What would we do without them? The humble hawai chappals went to becoming a fashion rage (and still remains one) with a dash of ‘resort’ added to it. From the bling to the beach, we all are mostly particular about our flipflops. Few know the origin of modern flip-flops dates back to the end of World War II. And any guesses for which country might have taken the lead? Read on.

What are flip-flops?

It is a type of footwear that has a flat base attached to a Y- shaped thong. The name flip-flops come from the sound they make when the rubber sole slaps the floor. Flip flops have been used for several centuries as a preferred form of footwear.

What’s their ancient history?

The origin of flip-flops dates back to ancient Egyptians in 4000 BC. The oldest known pair of flip-flops is on display at the British Museum that dates to 1500 BC. It is made of papyrus.

Flip flops on the beach
Flip flops on the beach

What were they made of?

As it was worn across cultures, different materials were used to make them, like, the Egyptians used the papyrus and palm leaves. The Masai of Africa used rawhide whereas, wood was commonly used in India and in China and Japan use of rice straw was common.

What’s their modern history?

The origin of modern flip-flops dates back to the end of World War II. It was made in Japan, where it is known as zōri. This is considered to be the earliest traded product from Japan after the end of the World War II. The soldiers brought it back home as souvenirs. In the late 1950s, America started designing the flip-flops in bright colours and introduced a variety of designs. Alpargatas, in 1962 marketed Havaianas (a version of flip-flops) to Brazil.

Its popularity

Flip-flops became popular because of its style and comfort. They got adopted into the American pop-culture and were associated with the beach lifestyle of California. Sneakers or loafers were replaced by flip-flops made of leather or synthetic materials. It became an everyday article of casual footwear, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

The Flip-flop Industry

Although the net worth of the flip-flop industry is difficult to obtain, but one Atlanta-based company claimed it was a 20 billion dollar business in 2009. Way to go!

Pic Credit: cdn.daysoftheyear.com

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