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They were introduced by Bata in India under the brand name Hawaii slippers and are extremely popular throughout the country. Thong sandals have been worn for thousands of years, dating back to pictures of them in ancient Egyptian murals from 4, BC.

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A pair found in Europe was made of papyrus leaves and dated to be approximately 1, years old. These early versions of flip-flops were made from a wide variety of materials. Ancient Egyptian sandals were made from papyrus and palm leaves. The Masai of Africa made them out of rawhide. In India , they were made from wood.

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In China and Japan , rice straw was used. The leaves of the sisal plant were used to make twine for sandals in South America , while the natives of Mexico used the yucca plant. The Ancient Greeks and Romans wore versions of flip-flops as well. In Greek sandals, the toe strap was worn between the first and second toes, while Roman sandals had the strap between the second and third toes.

These differ from the sandals worn by the Mesopotamians , with the strap between the third and fourth toes. In India , a related chappal "toe knob" sandal was common, with no straps but a small knob sitting between the first and second toes. They are known as Padukas [9]. It caught on in the s during the postwar boom and after the end of hostilities of the Korean War. As they became adopted into American popular culture, the sandals were redesigned and changed into the bright colors that dominated s design.

As such, they were promoted as primarily a casual accessory, typically worn with shorts , bathing suits , or summer dresses.

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As they became more popular, some people started wearing them for dressier or more formal occasions. In , Alpargatas marketed a version of flip-flops known as Havaianas in Brazil. By , more than million pairs of Havaianas were produced each year. Girls would often decorate their flip-flops with metallic finishes, charms, chains, beads, rhinestones , or other jewelry. A minor controversy erupted in when some members of Northwestern University 's national champion women's lacrosse team visited the White House wearing flip-flops. Bush and Barack Obama , while wearing the sandals.

Furthermore, sales of flip-flops exceeded those of sneakers for the first time in If these figures are accurate, it is remarkable considering the low cost of most flip-flops. The modern flip-flop has a very simple design, consisting of a thin rubber sole with two straps running in a Y shape from the sides of the foot to the gap between the big toe and the one beside it.


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They typically do not have a strap around the heel, although heeled varieties are available, as well as flip-flops designed for sports, which come with added support common to athletic shoes , with the thong between the toes. They are made from a wide variety of materials, as were the ancient thong sandals.

The modern sandals are made of more modern materials, such as rubber , foam , plastic , leather, suede , and even fabric. Because of the strap between the toes, flip-flops are typically not worn with socks. In colder weather, however, some people wear flip-flops with toe socks. While flip-flops do provide the wearer with some mild protection from hazards on the ground, such as hot sand at the beach, glass, thumb tacks or even fungi and wart -causing viruses in locker rooms or community pools, their simple design is responsible for a host of other injuries of the foot and lower leg.

Walking for long periods in flip-flops can be very tough on the feet, resulting in pain in the ankles , legs , and feet. The lack of support provided by thong sandals is thought by some to be a major cause of injuries. Some flip-flops have a spongy sole, causing the foot to roll further inward than normal when it hits the ground—an action called over-pronation , which is responsible for many foot problems.

Ankle sprains or broken bones are also common injuries, due to stepping off a curb or tumbling; the ankle bends, but the flip-flop neither holds on to nor supports it. The open-toed nature of the thongs may result in cuts, scrapes, bruises, or stubbed toes. Many podiatrists recommend avoiding the inexpensive, drug store varieties and spending more on sandals with thick-cushioned soles, as well as ones that have a strap that's not canvas and that comes back almost to the ankle.

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