As anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Gilmore Girls can tell you, the early 2000s were a dark time for fashion. It was a period of peasant tops and puffy vests, pleather jackets and capri pants, lacy leggings and and jean skirts. It was also the age of flip flops. Horrible, awful, abundant flip flops. Flip flops galore. Take a stroll down memory lane with me (if you can even walk in those shoes), and let’s revisit every awkward way we wore flip flops in the 2000s.
1. Flip flops from “the cool store.”
My middle school’s Rules Of Coolness stated that your clothes were only really acceptable if they came from American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, or Victoria’s Secret. I had a pair of flop flops with pink and white stripes on them (in the VS tradition), and they were some of my favorite shoes. Get it? Because they came from a lingerie store? Which proved that I was sexy and mature?
2. Bamboo flip flops.
These flip flops basically scream “I know I’m wearing these in a ninth grade hallway somewhere in the middle of the country, but trust me, I just got done walking on the beach. I don’t know where I found a beach, but that’s the truth.” Who cares if they caused gnarly blisters? They were COOL.
3. “Sexy” flip flops.
Take a cheap board of foam, throw some leopard print or glitter on it, and sell it to impressionable teenagers as something “sexy.” Why not? There’s absolutely nothing sexier than dollar store shoes!
4. White flip flops.
These were just a horrible idea, from beginning to end. They were always covered in weird stains, your heels always left a dark and ominous imprint in them, and they just looked cheaper and grosser than all the others. I had like five pairs.
5. Flip flops in every color imaginable.
I don’t know if Old Navy still does their buy-one-get-one deal every summer, but I used to live for that sale. You could get a pair of flip flops in every color of the rainbow! For like three dollars! That’s necessary!
6. “Fancy” flip flops.
Who cares if I’m wearing beach shoes with a nice dress? These ones are made of fake leather. That makes them fancy. That makes them legit. I’m basically Princess Diana right now.
7. Giant ass flower flip flops.
Don’t listen to that tutorial in your teen girl magazine. It doesn’t matter if you can make these custom flip flops in ten minutes with materials available at your local craft store. It’s not worth it. Wearing these will never be worth it.
Click through to the next page for even more awful flip flops!
8. Beaded flip flops.
How do you make cheap foam shoes even more uncomfortable? Put some sharp pieces of plastic (or metal!) around the part that rubs against the top of your foot. At least they’ll be stylish! Kind of!
9. Printed flip flops.
You know what outfits in the early 2000s needed more of? Gaudy prints. Dramatic patterns. Color combinations that didn’t make any sense. We were really lacking in those departments.
10. “Fashion” flip flops.
And, of course, everyone’s favorite pair: the “stylish” flip flops. They were kind of like high quality sandals, but with none of the support or comfort. They were kind of like cheap throw-away flip flops, but you had to take care of them like real shoes. Basically, all the worst parts of… everything. Why did we let this trend happen?
All photos via Shutterstock