Breaking News: Flip-Flops Are Not Shoes

What about these say "shoes" to you?

It’s that horrible time of year again when people think it’s appropriate to wear flip-flops in public as if they’re shoes. They are not shoes, they are flip-flops. Shoes do not make a flippity-floppity sort of sound when you walk, and if they do it’s probably for some sort of dramatic effect so people will pay attention to your feet and the fabulous shoes that grace them.

As with all pieces of fashion, there is a time and place for everything. Am I sitting here in a full-length gown? No. Do I want to? Yes. But I am not because that’s not how shit works. You can’t sit at a desk wearing a full-length gown even if the gown is by Alexander McQueen. Do you know how offended my co-workers would be that I thought I was that fancy a person to just traipse about the world as if always ready to attend the Met Gala? While I’m not sure exactly how offended, but I imagine on a scale from one to ten, it would be somewhere around nine.

If you were to look up the term “flip-flops” you will find these two words most commonly associated with the footwear: simple and casual. These two adjectives are meant for things that involve romps in the park, beach days and barbecues in a backyard in a small town in the middle of nowhere where wolves are the host. This is not an opinion, this is a fact.

While I do own one pair of flip-flops, I have worn them once after my ankles were so damaged in blisters from some lovely new shoes, that I had no choice. I may be a masochist when it comes to my love life, but when it comes to my feet, it’s another story–so I wasn’t about to go for round two and fuck them up even more. Yes, I wore these flip-flops in public against my better judgement and for everything for which I stand, but I also wore dark sunglasses and a large-brimmed hat so as to conceal my identity should I run into someone I knew. However, I was lucky that day; I ran into no one. The flip-flops still remain in my closet just in case I have a nervous breakdown and stop caring. That will also be the day I’ll buy my first pair of sweatpants (which are not pants, despite the name), change my name to Helen and run away.

To quote the great Tom Ford: “A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.” This goes for men, women and children, people! Ford is also a man who does not condone white socks, so basically he and I are on the same page when it comes to many fashion-related items.

In case Tom and I have not convinced you, perhaps these photos will help.

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    • Rachel

      Would you rather I wore lace-up white Reeboks during my 1 mile walk to work?

      • Amanda Chatel

        Well, Working Girl was a really great movie…

      • C

        @Rachel : Yes.

    • Maggie

      I can’t believe how much you hate flip flops, I find them so comfortable and wear them literally from as soon as the snow is gone til the leave are falling, obviously I don’t wear them to work, but I pretty much wear them everywhere else. But I understand that some people hate and are disgusted by feet, but i have nice toes

      • Amanda Chatel

        I have nice toes, too. I also knew that this would rile up more than a few!

        Favorite comment so far:
        “Most dumb as fuck post in the history of ever.”

    • Ella Jane

      there is a technical term for those dirty feet, and it is wonderful: grocery store feet. use it. not only does it beautifully evoke how fucking dirty those feet are, it also brings on images of someone who is so fucking disgusting that they wander around grocery stores barefoot.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Can we high-five on this one, Ella Jane?

    • Megan

      Wow, you must be from the East Coast. I wear flip flops YEAR ROUND. And fyi, they are shoes. Most dumb as fuck post in the history of ever.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Ever? Wow! I had no idea this mini-rant of mine would be make history! Thanks!

      • Anaïs

        Sarcasm! It’s a thing! Get it??

    • yiraf

      OK well for the first positive fucking comment… YES thank you. I agree. I do not own flip-flops nor do I think they are necessary as an article of clothing. if you are hot or in the city or it’s summer or all of the above just wear some cute sandals why the hell would you ever need to wear flip-slops??! (yes, Slops). They are cheap looking and can ruin any outfit. I get the americana thing but it’s gross laziness I tell you!

      • Alexandra

        I have a very thin feet so sandals don’t fit… My feet slip through the front. S:

    • Melissa

      Wow this is an absolutely ridiculous post! It must really be an east coast thing because ask anyone in California and flip flips ARE most definitely, shoes. When it’s 100 degrees outside and I have to run errands you better believe I’m not putting on regular shoes. I will admit that not all flip flops are created equal and obviously there are places that flip flips are unacceptable such as the office, a wedding or any formal event, etc. Flip flops are so prevalent here and I have so many of them and it is so NORMAL for everyone to wear them that it’s baffling that someone could hate them so much. I can understand the ranting about Uggs (even though I wear them) because they are God-awful ugly, but flip flops? Seriously?

      • C

        Immediate loss of credibility when commenting on a fashion blog post: You wear Uggs. Enough said.

      • Melissa

        Hey I admitted they are hideous! I don’t wear them for fashion purposes I wear them for warmth purposes when it’s raining, in the show (they are waterproofed), etc. and also for lazy purposes. Excuse me for not being fashionable at all times! This must mean I don’t know anything about anything. Please please forgive me.

      • Melissa

        Snow, obviously, not show. Also just because something is considered “ugly” doesn’t mean I should stop using or wearing it. Function outweighs fashion sometimes (lots of times).

