The History of Flip-Flops: The Most Ancient Form of Footwear

This may surprise you, but flip-flops are one of the earliest forms of footwear. Murals and artwork dating back to 4,000 B.C. depict people wearing the sandals and using them as their primary form of footwear. Today, on National Flip-Flop Day we want to take a look back at the origin of the flip-flop: A shoe that’s stood the test of time and served humanity for thousands of years.  

Ancient Flip-Flops

Flip-flop sandals pop up in several different ancient Egyptian artworks, dating all the way back to 4,000 B.C. Early versions of the flip-flop were created using rudimentary tools. A pair found by researchers in Europe was pieced together with papyrus leaves, and was dated to be about 1,500 years old. Ancient Egyptians created their sandals using only papyrus and palm leaves. While in Africa they used rawhide.

Asian countries found inspiration in very different types of material. In India the shoes were made of wood. Chinese and Japanese people used rice straw. The Ancient Greeks employed the most modern form of the flip-flop early on. They created straps that were worn between the first and second toe. While many other countries chose to craft flip-flops with a strap between the second and third, or third and fourth toe.  

Modern Flip-Flop

The flip-flop burst onto the scene in the United States as soldiers returned from World War II. Many of them brought Japanese zori back with them from abroad. Zori are Japanese flip-flops made of rice straw.

During the 50s the flip-flops caught on, and they dominated the fashion scene throughout the decade. They were designed with bright colors and youthful designs, making them apart of the most popular new fashion trends. Most Americans loved them because of their portability, ease and comfort.  

Simple—Yet Effective Design

The flip-flop is a staple in American culture, and its definitely here to stay. They’re popular with so many! Most recently Barack Obama became the first president photographed wearing flip-flops. However, the sales say it all! Flip Flop Shops reported that the shoes were a $20 billion industry in 2009.

The shoes offers people a comfortable and simply solution to footwear, no wonder they’re so popular. Fortunately, our flip-flops offer wearers more than just comfort. The Healing Sole is built with relief and recovery in mind for individuals suffering from foot pain. The shoe is one of the only flip-flops designed with pain relief in mind. So grab a pair of our shoes to reflect on how flip-flops have evolved throughout history.