Recognizing this sad reality, several sustainable flip-flop companies have been founded, including the Hawaiian-based brand OluKai in 2006.
Why Men First Wore Flip-Flops
After covering the flip-entire flop’s history, from beach-going bobble to high-fashion footwear, let’s pinpoint the reasons why males first started donning them. Some of these points were covered in our “Why Did Men Stop Wearing Dress Shoes?” essay, but for the time being, we’re limiting ourselves to sandals and focusing solely on flip-flops.
Holiday Culture 1.
Traveling for vacations and holidays became more accessible than ever after the Second World War, especially to far-off exotic countries with beaches as a preferred getaway location. Vacationers would quickly learn to pick up local fashion because there was no standard wardrobe because modern holiday culture was still evolving.
Even while we adore leather dress shoes, we must acknowledge that beaches and this shoes don’t go well together. Flip-flops were liked because they were inexpensive, simple to put on, and great for hot regions. These flip-flops were frequently brought home as a memento of the trip and for sporadic use due to how convenient they are to pack. These beach accessories frequently find their way into wearers’ normal wardrobes, especially when they start to miss the ocean and the beach lifestyle.
Beach Culture 2.
The carefree, enjoyable way of life that beach culture popularized quickly developed into its own ethos. It was evident that individuals wanted to unwind and take in a more relaxed, beachy atmosphere from the presence of Salt Life decals, Margaritaville eateries, and the beach country musical subgenre beach lifestyle, even when not at the beach.
And wearing flip-flops on a regular basis was one method to do it. The upshot was a rising acceptance of flip-flops outside of swimming pools and beachfronts. This trend collided head-on with the growing casualization of menswear, which we covered in more detail in another guide handling the fall of classic menswear.
Social Casualization 3.
Workplaces followed society’s trend toward lax dress, but considerably more slowly. Many of the new industries that emerged in the 1990s and 2000s, particularly those in the computer and digital sectors, were more amenable to workers’ requests to dress more casually at work by forgoing suits and Oxfords in favor of T-shirts and flip-flops.
These tech industries, like flip-flops, grew up in California’s warm climate, and that beach-life mentality made its way into Silicon Valley boardrooms with the aid of more utilitarian capitalism that didn’t really care how employees dressed as long as they showed up every day and got the job done. Flip-flops quickly gained popularity as a professional footwear option.
4. Comfort as a Priority
The fact that flip-flops are more comfortable than traditional shoes is a common denominator in both the appeal of flip-flops as a whole and the casualization of menswear in general. The majority of contemporary flip-flop manufacturers have focused their marketing efforts on emphasizing this point—construction or design to make their goods appropriate for all-day wear.
Especially when compared to a well-made pair of dress shoes, we haven’t exactly found flip-flops to be comfortable enough for all-day wear from personal experience. The lack of support can cause physical problems for many people, but this hasn’t done much to change the widely held belief that flip-flops are significantly more comfortable because of their lightweight construction and intense ventilation, which are said to mimic the sensation of being barefoot.
5. The Heroic Body
Finally, we’ll provide a final justification that dates all the way back to the invention of the shoe for why males first began donning flip-flops. When flip-flops initially became popular, young men were obsessed with getting the chiseled and ripped beach body of Charles Atlas.
And as the flip-flop gained popularity starting in the 2000s, the urge to seem like muscled musicians, ripped reality TV stars, and the newest heartthrob superheroes has only been stronger. Flip-flops may be an extension of the desire to wear athleisure because they highlight your build, showcasing the hard work you put into achieving the ideal body. With more and more men committed to healthy living and consistent gym visits.
The flip-flop exposes more of the body than shorts or sleeveless tops, which may account for their appeal to young, athletic celebrities. Flip-flops may be similar to the ancient sandals that the Marvel heroes and gods wore in this regard.
As previously indicated, these producers promoted these flip-flops as everyday clothing, which aided these social movements. So it’s not difficult to understand how flip-flops gained such a stronghold in menswear thanks to natural desire and a little manufactured push.
So the question is, should someone interested in classic fashion wear flip-flops? We’re still going to have to concur with Raphael’s evaluation in our “19 Things Men Should Never Wear” post.
And don’t worry if flip-flops aren’t your thing. There are numerous beach-friendly alternatives to the traditional look. Two of our favorites were portrayed by James Bond actor Sean Connery in the 1965 movie Thunderball. He also sports a pair of classic espadrilles for a more formal, substantial appearance in addition to a pair of straightforward leather sandals that offer all the airiness of flip-flops with a more secure fit and classic designs.
We hope that after reading about the history of flip-flops, you will have a clearer idea of why men first started donning them, as well as their place in regard to traditional fashion. I personally enjoy wearing flip-flops when I’m on a boat.