      • Amanda Chatel

        My sister wears both Uggs and flip-flops incessantly… she was the inspiration behind all this.

        I will say I tried on her Uggs once, and fuck… they were comfy! Then I took them off and told her if she ever told anyone what had just happened, I’d eat her first born.

    • yiraf

      I would like to add the caveat that flip-flops MIGHT be acceptable if you are traipsing post-club wasted at 5am down the alleys of some forbidden city with only the dim rays of light accompanying you on your dazed walk home… but no not even then really.

    • porkchop

      I’ve worn flip-flops in public, but that was with the knowledge that it was in SPECTACULARLY bad taste.

      This is curlers-in-public, exposed-bra territory.

      A pretty person doing it does not make it pretty.

      It’s only okay if you can’t afford shoes.

    • Aj

      To the comments below, please stop blaming this fuckery on the East Coast. I was born and raised here and you’ll have to pry my flip flops from my cold dead feet before I stop wearing them.

      But seriously, I hope this article is a joke and you really don’t waste this much energy freaking out on something so simple as a flip flop that you’re not even wearing. I know this is a fashion blog, but damn.

    • Claire

      Being that judgmental must be exhausting!

      • tunuba

        indeed it must be! i totally agree with you claire.

    • Maggie

      Jennifer Aniston seems to like them and she looks put together

    • Amy

      TRUE STORY. I know someone who’s big toes were cut off by a lawnmower when he slipped in dog crap while cutting grass with a lawnmower. He was wearing flip flops.

      Real shoes save toes, people.

    • MM

      I hate flip-flops with a passion. And men wearing flip-flops are like, 9th level of fashion sinner hell. I live in Vancouver where it never even gets that hot in the summer but some men still feel it necessary to break out the cargo shorts and flip-flops in April.

      • Anaïs

        Cargo shorts AND flip flops? I don’t even. No. Just, no.

    • Kai

      I’ll make you a deal: I’ll stop wearing flip flops in public when you stop subjecting the public to your hideous man face.

    • JayKay

      As a college student from California, I wear flip flops out in public regularly. But hey, it’s really hot and I live by the coast so it’s extremely common, especially during the summer. I think it look less weird when everyone is doing it. And I have a nice pair of Rainbows…can they count as shoes since they cost $50?

      • Emmie

        Yeah, I’m similarly an LA girl and wear flip-flops 9 times out of 10. Not all flip-flops make that awful sound and look so cheap. For being so simple, my Rainbows actually provide some sole support, are cushiony and quiet, and don’t look tacky in the slightest.

    • C

      Let’s stop using the “I live in California and it’s really hot here and everyone wears them” excuse. I’ve lived in California my entire life and yes, I’ve worn flip-flops…when I was in middle school and clueless. BUT as an adult, I’ve learned that there are many non-flip flop shoe options (cute sandals! cute flats! etc!) that are just as comfortable and a lot more appealing to the eye.

      also, they’re just flip flops, calm down. This is just a funny opinion piece. Obviously people can wear whatever they want, but flip flops are indeed ugly and there are in fact other options that qualify as actual shoes. Just sayin’.

      Great post, Amanda Chatel!

      • Amanda Chatel

        Thanks, C!

        But according to Kai down there, I have a “hideous man face…” What’s the point of a good post if you’ve got a “man face!?!”

        PS. Thanks for getting the joke on this post… some people are so serious!

      • Alexandra

        I have yet to discover such a thing as comfortable sandals…
        I agree that flipflops have no place at work, but to hang out? I don’t get the problem…

    • M -

      Hm, I don’t know. I would’ve agreed with you before, but I’ve got a pair which isn’t plastic/rubber and is with a nice design, so I think they look nice. Also, I hate wearing shoes with a passion, so flipflops are the closest to being shoeless as I can get.

    • N Anon

      So a lot of people here who are opposed to flip flops are commenting that there are alternatives, “like sandals”. I guess I am confused as to why sandals are seen as a completely different category of footwear from flip-flops, and just just wonder where the line is between acceptable/unaccpetable.. Just because an extra piece of material extends around the back of your ankle? Or are you only against the rubber-soled/foam-soled type flip flops, but leather ones with studs, braids, or some other form of embellishment are acceptable?

      • ktree

        I know, right? I’m in the middle of having to do a bunch of community service, and when I went to the library, I was wearing (plain black) Teva flip-flops, jeans and a hoodie from my school and they FREAKED OUT. Because part of the dress code is no flip-flops. You can wear sandals, but no flip flops. I was like, wtf, you wouldn’t even have noticed had I not told you.

    • Car

      I hate flip flops too. Those horrible plastic/foam ones are the worst! There’s definitely a place and time for them to be worn and that is at the beach or in your own yard! Real shoes are not that hard to put on, so stop being lazy people!

    • Hannah

      Crocs are worse.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Oh my fucking god! I totally agree! My sister bought Crocs for my nephews because they’re little guys and she claims that they’re “easy” to put on and for them to walk in… but ah!

