They’ve been around a long time, and this time of year, I see them everywhere – flip-flops!! A symbol of summer, leisure, and the beach. Flip-flops entered Western culture during WWII when prisoners in Japan were exposed to traditional zori sandals. Post-war, they were marketed to housewives and children as cheap slippers, while sandals became popular in the “surfer” craze of the 1950s. The casual Fridays of the 1990s gave us a relaxed dress code that was ripe for flip flops. They are now the top “summer wardrobe offender” for men and women.
Some employers are unimpressed! Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, and author on the societal significance of shoes, says “Flip-flops say you’re not fully engaged in the business environment…You’ve got one foot in the office and one foot on the beach. It makes a very loud statement about casualness.” In fact, some businesses are declaring their offices as “flip flop free zones”. I wonder if the distinctive smucking noise they make when someone is walking by, made any difference?
Flip-flops (like high heels) also bear health risks because they don’t offer support or protection for your feet. Gripping the thong with your toes is bad for your natural stride, putting strain on your hips, knees and ankles. Why is the fun footwear always bad for you? (see Not Heels Too)…That’s just depressing!
I’m not working in an office any more – I’m “retired”, remember? At least I am this summer. I don’t live near a beach, but it is hot, so I’m putting on my brand new symbols of Summer and leisure, and cracking open a good book! That’ll be good for my health!