Flip-Flops? Thongs? Jandals?

They’re a shoe so popular that even Jesus could be found fashionably sporting a pair while walking down the streets of Nazareth sometime around 15 AD. They’ve become synonymous with beaches and hot summers and can be found on the feet of almost everyone on earth. But it seems nobody can agree on the name of this fabulous floppy shoe.

In 1960’s U.K. and U.S., these fantastic fashion items were originally christened flip- flops. This is because of the distinctive sound they make when walking in them. Since then these deconstructed sand sneakers have been given a whole variety of names around the world.

In Australia, we call them thongs. That’s not because the bit you put your foot in resembles a g-string. Thong is an old English word that means ‘narrow strip of leather’. The original thong was a shoe that connects the foot to the sole with a narrow strip of leather. With Australia being an ex-English colony the word was imported.

In New Zealand, these fancy feet to floor separators are referred to as Jandals. This name came about in 1957 where Morris Yock and his son Anthony began manufacturing these ripper rubber pluggers in their garage. They created this famous footwear after seeing a similar shoe in Japan and dubbed them ‘Jandals,’ short for Japanese sandals. They quickly took off in the Kiwi isles and soon became the everyday vernacular for these summer saunterers.

The rest of the names for these hot sand hoppers don’t really have stories and are either a translation or like most words, have just developed over time. So to round them all up, here’s a list.

South Africa calls them Plakkies or Slops, they’re Zori’s in the U.S East Coast. In Texas, Clam Diggers. In Ghana, they’re Charlie Wote. In the Philippines sometimes they’re Tsinelas, sometimes they’re Smagol or sometimes just Step-In’s. Vietnam says Dép Tông, they’re Chinelos in Brazil. In Somalia they’re Dacas but Greece calls them Sayonares. Then in Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Russia respectively, they’re Japonki, Japanke, Djapanki or Vietnamki. In Italy, the wear Infraditos and in Malaysia they just call them Slippers.

No matter what you call them, these slip, slop, and slappers have been popular even before Egyptians started building those triangular tourist traps. Loved by all and perfect for almost any situation it’s certain that our favourite floppy footwear isn’t going away soon.

Get your new rubber land flippers from Shoemakers in Mentone.