        However, the best part is my nephew Jackson can’t pronounce “Crocs” very well… instead, he wants to wear his “Cocks.”

    • J

      This article is ridiculous. Are zori not shoes to you either? Or any shoes that don’t fit your close-minded view of what is right and proper footwear for that matter?

    • Kate

      I don’t wear flip flops because I’m super opposed to having things jammed in between my toes, but this is kind of ridiculous. Flip flops are fine if you want to wear them.

      The only thing that pisses me off is when people walk around barefoot. I live in an area infested with dirty dirty hippies, I got dinner tonight with my boyfriend and saw one of them walking around the urban-ish downtown area without shoes. IT’S FUCKING GROSS. PUT SOME SHOES ON YOU DIRTY DIRTY PEACE LOVING BUM.

    • Kj

      Y U so racist, AChat?!

      Here in the Canadas, we just want the chance to air out our poor feet, which have been cooped up in massive winter boots for the past 8.5 months (Well, maybe not this winter, but usually). Sometimes it’s nice to feel the air on our feet before another round of trudging through the snow.

      You fancy-schmancy New Yorkers with your “closed toe footwear” couldn’t possibly get it.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Do you know what racist even means? Because I’m quite certain it does not pertain to footwear.

        And for your information, I’m wearing open-shoe (toes exposed!) heels at this very moment… so there.

        PS. In the future, please research possible insults before trying to use them… you just make yourself look silly otherwise.

        PPS. “Y” and “U” are not words. Thanks in advance.

      • Sam

        Um, I’m pretty certain the Canadian was joking. You know, like this article was?

      • Amanda Chatel

        Well sometimes it’s hard to tell… as we’ve witnessed with this article! I’m just as easily confused as anyone else!

        (I’m yelling with glee, not anger.)

    • J(e)n

      I live in Ca… I wear flip flops as much as possible.. I am going to say about 9-10 months out of the year. Don’t hate, be jealous.

      p.s. I agree with all of your issues with them, but they are still glorious!

      p.p.s. The dirty feet, and pedicure destroying is by far the worst of flip flop wearing.

      • Amanda Chatel

        THANK YOU! So few missed the point/sarcasm!

    • NotThumper

      Ummm humor or not why do the commentors care what people think of their footwear choices?
      What someone else views as fashionable is usually hideous to me and I am sure vice versa so seriously people, lighten the eff up!

      From the New England girl who wears flip-flops AND Ugg knock-offs and doesn’t give a shit what anyone has to say about it. :)

      • Amanda Chatel

        This fellow New Englander, couldn’t agree with you more…

        I wanted to spark conversation, and… wow… this did.

      • NotThumper

        Well high-five there fellow New Englander! ;)

    • Elizabeth

      But then how will I get home from my pedicure?

      • chatel.amanda@gmail.coma

        Good point! This is the only time that this is acceptable!

    • Editor-in-Chief of

      OMG! We completely agree!!!


    • tunuba

      howing our toes reminds us that we are animals and we don’t like that we’re afraid of that. simple. want to deny every thing that reminds us of our nature. besides, who are you to tell us what to wear and want to not wear? live and let live!

    • B

      There are many places in the world where flip flops are shoes (yes, like outside of the continental united states…..). In some places, think palm trees and beaches, we wear them year round. Flip flops in the grocery store, in restaurants, in clubs, on dates, in schools, I even wear them to work. You can keep your, “flip flops are not shoes!” opinion but think about it, when you live in some place truly awesome, don’t you want something that works with your environment?
      There are far worse things happening in footwear….crocs, uggs (especially in warm weather), did I mention crocs? Get over the flip flops.

    • Jo

      WOW. Can you say…”most ridiculous subject ever with loads of completely unnecessary, judgemental and prejudiced remarks”?

    • SO

      I wear flip-flops to the sauna, beach, pool, and at home. Or, if I’m getting home from the salon, and don’t want to ruin my pedi. I hate the noise they make, the way they look, the blisters you get at the top of your foot, etc. It makes me uncomfortable to see someone wearing them in public, let alone in the city. It’s like wearing your pajamas in public. Oh god.

    • Bama Girl

      I understand where you are coming from–flip flops are best left for the beach or pool, or padding around the house. Definitely not what comes to mind for office or formal attire. But since I now have extremely painful arthritis in my feet, and have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on high end (and low heel!) shoes and orthotics developed for arthritic feet, I have come to terms with the ONLY “shoes” that give me relief–Teva flip flops. Fortunately, I’m an elementary school librarian, so I can get away with a more casual look for work. Plus I live in the south and can wear them about 9-10 months out of the year. I suffer through formal events in my expensive heels, but I will never judge someone in flip flops again. Were it not for the dense cushion sole on my Teva flip flops, I might have given up and ended up in a wheel chair. All hail to my flip flops!

    • antlet

      I think there is a misunderstanding, it’s not a matter of flip flops being shoes or not.
      Sandals and boots are also not shoes but they can make an excellent footwear. A stylish boot or sandal is better than any ugly shoe.
      About flip flop I think it depends on their style.