Sensitive? Reckless? Call it what you will, but walking through New York in flip flops is, to me, liberating. They’re easy to put on, comfortable and, with new styles hitting the market every season, a color-block sole! flip flops encrusted with rhinestones! – it’s a fun way to vary your look. Simply put, wearing flip flops in the summer is a no-brainer…even in a metropolitan city known for its grime.
Many people have a gut reaction when they hear the words flip flops and big metropolitans in the same sentence. They just can’t get over the supposed disgust factor of walking with their toes so close to the ground without twisting their face in disgust. “I tried wearing Havaianas the first summer I moved to New York,” says vogue editor-in-chief Chioma Nnadi. “You basically sweep the street with the soles of your feet…. At the end of the day, it was just disgusting.
And yet, there’s a reason the see-saw has retained its popularity, albeit divisively. “While most feet tend to prefer a low heel (about one to two inches), many people feel comfortable with their feet exposed and in as close to a barefoot position as possible,” explains the New York podiatrist Ernest L. Isaacson. . We elevate, twist and squeeze our feet all year round, it only makes sense that they just want to lay flat once in a while.
Basic instincts aside, the city flip flops are functional for those on the go. While they’ve been largely restricted to the beach in the United States, that’s not the case around the world. During Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867), the zori sandal – a traditional shoe resembling today’s modern flip flops, which was used for “walking quietly on hard, dry ground”, such as the document it 1919 Guide to Japanese Textiles— experienced rapid commercialization due to its popularity and continues to be a staple shoe for commuters. Fun fact: it was the zori that inspired Havaianas flip flops to create its Tradi sandal in 1962.
Fast forward to the early years when flip flops were heavy hitters in the fashion zeitgeist, becoming, dare I say, mall chic? Americans with a penchant for low-rise, discount velor were sent on a thong frenzy when Old Navy launched its legendary $1 sale in 2005. Turns out, 10-year-old me wasn’t the alone to marvel at the idea of owning several pairs in bubblegum pink, lime green and neon yellow. TikTok influencer Kate Steinberg perfectly sums up the feeling of snagging the latest size 8, which always seemed to sell out first.