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Flip-flop

Flip-flop

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Flip-flops, thongs, Japanese sandal
Sandal
Sandals are an open type of outdoor footwearSandal may also refer to:* Sandal Castle, site of the Battle of Wakefield in the Wars of the Roses* Sandal, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England* Sandal, Afghanistan* Šandal, village in Slovakia...

s
, or jandals are an open type of outdoor footwear, consisting of a flat sole held loosely on the foot by a Y-shaped strap, like a thin thong, that passes between the first (big) and second toes and around either side of the foot. Flip-flops may also be held to the foot with a single strap over the front of the foot rather than a thong.

History



The traditional woven soled Japanese zōri
Zori
are flat and thonged Japanese sandals made of rice straw or other plant fibers, cloth, lacquered wood, leather, rubber, or—increasingly—synthetic materials...

 had been used as beach wear in the South Pacific since the 1930s. In the post war period in both New Zealand and America, versions were briefly popularized by servicemen returning from occupied Japan. The idea of making sandals from plastics did not occur for another decade.

The latest design was invented in Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 by Morris Yock in the 50s and patented in 1957 . However, this claim has recently been contested by the children of John Cowie. John Cowie was an England-raised businessman who started a plastics manufacturing business in Hong Kong after the war. His children claim that it was Cowie that started manufacturing a plastic version of the sandals in the late 1940s and that Yock was just a New Zealand importer. The children also say that their father claimed to have invented the name "jandal" from a shortened form of "Japanese Sandal". John Cowie and his family emigrated to New Zealand in 1959.

Despite 'jandal' being commonly used in New Zealand to describe any manufacturer's brand, the word Jandal is actually a trademark since 1957, for a long time owned by the Skellerup
Skellerup
Skellerup is a New Zealand-based manufacturer of industrial and agricultural rubber products. The company, then called Para Rubber Company, was founded by George Skellerup in 1910 when he opened his first retail store in Christchurch and now has employs over 800 people in New Zealand, Australia,...

 company. In countries other than New Zealand, jandals are known by other names. In Australia they are known as thongs. The first pair were manufactured there by Skellerup rival Dunlop
Dunlop Sport (Australia)
Dunlop Sport is a division of Pacific Brands of Australia. The company is not connected to Sports Direct, which owns rights to the Dunlop brand outside Australia and New Zealand.Dunlop Australia first manufactured sandshoes in 1924...

 in 1959. Thongs became popular there after being worn by the Australian Olympic swimming team at the Melbourne Olympic Games
1956 Summer Olympics
The 1956 Melbourne Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in Melbourne, Australia, in 1956, with the exception of the equestrian events, which could not be held in Australia due to quarantine regulations...

 in 1956. In the UK and U.S. they are most commonly known as flip-flops.

Flip-flops may have been familiar in the United States in the mid-19th century. An 1861 letter to the editor of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

mentioned poorly equipped troops in the Seventh Regiment Volunteers
7th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
The 7th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It is also known as the Steuben Guard or the Steuben Regiment.-Service:...

 wearing "flip-flaps": "The men were not in uniform, but very poorly dressed, — in many cases with flip-flap shoes. The business-like air with which they marched rapidly through the deep mud of the Third-avenue was the more remarkable." Later the letter reads: "The men have not yet been supplied with shoes, and yet still march flip-flop. Why?" The letter does not describe the men's shoes in detail, so it is not clear whether it is referring to footwear of the flip-flop style, or perhaps to the poor state of their shoes.

Flip-flops now come in a variety of shoe styles other than the traditional flat sandal, such as women's heels, slides, and wedges.

Uses and fashions



Flip-flops are a common type of footwear. They are a thin rubber sole with two straps running in a Y shape from the sides of the foot to the gap between the big toe and its neighbour. The popular use of flip-flops as beach or outdoor wear has spread through much of the world, although it is most common in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 (where it is immensely popular and is called a Hawaii chappal), Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, UK, USA, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, the Pacific Islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

, and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

In most developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

, rubber flip-flops are the cheapest footwear available, often costing less than a dollar. Measures have been made to reduce cost, such as making them out of recycled tires. Because of their low cost they are very widely used in these countries as typical footwear instead of as fashion wear. Despite their disposable design, street vendors will repair worn sandals for a small fee.

However, in many developed countries flip-flops are typically treated as annual or seasonal, short lasting footwear. Depending on the material makeup of the shoe, some pairs of flip-flops last a year or less. The strap between the toes can snap after moderate use, and although this problem can be solved by using replacement straps that are easily "snapped" into the flip-flop, most people in developed countries do not bother to repair flip-flops because they are very inexpensive and easily replaced.

These disposal habits may pose an environmental problem because most flip-flops are made with polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

, which comes from crude oil. This material is a number seven resin and cannot usually be recycled in small amounts. Because of growing environmental concerns, some companies have begun to sell flip-flops made from recycled inner tubes or car tires, as well as sustainable materials like hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

, cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 and coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

.

