A Flip Flop Theory on Life

Flip flops represent a way of life, a philosophy of fun.

Summer is my favorite time of year.  The Greeks have it right. Their word for summer is, kalokeri [καλοκαίρι].  The literal translation is good weather.  Summer means vacations, time spent on the water, Conch Republic Bikinis, and flip-flops.

This past weekend, I was pondering the history of the flip-flop over a cup of coffee and thought it would be a good topic to discuss here.  I love my flip-flops.  There are three, maybe four, pairs in my closet.  None of them cost much money, leaving me more for rum and sailboats.

The enclosing nature of shoes holds a negative connotation for me. I don’t feel I’m overreaching here.  For me they represent the restrictive nature of the rat race and how it keeps us wrapped up and away from being footloose and fancy free.  The type of life I work hard to typify. Flip flops represent a way of life, a philosophy of fun.

Flip Flops and Bikinis

Flip Flops and Bikinis

The flip-flop has been around for thousands of years.  Their design has been found as far back as Egypt and certainly existed prior.  Each region of the world used whatever resources were available to them.  Some used leather, others grasses, yet others wood.  The general design with the single loop plunging down between the toes was the same.

Not everyone calls them flip-flops.  Different cultures have their own names for them like slip-slops (South Africa), jandals (New Zealand), go-aheads (South Pacific), slippers (Hawaii) sayonares (Greece) and my favorite from Australia, thongs (I have a bikini to match).  The name flip-flop is onomatopoeia; it comes from the sound they make.

The modern popularity came from military men returning from the Pacific Theater after World War 2.  The Japanese zori was easily packed and returned home as a souvenir.  It wasn’t until after the Korean War that the flip-flop really took off.

Nice Flip Flops

Nice Flip Flops

Over the years the flip-flop has developed from a traditionally cheap, low quality item to one that today can cost hundreds of dollars.  You can even find flip-flops with secret heal compartments and bottle openers. Very creative.  We even have our own famous flip-flop maker on Fitzpatrick Street in Key West, called Kino.  (www.kinosandalfactory.com) My good friend Rum Shop Ryan has a flip-flop fetish and plugs for Cushe.

The choices are countless and the freedom limitless.  So kick off those damn shoes, burn the socks, put on a swimsuit, slather on some sunscreen and grab a rum drink.  Next time someone brings up the topic of flip-flops, regal them with your newly found and largely useless knowledge and have a good laugh.

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7 Responses to “A Flip Flop Theory on Life”

  1. Team Cocktail May 17, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Couldn’t agree more…shoes are so restrictive! We like to say…Life is best enjoyed in a t-shirt, shorts & flip flops…and with a drink in hand!

    • Carl Grooms May 17, 2011 at 11:09 am #

      Cheers Lyndsey we are cut from the same cloth. That’s why we can stay out until sunrise together :)

  2. RumShopRyan May 17, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Great story on my favorite footware and thanks for the shout out! I love flip flops of all shapes and size. On one hand I like ones that are unique and stylish, then on the other I like ones that are beat up looking and have extremely comfortable.

    But I totally agree, flip flops represent a way of life, one that doesn’t have anything to do with offices and cubicals. It’s one of freedom and fun in the sun.


  3. Jorie May 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Love the article. It also seems to be that flip flops are bikinis…. for the feet… that anybody can look good in (LOL!). Feet be free!!!

    • Carl Grooms May 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      Sandra. Great analogy! Maybe that is why I’m attracted to both? Can I quote that please? I LOVE IT.

  4. portefeuille longchamp November 25, 2013 at 5:24 am #

    We need to set a standard, not follow the ways of the world.

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