I read an article in Slate called Your Flip-Flops Are Grossing Me Out. The URL even includes the statement: “put_a_shoe_on_you_slob”. That much hostility against my favorite type of shoe requires a response.
I’m updating this blog post with my favorite comment on the Slate article:
I remember a point in my life when I thought flip-flops were gross and stupid-looking and I hated to see anyone wearing them. Then I turned 7 and ceased to be concerned with such things.
Why I Wear Flip-Flops
I wear flip flops nearly everywhere. For many years I ran my business on my laptop from coffee shops in various parts of the world. I spent a few years living in places like Hawaii and Florida where I rarely wore shoes. Other favorite ocean locations include: Greece, Taiwan, California, Argentina, and Portugal. I wear flip-flops nearly every day. I don’t see this lifestyle as being a “slob” — it’s more about living my life free from the more pointless rules of society.
I often walk up to 200 miles per month in flip-flops and don’t have problems with them. I hike in the mountains with them even off-trail. The only times there are problems are in the rain and in arid climates where there are thorny plants. Those places require sturdier shoes. One possible way to deal with thorny plants in the future is to make tire shoes. It would be great if a company would produce a line of inexpensive flip-flops with a tire layer on the bottom.
I wear flip-flops in cities too. Wearing closed shoes is as uncomfortable to me as putting a ski mask on my face. When I do have to wear shoes, I usually take them off at least part-way when I sit down, whether it’s at a cafe or on a train or bus. I’m not going to let my feet suffer because someone might get “offended”.
The Author’s Arguments Against Flip-Flops
- “They’re unsightly, unhygienic, and unfit for public display”
- “it’s grossing the rest of us out”
- “flip-flops connote a sort of half-dressed slatternliness, a sense that the wearer has forgotten to do anything at all with his or her body from the ankles down”
- flip-flops don’t provide foot support
Feet can get dirty when wearing flip-flops, but there is an easy solution — just wash your feet with soap and water when you get home. In contrast, closed shoes are smelly, filled with bacteria, and they never get washed. If you think that your feet are clean after tightly wrapping them inside of foul shoes for eight hours, you are mistaken.
Closed shoes are dirtier than flip-flops.
“I’m the one that’s got to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” –Jimi Hendrix
The argument that flip-flops are not the correct fashion is ridiculous. If you get offended by my flip-flops, the problem is you. Flip-flops are an active choice, not “slatternliness”. There is no way that I can take into account everyone’s pet peeves. 🙂
I don’t know what to make of the foot support issue. I don’t leave my feet hanging over the edge of my flip-flops, and I keep an eye on the ground.
The human foot evolved without needing foot support. I don’t know if flip-flops alter the natural functioning of the foot. I try to be conscious of how I walk though.
There are legitimate arguments against wearing flip-flops for health reasons. You do have to watch where you are stepping. If you wear them incorrectly, like letting your heels hang over the edge, they might not be good for the feet.
Also, before you criticize flip-flops for health reasons, be sure that you don’t wear high heels, because that would be hypocritical.
If you don’t like flip-flops, don’t wear them. For everyone else, don’t let anyone try to bully you about what you can or cannot wear. 🙂