Flip-flops are also popular with those who enjoy being barefoot but need to wear shoes, since they allow the foot to be out in the open but still constitute a shoe
Shoe
A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function...

 for wear in places such as restaurants or on city streets, and can be quickly and easily removed. They are also popular because they are easy to carry and come in an assortment of colors and patterns.

On July 19, 2005, some members of Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....

's national champion women's lacrosse team
Northwestern Wildcats women's lacrosse
The Northwestern Wildcats Women's Lacrosse Team is a NCAA Division I college lacrosse team representing Northwestern University as part of the American Lacrosse Conference. The team began competition at the varsity level in 1982, operated as a club sport from 1993 to 2001, and resumed play at the...

 were criticized for wearing "flip-flops" to the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 to meet with President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. The women pointed out that their shoes were not "beach shoes," but were dressier thong sandals.

Safety concerns


Some flip-flops have a spongy sole, so when the foot hits the ground, it rolls inward and the sponge allows it to roll even more than usual. This is known as overpronation and causes many problems in the foot. Each time a foot hits the ground, the arch is supposed to be locked to absorb shock. But during overpronation, the arch opens and releases this locking mechanism, leading to problems such as pain in the heel, the arch, the toes and in the forefoot. Overpronation of the foot also results in flat feet, especially if flip-flops are worn throughout childhood and adolescence when the muscles, bones, and tendons of the feet are growing and developing. Exacerbating this, some flip-flops force a person to overuse the tendons in the foot, which can cause tendinitis.

Ankle sprains are also common due to stepping off a curb or stepping wrong; the ankle bends, but the flip flop neither holds on to nor supports it. The open nature of flip-flops also makes the wearer more susceptible to stubbed toes, and exposes the foot to the environment. The toe grip can be useful for preventing the foot from slipping forward in a convenient sandal, but flip-flops with bands across higher areas of the foot or the arch are recommended for support and keeping the shoe on the foot. Thong sandals are also popular with the same proportions and structures of flip-flops, but with the addition of a slingback or an ankle strap that holds and supports the foot in a stable position. Arch support is also found in many more expensive and better made flip-flops rather than the ubiquitous foam materials. Spending more on a better quality, better created shoe can influence the wearer's health and safety. Such shoes are also more commonly endowed with rubberized soles and better cushions.

In 2008, Auburn University
Auburn University
Auburn University is a public university located in Auburn, Alabama, United States. With more than 25,000 students and 1,200 faculty members, it is one of the largest universities in the state. Auburn was chartered on February 7, 1856, as the East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts...

 researchers found that wearing thong-style flip-flops can result in sore feet, ankles and legs. The research team, who presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in 2008, found that flip-flop wearers took shorter steps and that their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than when the same walkers wore athletic shoes. When wearing flip-flops, the study participants did not bring their toes up as much during the leg’s swing phase, resulting in a larger ankle angle and shorter stride length, possibly because they tended to grip the flip-flops with their toes. This repeated motion can result in problems from the foot up into the hips.

Regional names


In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, flip-flops are referred to as "chappal." Along the east coast of the US flip-flops are sometimes referred to as zories. They are known as jandals in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, thongs in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Plakkies and slip-slops (or just slops) in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and go-aheads in the South Pacific. In parts of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 they are known as clam diggers because of the way they flip sand on a beach. In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 called chinelo, sandália or Havaianas. In the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 they are mostly called tsinelas. In Hawaii
Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

  and several other places around the world, they are commonly called slipper
Slipper
A slipper or houseshoe is a semi-closed type of indoor/outdoor shoe, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by a strap running over the toes or instep. Slippers are soft and lightweight compared to other types of footwear. They are mostly made of soft or comforting materials that allow a...

s
.
In Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 they are known as sayonares (σαγιονάρες), probably from the Japanese word sayōnara, that means goodbye, because of their Japanese origin.
In Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 they are commonly called japonki which indicates their Japanese origin. In Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 they are sometimes called lapti. Americans call them flip-flops.

Manufacturing


In recent years, most mass production
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 of flip-flops has moved to developing countries with affordable labor costs. Brands manufacturing in Brazil include Havaianas (São Paulo Alpargatas), Ipanema
Ipanema
For other uses, see Ipanema . For the British rock band, see Ipanema .Ipanema is a neighborhood located in the southern region of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, between Leblon and Arpoador...

 and Musewear, and in the United States include Craabs (based in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

) and Island Slipper.(based in Pearl City, HI)

Socks



In Japan tabi
Tabi
are traditional Japanese socks. Ankle-high and with a separation between the big toe and other toes, they are worn by both men and women with zori, geta, and other traditional thonged footwear. Tabi are also essential with traditional clothing—kimono and other wafuku as well as being worn by...

 are a traditional sock with a slot for the thong, and toe socks
Toe socks
Toe socks are socks that have been knitted so that each toe is individually encased the same way as fingers within a glove....

(with separate compartments for each toe) also mate with flip-flops.