How did flip flops get their name?
The answer is quite simple. Flip flops are typically flat, made of rubber, backless, and have a thong between the first two toes to secure the shoe to your foot. As you walk, the flip flop shoe or slipper slaps your heel. The slapping makes a sound – flip, flop, flip flop.
The term flip flop (or flip-flop or shortened to flops) became popular in the 1970’s in the USA. In parts of Texas, flip flops are also known as clam diggers because of the way they flip sand while walking along the beach. On the East Coast, they are called zories. Hawaiians call them slippers, and the Philippines agree!
The UK uses flip flops, the South Pacific prefers go-aheads. In Greece, they are sayonares. South Africa and Zimbabwe hear the slapping sound differently, perhaps? They use slip-slops, or slops for short.
In New Zealand, they pay homage to the historical Japanese heritage of this simple type of sandal. The shoe is named jandal – j from the word japanese plus andal from the word sandal.
In many countries, the popular brand Havaianas is used as a synonym for flip flops.
There is more – slappies, slides, step-ins, chankla, open-toed sandals, chappals, slaps, shower shoes, backless sandals, slippers, backless shoes, rubber sandals, beach shoes, and beach slippers. Phew!
It is not surprising that such a popular type of footwear would have so many names. Still, a flip flop by any other name…is still a flip flop!