You can be sure it’s summer when you hear the distinguishable sound of flip flops everywhere you go. Believe it or not some people wear flip flops outside year round. You won’t catch me in flip flops in the winter unless I’m in the house or coming from a pedicure appointment.
Everyone has a pair of flip flops in their closet, men and women alike, and they have a long history. The name “flip flop” comes specifically from the sound the sandals make when they slap between the sole of your foot and the floor. I have a manager who forbids these rubber shoes in the office and if he hears the slap, slap sound he is on the hunt for the culprit.
This particular type of sandal originated as early as the Ancient Egyptians in 4000 B.C., and the oldest known pair is on display at the British Museum from 1500 B.C. The pair on display is made from papyrus, but just as a huge variety of cultures have worn these sandals through the years, they’ve used a great variety of materials.
The modern flip flop gained popularity in the United States after World War II; they are derived from the Japanese zori sandel which soldiers brought back to the states with them.
During the postwar boom, Americans started to design flip flops in new bright colors and patterns, wearing them for their convenience and comfort. In the 1960s, they became primarily known as a part of the casual beach lifestyle of California. These casual shoes with very little support can cause some serious problems. For instance: Kinetic stress: People modify their gait when wearing flip-flops, gripping their toes in order to keep the shoes in place. This can lead to kinetic changes that stress different muscles and strain toes, ankles, legs, hips and back.
Arch pain, plantar fasciitis and nerve issues: A flat and flimsy shoe bed does not provide the foot with adequate support for all day wear.
Sun damage: Sandal wearers must remember to apply sunscreen to the feet. Few people understand or think of the foot as a place where skin cancer can arise, but foot melanoma can be deadly.
Lower extremity pain: Lack of shock absorption can cause pain to feet, legs, hips and back.
Toes and Nails: The chance of broken toes and toe nails are higher when wearing flip-flops.
Cuts and Germs: Feet are exposed to the elements and can roll off the shoe, exposing the skin to the ground.
One place you don’t want to wear your flip flops is to the Summer Breeze First Friday/White Party at the Pittsburgh Center For the Arts on Aug. 1. Perhaps you tried to go to the July First Friday at Brewstone in Wilkins Township and found the doors locked tight. Bill Neal says to have no fear this party will take place. Pull that white outfit back out and enjoy one of the great white parties of the summer. Yes you know it’s summer when there is a white party, but no flip flops allowed.
(Email the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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