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From Thetimesonline.com

Classy foot-baring styles are a shoe-in for summer (sarah michelle gellar mention)

By Catherine Fitzpatrick

Saturday 3 July 2004, by Webmaster

In the beginning, they were the lowliest of footwear. Cheap and rubbery. Pancake-flat and squishy.

But comfortable. Incredibly comfortable.

Rubber flip-flops made their debut in 1962 on the legendary beaches of Brazil. Soon they were leaving footprints on sandy shores from Maine to California.

Back then, nobody who planned to stay dry wore flip-flops. Nobody going to the office or the movies. Nobody going to church. The shoes were too beachy, too bare.

Besides, flops were hardly fine, hand-crafted footwear. In fact, they had the appearance of a product that was extruded from a machine, like dollops of soft-serve ice cream.

Shoe stores refused to stoop to the level of thongs (a word with a whole new connotation today). And so the simple rubber shoes were left to dangle from wire display trees at gas stations, or settle into tangled lumps in Walgreens’ end-of-the-aisle bins. No shoe box, no crisp tissue nor thoughtful moisture-control packet mitigated the banality of the purchase.

Shuffling along in flip-flops was a novel experience, however. Rather like walking on smashed marshmallows, which would have been delightful except that each step required a fresh toe-grip and was accompanied by a slapping sound.

As summer waned, those early slip-sliders discarded their footwear without a twinge of guilt. Eventually, the lowly rubber thong fell from grace.

But fashion is cyclical, down to its very sole. Note the return of ankle-strap pumps and pointy-toe stilettos, ballet flats, Hush Puppies and Dr. Scholls.

Now it’s the flip-flop’s turn to be elevated — in more ways than one.

Wear them anywhere Dressed up with silk flowers and shimmering beads, done up in everything from denim to brocade, rising from platforms thick as life rafts, flops are this summer’s wear-everywhere shoe. In the coming months, they’ll be waltzing confidently into places once deemed too dignified for anything less than an espadrille, canvas mule or pretty darn nice leather sandal.

Brides will waltz down the aisle in thongs. (The shoes.)

Career women will walk into meetings in thongs. (Ditto.)

Thongs will go to the movies. Thongs will go to brunch.

Flip-flops have become all things to all feet. And why not? They are an homage to the well-buffed heel, a breath of fresh air to the winter-weary arch, an ode to the pedicured toe.

The season’s freshest footwear comes in every incarnation under the sun.

A pair of baby pink flops features bra strap hardware, satin strips, a pink Ultrasuede foot bed and chocolate brown sole. It’s $42 at FlipFlopTrunkshow.com.

Clear PVC jelly flops by Sanuk have a "massaging Astroturf" foot bed.

Designer fare High fashion houses, naturally, are hot on the trail of the trend. Jimmy Choo, Helmut Lang and Hermes make designer thongs.

And designer thongs make news.

Bulletin: Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison (known in the shoe world by their last names) have perfected the world’s first rubber flip-flop with a low, slender, kitten heel. It comes in seven colors and sells like hotcakes for about $85 a pair. The company reportedly shipped 300 pairs to its New York store this spring, and the flops were snapped up in three hours. Women burst into tears when told that the store had run out.

Bulletin: This year’s Oscar nominees received treat bags containing hip Havaianas flip flops.

Bulletin: Sarah Michelle Gellar wore white Havaianas flops with her Yves Saint Laurent wedding dress.

Bulletin: A Denmark supermarket chain got into hot water by selling flops that featured the images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. After a flood of complaints from priests, bishops and ministers, and after a local Catholic parish filed formal charges of blasphemy, store executives withdrew the line.

Ah, what would life be without the occasional flip-flop flap?

Like capris and tank tops, bikinis and sarongs, flops are destined to be an integral part of the summer scene.

So go ahead — expose those toes.

In other words, flop till you drop.

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