Flip-flops are not shoes!

Really. I promise you. I don’t care that they’ve been worn to the White House. They. Are. Not. Shoes. Sorry, I don’t often go on a tear but I do tire of people trying to make excuses about how we live in a casual society and that flip-flops are appropriate footwear. They are not (not even here in South Florida).

When I was growing up, flip-flops were known as Shower Shoes or Shower Clogs. They were worn while showering after P.E. (to protect us from athlete’s foot) or to the pool. It stands to reason, then, that flip-flops are quite appropriate when cleaning the pool filter, hosing off the patio or even for a quick dash to buy a couple of jugs of chlorine. While they might be a distant cousin of the ever-popular (and a favorite of Yours Truly) thong sandal they are not interchangeable. To wit:

Adorable thong sandal to be worn with shorts, sundresses and capris:


Serviceable flip-flops to be worn while doing wet chores and to the beach or pool:


I don’t know about you, but I’ll take adorable over serviceable any day of the week.

PS: Next time I’m feeling cranky I’ll talk about 1) dressing for comfort 2) dressing for The Heat or 3) dressing when one is of A Certain Age. Consider yourselves warned. ;-) Now back to sewing!

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26 responses to “Flip-flops are not shoes!

  1. I agree with you so much! Comfortable and looking good are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

    I know you no longer “do” PR, but I stirred it up a little over some of the casual sloppiness that is so prevalent in the Sunshine State. I feel entitled, I lived there for years. You do not have to go out looking like you just cleaned the boat.

  2. Summerset

    Amen, Amen, Amen!!!! I view flip-flops the same way you do! Great for the beach or pool, not great for shopping, restaurants, church, you name it.

    I even grew up mostly in Florida and we weren’t allowed to wear flip-flops out and about except to the beach. My mother made an exception one very rainy day and I ended up going to the ER with my large toenail ripped off and a large gash in my foot because of wearing them out for a quick trip to the grocery store.

  3. Ding! Exactly. Flipflops are not shoes. They are foot protectors for between the car in the beach parking lot and where your park your towel on the sand. Period. I hate them and think they are dangerous. Never wear them. At all.

  4. Gigi, praise the lord and pass the ammunition! For the life of me I don’t understand the race to the bottom when it comes to people so militant about promoting the lowest common denominator when it comes to fashion. I think they’ve really just given up on themselves and they need an excuse.

  5. cidell

    Here, here. Ugh. I see them for staffers in city hall wear them and think it’s ok. It is not appropriate!!

  6. Ha! We were just discussing this very topic at lunch today. No! Flip-flops are not shoes! And they certainly are not appropriate footwear in below zero weather (and yes, believe it or not, I have seen that)

  7. AMEN! I can’t walk in anything that flat… even the cute thong sandals. I don’t understand what’s so comfortable about them. I have a couple of pairs of Havaianas for poolside though.

  8. Eww, yeah, ditto Cidell’s comment. Can’t stand to see them at work either. I hate Uggs too, which are ubiquitous here in the Northeast when it’s cold.

  9. I think that people who pull the “I dress only for comfort” are copping an excuse. It’s sheer laziness. I find flip flops to be unattractive even on great feet (and few of us have those) and incredibly uncomfortable.

    Don’t get me going on Birkenstocks, Crocs and clogs (out of a hospital situation). Different brands, same issue.

  10. meg

    I totally agree!!

  11. brocadegoddess

    Ditto – and about the crocs too! The most hideous things ever – I actually saw someone wear crocs TO A WEDDING. I just stared, disdainfully gobsmacked.

  12. Tanya

    haha—- you guys obviously don’t live in australia!!! everyone here grows up in thongs (as we call flip flops here- yeah, seriously when i first found out that you guys call g-strings “thongs” i was so confused…) Anyway, over here thongs are very commmon and very accepted casual wear, but not like that 2nd pair up there- those ones really are for dags- (do u americans know what a dag is?- someone who is daggy, eg not very inspiringly dressed)

    But don’t stress, we know when and where to wear them, unless you’re a life guard you don’t wear them to work, or out at night- well especially since you’re not allowed into a pub (um- a bar?) wearing thongs. And we most certainly wouldn’t wear them to a wedding, unless it was a casual beach wedding. It all comes from the beach culture we have here. I challenge you to wear any other footwear at the beach without whingeing your face off about the sand, or just plain removing your shoes.

