Love them or hate them, flip flops have become an icon of summer fashion.
Sandals and Jandals. Some experts believe that our ancestors were wearing sturdy shoes between 40,000 and 26,000 years ago. No one’s found any shoes from that long ago, though. The evidence has to do with our toes, which became smaller and less useful around that time.
Apparently, if you don’t wear strong shoes, you need to use your toes much more to balance. So if we carry on wearing flip flops, which don’t help us to balance, perhaps we’ll evolve stronger toes again. In fact, flip flops are criticized because wearers’ toes have to grip in a way that can damage feet.
No one knows when they were invented, but flip flops are thought to be based on traditional Japanese sandals called zori. The main difference is that modern flip flops are made of rubber, while zori traditionally have a wooden sole and use plant fibers for the ‘thong’ part. In some areas of the world flip flops are known as ‘jandals’, short for Japanese sandals.
Flip flops are cheap to make, comfy, hard-wearing and perfect for the beach, and they’ve become more popular than ever in recent years. As well as the ordinary, cheap, rubber kind, now you can make a fashion statement with expensive designer flip flops. There are even flip flops that cost thousands of pounds: a gold-and-diamond-encrusted pair.
Prehistoric shoe fetish: The oldest footwear ever found are 9,000-year-old sandals made of bark and sagebrush plant fibers. Seventy pairs of the skillfully woven sandals were discovered in a cave in Oregon, USA, in 1938.