They come in various colors, are made of different materials, and are so much fun to wear; celebrate National Flip Flop Day — held on the Wednesday after Memorial Day, by showing off your favorite pair of flip flops. Wear them to the beach, on a grocery run, or even to semi-formal dining in a jiffy! After all, what is easier to wear than flip-flops?
History of National Flip Flop Day
Sandals resembling the erstwhile flip flops have been around for many years. While the earliest recorded sandals come from Egypt, all cultures during Ancient times had their own variant of this footwear. The sandals worn by the Ancient Greeks and Romans had the strap between the second and third toe, Mesopotamians’ sandals showed the strap resting between the first and second toe, and the Indian ‘chappals’ used a knob in place of the strap. These olden versions were made from a variety of materials – papyrus leaves, palm leaves, leather, wood, rice straw.
The design of the modern-day sandal is inspired by the Japanese ‘zori.’ The Encyclopedia of History of Japanese Manners and Customs states Japanese children used these flip flop-type shoes when first learning to walk. Returning Americans brought the zori back from Japan at the end of the Second World War, as novelty items for loved ones.
The world owes the popularity of the current sandal to the Japanese too. During World War II, Japan took over much of Southeast Asia’s natural resources, including rubber. After their defeat during the war, they looked to this resource (and its ability to create cheap yet successful clip flops) to boost their flagging economy.
Over time, natural materials gave way to artificial materials, and the design changed to a modern look. These new, colorful, snazzy flip-flops began being used exclusively in informal settings. The increasing popularity brought this humble sandal to the mainstream, and it then began to be used in semi-formal events too. A special country responsible for changing flip-flops culture was Brazil; this inexpensive footwear was immensely popular there, and even supermodels and actors wore them on the red carpet!
To celebrate their tenth anniversary, American restaurant chain, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, created the unofficial holiday they dubbed ‘National Flip Flop Day.’ Everyone who comes into their participating stores wearing flip flops gets a free Jetty Punch Smoothie. The proceeds of these sales go to the Camp Sunshine program. Based in Casco, Maine, Camp Sunshine offers respite and support to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
National Flip Flop Day timeline
Footwear similar to the current flip flop is documented to have been in use during the Stone Age.
Evidence on paintings and carvings shows ancient Egyptians wearing sandals.
A pair of flip flops are made from papyrus leaf; this is on display at the British Museum.
The Japanese Heian period sees the creation of a flip flop-type sandal called the 'zori'.
Seeking to reverse its economic problems after WWII, Japan establishes an industry to replicate its simple yet cheap footwear.
The Japanese zori is brought into America by returning soldiers; this creates a flip flop craze in the country.
Flip flops are increasingly being used in the developed world, with a modern design.
The word 'flip flop' is now used in American and British English to describe this sandal, which is being used exclusively in casual situations.
The American restaurant chain, Tropical Smoothie Cafe creates National Flip Flop Day.
National Flip Flop Day FAQs
What day is National Flip Flop Day 2021?
National Flip Flop Day will be celebrated on June 18 in 2021.
How do we celebrate National Flip Flop Day?
As National Flip Flop Day is created by Tropical Smoothie Cafe, customers who wear flip flops to the Cafe’s outlets across the country receive a Jetty Punch Smoothie for free.
Did Tropical Smoothie do National Flip Flop Day 2020?
Due to the pandemic and resulting lockdowns, Tropical Smoothie canceled National Flip Flop Day in 2020.
How To Celebrate National Flip Flop Day
Visit a Tropical Smoothie Café
Since this day was founded by the Tropical Smoothie Café, give them your patronage this National Flip Flop Day. Be sure to wear your favorite pair of flip flops though, so you can get a free smoothie, and more importantly, donate to a good cause.
Wear your flip-flops
Don't have a Tropical Smoothie Café near you? Celebrate your way by putting on your favorite flip-flops and going on a quick stroll. Put them on for a quick grocery run, or flaunt them while shopping. If you feel like staying in, replace your usual pair of slippers with your flip flops and encourage family members to do the same too.
Get a new pair of flip-flops
National Flip Flop Day is the perfect time to go shopping for a new pair of flip flops. You can even search for sustainable and eco-friendly options from companies like Rainbow and Hari Mari, who create their products using eco-friendly materials and stronger raw materials to extend their lifespan.
Fun Facts About National Flip Flop Day
This celebration makes for very successful fundraisers
Tropical Smoothie Cafe raised $1 million for Camp Sunshine in 2015; since the beginning, they have raised over $3.7 million.
Americans wear a lot of flip-flops
The website historydaily.org reports Americans spent more than $2.5 billion on flip-flops in 2017.
These are from Havaianas
This Brazilian company is one of the most popular flip flop producers in the world; they sell more than 150 million pairs of sandals every year.
A different name in the U.S. too
This shoe was generically called the 'thong' and used interchangeably with the term flip-flops until sometime in the 1980s.
These flip-flops are EXPENSIVE
Costing $18,000, these flip-flops were painted by famous Los Angeles Artist David Palmer; they are also adorned with a hand-made 18-carat solid gold emblem of the brand that produced them, Chipkos.
Why We Love National Flip Flop Day
We love our flip flops
The design of the flip-flop is unique, to help make your tootsies feel at ease. These versatile sandals are the official shoe of summer, at least in our minds. We love how they can pair with a cute pair of shorts, or team up with long trousers too.
Learn where our flip flops come from
We love hearing the story of how our favorite pair of footwear came to be. Not only does National Flip Flop Day encourage the celebration of this shoe, but also raises information about how this style came to be so famous around the world.
Relaxed feet for a relaxed mind?
Licensed psychotherapists and health coaches believe there is the actual value to donning the occasional flip-flop. They are easy to put on, signify 'play time' (due to their palette of fun colors), and are relatively inexpensive compared to other styles of footwear, even the eco-friendly options. Certain mental health professionals even associate the flip-flop with freedom, believing wearing this footwear automatically liberates people from formality.
National Flip Flop Day dates