Flip flop sandals are popular in many parts of the world (though they go by other names in some places), and they are available for women, kids, and men.
The History of the Flip FlopThe term "flip flop" was given to these shoes because of the flip-flopping sound that is made by the sandals as one walks in them, and the phrase is said to have been coined in the early 1970s. And, though thong sandals themselves -- presumably, along with the flip-flopping sounds they make -- have actually been around for centuries, what we currently refer to as "flip flops" are most closely linked to the "Jandals" that became popular in New Zealand in the late 1950s.
There is some controversy surrounding the "invention" of Jandals -- a word which was derived by shortening the English term for the shoes after which they were modeled: "Japanese sandals."
New Zealander Morris Yock filed for a patent on the plastic, thong-strapped sandals as beachwear in 1957, but he had been importing the shoes from an English-raised businessman named John Cowie who, according to his family, had been manufacturing a plastic version of the wooden sandals worn in Japan at his plastics plant in Hong Kong since the late 1940s.
Yock claimed that the concept for Jandals was his own, and his son says that the shoes were originally manufactured in his garage, and later had to be imported from Hong Kong. Cowie's children maintain that the name "Jandals" was created by their father, and that Yock was merely an importer of the plastic shoes that their dad had already been producing.