In Australia, they call them “thongs”.
In Hawaii, they’re “slippers” and in Texas, they’re often known as “clam diggers”.
Wherever you’re from and whatever you call them, flip-flops are a common piece of beachwear and casual wear that you’ll find in the majority of US homes.
But there is still some confusion when it comes to wearing this laidback footwear, and we’ll address them in this guide.
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What are Flip Flops?
Flip-flops are a type of footwear made using a thin sole and some simple straps, with one of those straps slotting between the toes to hold them in place.
Only the front of the shoes are secured in place, which means the backs tend to lift and slap the soles of the feet as the wearer walks.
It makes a “flip-flop” slapping sound, and this is where the name comes from.
It’s an onomatopoeia, which is Greek for “name making” and is used to refer to words that are created by the sound of their action.
Flip-flops are relatively inexpensive and comfortable.
More importantly, they will keep your feet nice and cool during the summer.
When Were Flip Flops Invented?
Flip-flops are thought to have been invented around 4,000 BC, making them over 6,000 years old.
It’s a simple but effective design, requiring minimal stitching and materials while still keeping the foot protected.
The design of flip-flops changed over the centuries and while they were used by many Hellenic, North African, Italian, and Mesopotamian civilizations, the design changed a little.
The Romans, for instance, used a lot of leather straps to protect the feet and the Mesopotamians often placed the strap on the second or third toe, as opposed to the big toe.
Sandals vs Flip Flops
Flip-flops are a type of sandal and the two are very similar, but there are some key differences.
They both have thin soles and straps, and they are made from similar materials.
The main difference is that flip-flops have a supportive strap between two of the toes, often next to the big toe.
Sandals, on the other hand, expose all of the toes.
Is It Illegal To Drive In Flip Flops?
It is legal to drive inflip-flops in all 50 states.
You can also drive barefoot.
But it’s discouraged, as your feet don’t grip as easily and flip-flops can also get stuck underneath the pedals.
Generally speaking, you are more likely to have an accident wearing flip-flops than you are wearing more practical footwear.
Are Flip Flops Bad For Your Feet?
Flip-flops are fine for periodic use, such as relaxing on the beach, in your yard, or at home.
But they shouldn’t be worn over the long term.
They don’t provide much arch support and there is very limited cushioning.
As a result, you’re more likely to experience foot pain and tendinitis.
The risk of spraining your ankle is also greater when wearing flip-flops.
If you’re committed to wearing flip-flops but you’re worried about your feet, look for flip-flops with added cushioning and arch support, including Birkenstocks.
Can Flip-Flops Cause Knee and Back Pain?
Flip-flops can affect your gait and could increase the risk of knee pain.
You’d have to be using them a lot for this to happen, but the issue could also be exacerbated by preexisting conditions.
Studies also suggest that flip-flops can cause lower back pain.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, you need shoes that can support you, and flip-flops just don’t fit the bill.
Where To Buy Flip Flops?
You can buy flip-flops from Target, Amazon, and many other stores that sell outdoor clothing.
Amazon is one of the best options as you’ll get a low price and free shipping on a huge range of flip-flops.
How Are Flip Flops Supposed To Fit?
The “thong” part of aflip-flop should fit comfortably.
It shouldn’t be so loose that your feet move around and it shouldn’t be so tight that it digs into your feet.
Your foot should fit perfectly on the sole of the flip-flop.
How To Clean Smelly Flip Flops
Flip-flops generally smell less than other footwear, but they will still smell if you’re wearing them a lot.
They can accumulate bacteria and, over time, your flip-flops will start to reek.
You can clean your flip-flops will a little warm soapy water.
You can also add them to a washing machine load.
Many flip-flop wearers recommend using baking soda as well.
Just place your flip-flops in warm water, add some baking soda, and after a few minutes, scrub them with a brush or old toothbrush.
Can You Wear Flip Flops On A Plane?
You can wearflip-flops while traveling, but there are a few issues with doing so.
For instance, you will need to remove them when going through security, and that means you’ll be walking in bare feet.
Furthermore, your mobility will be limited in the event of an accident and those slapping shoes will become a liability.
What Are The Most Comfortable Flip Flops?
Havaianas flip-flops are some of the best and most comfortable flip-flops on the market.
They’re great for the beach and everywhere else, and they seem to have a growing following among celebrities.
Olukai Ohana is another brand to look out for and if you want flip-flops that will actually support your feet, look for Birkenstock flip-flops.