In Honor of National Flip Flop Day

Does anyone else snicker at the term “toe thong”? It’s right up there with “toe cleavage.”

The third Friday in June is National Flip Flop Day; in honor of this Silly Event, I did a little digging into their history. There’s an ancient Egyptian pair of similar sandals dating back to 1500 B.C. in the British Museum, and Greeks, Romans and Mesopotamians all wore versions, but our current dime store iteration is more akin to the straw Japanese zori seen by soldiers in WWII (hence their name “jandals” in New Zealand), and took off in America with the boom of surfing culture in the 50s and 60s.

Now, of course, they’re ubiquitous outside the bounds of Hawaii and California, too. Flip flops are the essence of summer fashion nationwide: skin bearing, care free, and colorful. Like t-shirts and baseball caps, they’re worn by adults and kids, rich and poor, cool and dorky. Even the Dalai Lama wears them!

On Tybee, individual flip flops wash ashore like so many other objects; on Tybrisa Street, there’s a fence where the owners tack them up as their ode to flotsam. All hail the heel-slapping footwear of bronzed beach deities!

Pro tip: If you blow out your flip flop, that little plastic square that keeps loaves of bread sealed up will keep the plug of the thong in place. (History geek bonus: The bread clip was invented in 1952 by Floyd G. Paxton; they’re manufactured by his Kwik Lok Corporation in Yakima, Washington.)