    Oh and crocs and thongs by the way, just cos they’re made out of rubber- i’d say they were rubber clogs more like… and only look cute on tiny little children.

    haha- sorry to waffle on like this, but we really do wear a lot of thongs in australia, mainly havaianas, everyone i know has a least a few different colours of them… and they look good. (not to mention damb comfy too:)

  13. Tanya

    sorry i meant to say up there – crocs AREN’T thongs

  14. Why people feel the need to wear flip flops (or Crocs for that matter) in public is beyond me. Why people intentionally try to look like slobs is puzzling. I’m fairly certain the world is coming to an end! :)

  15. Laura Smith

    Amen, Sister! Finally, someone is speaking “THE TRUTH” Keep it up, maybe we can convert a few sinners.

  16. I’m loving reading the comments on this post! I couldn’t agree more, not to mention anything flat nearly kills my feet.

  17. I agree heartily. I work in a corporate environment and let me tell you I see more flip-flops with suits than I need to.

  18. Brava! ~~~~applause ~~~~~~~ Brava!

    It nearly makes me sick to my stomach to see women (or men) wearing rubber flip/flops out in public…it just looks so trashy and even unsanitary!

  19. Linda T

    I was raised in California and we called flip flops, thongs as Tanya says they do down under. Everytime I hear the word thong, I have to decide if the speaker is referring to flip flops or the “panty”.

    One thing my husband and I figured out this winter was that crocs are great on ice. It was about 0C/32F one morning so I slipped on the Crocs to take the dogs out for their morning pitstop and discovered I felt quite safe on ice. Since I tend to fall down on ice, I was thrilled.

    I admit I like my purple Crocs but they are not work or partying appropriate. But they are great yard work and gardening shoes.

  20. Kara

    Personally, I am looking forward to your “dressing at a certain age” post, lol, have I seen some crazy inappropriate examples of that here. I, too, live in a beach town (Virginia Beach) and many, MANY people seem to think $2 flip flops are appropriate for everything and everywhere. Le sigh.

  21. Karla

    Okay, I’ll agree with you, but ONLY because you provided pictorial documentation. The plain ones (which you can pick up in any Florida drugstore) are not a fashionable choice, but with a little leather, some cork, a molded footbed, and beads or rhinestones, you have (IMHO) a perfectly acceptable “formal” flipflop. I think they’re darling, and I wish to God someone would make them in narrow sizes so I could find some that would stay on my feet. It took me years to find a pair of thongs that fit snugly enough that I could wear them home from a pedicure. One lousy pair and they aren’t even cute. They are sporty and waterproof, so I suppose I could wear them for apres surfing. Yeah…that’ll happen..

  22. Standing up in the aisle clapping loudly. May I copy this and send it along to the dsd’s, college age, who insist that indeed, flip flops Are appropriate footwear?

  23. I appreciate your posting this. I’m guilty of this, but your explanation makes perfect sense to me. I never realized that thongs and flip flops were 2 different things. when finances permit, I’ll be buying some thongs.

    Why didn’t I know this? Because my mom is a fashion disaster, so I didn’t have anyone to teach me these things. I shudder to think of previous fashion faux pas!! I learn a little at a time! What Not to Wear has helped a lot.

  24. JC

    Oh thank God! I can not stand people who where flip flops at all the time.
    Especially when people make that *flips*
    sound.. oh nooooooo. Please stop it now!

  25. I love crocs beach clog very much because it’s ultra-light and don’t bite.

  26. Mia

    I wear dressy “flip-flops” and sandles between my toes that are dressier than many summer shoes. I was born and raised in Southwest Florida and then at 18 moved to NJ for 14 years. I am back in Naples now for 11 years and I find closed toes dress shoes sweltering and uncomfortable to work in. I do not think they look appropriate to the environment here just like colonial architecture doesn’t have a place here. I am an artist and feel it is best to break away from old traditions that are “this is how it has always been done”.