If the sole does not lie flat due to the knots, carefully carve out a little of the foam sole to accommodate the extra bulk. Kids can get surprisingly creative designing their own flip-flops. Check out various crafting sites for some ideas.
Perfect for shuffling out to the patio or poolside, flip-flops are great to keep by the patio door for quick jaunts out into the warm summer sun, because sometimes that sun can make that pool deck a tad too toasty for sensitive toes. A pair of flip-flops sitting in the direct sun can get hot, too, but they can be dipped in the pool or hosed down to cool them off. The lightning-quick convenience of the sandal makes them irresistible for running errands around town. Nowadays it’s common to hear the tell-tale flap coming up behind you in the grocery aisle.
When buying flip-flops, make sure to get a pair that will cover the entire sole of the foot. Check the comfort of the y-strap. A few extra pairs for guests to borrow are always a nice hospitable touch. Keep them by the patio door or tied with decorative ribbon in a basket by the pool. Guests appreciate this simple, spa-inspired gesture. Grab several inexpensive pairs at the dollar store in various colors and sizes, and you’ll always be covered for even the hottest summer days in the sun.