Flip Flops: Summer’s Most Essential Item

The wonderful invention of flip flops has developed itself from what in essence was a functional item of footwear for beach goers to become a fashion icon and staple of most people’s wardrobes. Now, before we start this does not include what is known as “sliders” as they are a totally different item of summer footwear completely for all of those flip flop purists out there!!

Neither are they the current hot item of footwear worn by Kendall Jenner as they have all the basic features of flip flops except that hers have a heel which technically makes them a shoe.

So whether your have cheap plastic pair or a fully designer pair you can now be safe in the knowledge of their origin and how and what they are made of. For any of our Australian friends I am referring to what you refer to as thongs.

Who Invented The Flip Flop

The origins of the flip flop can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where they were made from papyrus and palm leaves. These early versions were quite different from modern flip flops, with a more elaborate design that included straps that wrapped around the foot.

However, it was in the 1950s that the modern version of the flip flop was invented. This new style featured a simple rubber sole with two straps holding it on the foot. It quickly became popular as a casual shoe for beachgoers and surfers.

Today, there are countless variations on this classic design, including high-end designer versions made from leather or other luxury materials. Despite their humble beginnings, flip-flops have become an iconic symbol of summer fashion worldwide.

Old brown leather flip flops next to a swimming pool
Good quality flip flops can last for years

Which Country Buys The Most Flip Flops

Brazil, the United States, and Japan are among the countries that buy the most flip flops in the world. Flip flops are a staple footwear in Brazil because of their warm weather and beach culture. Havaianas is a famous Brazilian brand that has become synonymous with flip flops worldwide. The company sells over 200 million pairs annually.

Flip flops have become popular summer footwear in the United States due to their comfort and affordability. Old Navy is one of the leading retailers of flip flops in America and offers them at low prices during its annual “Flip Flop Day” promotion. According to Statista, Americans spent approximately $1 billion on women’s non-sport sandals in 2020.

Japan may be a surprise on this list since it’s not known for having tropical weather or beaches like Brazil or America. However, Japanese people often wear traditional wooden sandals called geta during hot summers, which share similarities with modern-day flip flops; both types of shoes feature an open-toe design and minimalistic style. Additionally, many Japanese fashion brands offer trendy variations of rubber flip flops for everyday use during warmer seasons.

These three countries represent different regions, but they all share similar reasons why they love wearing flip flops: practicality and comfortability when temperatures rise outside.

Black and grey flip flops with canvas strap
The ultimate in Summer styling

Where Did The Name Flip Flop Come From

The term “flip flop” is believed to have originated from the sound that the sandals make while walking. The slapping noise made by the sole of the shoe against the heel and ball of one’s foot is said to resemble a flip flopping sound, hence its name. This simple yet descriptive name has stuck with this type of footwear for decades.

Interestingly, flip flops have been around for centuries in different parts of the world under various names. In India and Australia, they are known as chappals or thongs, while in Japan, they are called zori. These types of sandals were initially made from materials like straw and wood before rubber became widely available and popularized their use.

Today, flip flops can be found all over the world and come in a variety of styles and designs. From basic rubber versions sold at discount stores to high-end designer options adorned with jewels and other embellishments, there is a flip flop for every taste and budget. Despite their humble origins and simple design, these shoes continue to be popular among people of all ages across cultures worldwide.

Black leather flip flops
You can wear Flip flops with almost any outfit

What Are The Materials Used

These sandals are made from various materials, including rubber, foam, leather, and plastic. Rubber is the most commonly used material in flip flop production due to its durability and affordability.

Foam is also widely used in making flip flops because it provides cushioning and comfort for the feet. Many manufacturers use EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam as it is lightweight and flexible. Leather flip flops are considered more upscale than rubber or foam ones. They offer superior comfort but come with a higher price tag.

Plastic flip flops have become increasingly popular due to their low cost and versatility. They can be easily moulded into different shapes, sizes, colours, and designs. However, they may not provide adequate support for the feet when worn for extended periods since they lack cushioning properties found in other materials like foam or rubber.

A pair of rainbow coloured flip flops
The height of summer fashion

Leading Manufacturers of Flip Flops

One of the leading manufacturers of flip flops in the world is Havaianas. This Brazilian brand has been around since 1962 and produces over 200 million pairs of flip-flops annually. They are known for their colourful designs and comfortable rubber soles, making them a favourite among beachgoers worldwide.

Another top manufacturer is Crocs, which started as a company that produced boating shoes but later expanded to include various footwear styles, including flip flops. Their flip flops feature their signature Croslite foam material, providing cushioning and support while remaining lightweight and durable.

Ipanema is another famous brand from Brazil specializing in eco-friendly flip flops made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles and industrial waste. They offer a wide range of stylish designs for men, women, and children while promoting sustainability practices in the fashion industry.


Flip flops are one of the most popular forms of footwear that can be found all over the world. However, their popularity has led to various environmental concerns due to the materials used in their production. Most flip flops are made of synthetic materials such as rubber and plastic, which take a long time to decompose and contribute to pollution.

To address these environmental issues, some manufacturers have started producing eco-friendly flip-flops using sustainable materials such as recycled rubber and natural fibres like hemp or bamboo. These sustainable alternatives not only reduce waste but also provide consumers with more durable options that are comfortable and stylish.

In addition to using sustainable materials, some companies have implemented recycling programs for old flip flops. For example, TerraCycle is an organisation that collects used flip flops from around the world and recycles them into new products such as playgrounds or park benches. This initiative helps reduce waste while promoting sustainability in the fashion industry.

As we move towards a more environmentally conscious society, manufacturers and consumers must prioritise sustainability when it comes to fashion choices like flip flops. By choosing eco-friendly options or participating in recycling programs, we can positively impact our planet while still enjoying this iconic summer footwear staple.

The Future Of Flip Flops

Flip flops’ future looks bright with the increasing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly materials. Many leading manufacturers use recycled rubber, plastic, and other materials to produce their products. This shift towards sustainability benefits the environment and appeals to consumers who prioritize ethical fashion choices.

In addition to sustainability, technology is also playing a role in shaping the future of flip flops. Companies incorporate features such as arch support, cushioning, and antimicrobial properties into their designs. The use of 3D printing technology has also allowed for more customized and personalised options.

As the popularity of flip flops continues to grow worldwide, manufacturers must prioritise both comfort and durability in their designs. Consumers want shoes that can withstand everyday wear while providing a comfortable fit. With advancements in material innovation and technology, there’s no doubt that the future of flip flops will continue to evolve and improve over time.