Saturday, June 4, 2011

Flip Flop Fun Series - History and Fun Facts

I wasn't sure if I should end our Flip Flop Fun Series with another tutorial or a recap of our fantastic two weeks.  Instead I decided to share some interesting and fun facts about flip flops.

I looked up "flip flop" at the online version of the Merriam-Webster dictionary and found this:
Who knew in order to be called a flip flop, the shoe had to be made with rubber??

It is difficult to find accurate statistics on the size of the flip-flop market in the US. Currently, the US market for footwear is $45 billion7 and the US market for flip-flops is estimated at $2 billion retail.8 The vast majority of these are basic flip flops priced below $50 per pair. The market size for high end flip flops is estimated to be some 10% of the overall market – or some 20 million pairs per year.

Interested in knowing the price of the most expensive flip flops?  $17,000!  Jeweler H. Stern sold flip flops adorned with 1,500 gold feathers and encrusted diamond settings for $17,000 in 2004.

I found some interesting information and history about flip flops at Wikipedia.  The information below was pulled directly from the link.
  • The traditional woven soled Japanese zōri had been used as beach wear in New Zealand in the 1930s.  In the post war period in both New Zealand and America, versions were briefly popularized by servicemen returning from occupied Japan. The idea of making sandals from plastics did not occur for another decade.
  • Flip-flops may have been familiar in the United States in the mid-19th century. An 1861 letter to the editor of The New York Times mentioned poorly equipped troops in the Seventh Regiment Volunteers wearing "flip-flaps": "The men were not in uniform, but very poorly dressed, — in many cases with flip-flap shoes.  The letter does not describe the men's shoes in detail, so it is not clear whether it is referring to footwear of the flip-flop style, or perhaps to the poor state of their shoes.
  • The popular use of flip-flops as beach or outdoor wear has spread through much of the world.  In most developing countries, rubber flip-flops are the cheapest footwear available, often costing less than a dollar.
  • Flip-flops are also popular with those who enjoy being barefoot but need to wear shoes, because they allow the foot to be out in the open but still constitute a shoe for wear in places such as restaurants or on city streets, and can be quickly and easily removed. They are also popular because they are easy to carry and come in an assortment of colors and patterns.
  • Some soldiers and other trampers or hikers have begun carrying flip-flops, or a pair of flip-flop soles sewn to socks, as a lightweight emergency replacement for damaged boots.
I hope this post isn't getting too wordy.  Now that we have some history out of the way, lets learn a few fun facts!
  • The oldest confirmed Flip-flop was discovered in Fort Rock Cave in the U.S. state of Oregon.
  • President Barack Obama was the first US president ever photographed wearing flip-flops.
  • Flip-flops were named based on the sound that they make when they first landed in the US.
  • Flip-flops were first seen worn on the beach by the year 1950′s
Above facts found here.

The Northwestern University's national championship women's lacrosse team caused quote the controversy by wearing flip flops during their visit to the White House in 2005.

You can read an article their response to the criticism here.

I hope you learned something new today! 

I'll be posting a recap with links to all the tutorials of the Flip Flop Fun Series tomorrow.  I will also be announcing the winner of the $20 Old Navy gift card giveaway!  You have about 24 hours left to enter!

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