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Old 05-14-2019, 10:37 AM
Johnny L.A. is offline
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Zōri vs. flip-flops


When I was little, we called flip-flops 'zories'; probably because we'd lived in Japan and wore zōri. I still call them that, probably because of my childhood, and because I wear actual zōri (these ones, in Summer.)

Do you use 'zōri' and 'flip-flop' interchangeably, even though they're different?
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post

Do you use 'zōri' and 'flip-flop' interchangeably, even though they're different?
Nope. Never heard the term "zori."
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:40 AM
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Never heard the term "zori." I've probably only seen the sort of footwear you linked to a handful of times, outside of movies or TV shows set in Japan.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:42 AM
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I like zoris and wear then when I get motivated to find them, but I never knew the name until today, I just go into a Japanese import store and pick them out.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:43 AM
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I like zoris and wear then when I get motivated to find them, but I never knew the name until today, I just go into a Japanese import store and pick them out.
Now you have a link.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:47 AM
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I've never heard "zori". I call them flip-flops now, but in my childhood in Chicago we called them "thongs".
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:50 AM
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I call them flip-flops now, but in my childhood in Chicago we called them "thongs".
I've heard them called thongs, of course; but I've never called them that myself.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:54 AM
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I've never heard the term, but I wore them when in Japan.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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Later in college, we started giving them more specific names, like "JK flip-flop" and "dual-edge-triggered D flip-flop".
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:28 AM
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My Mother called them 'eedie-wops' because of the sound they make when you walk in them. Never knew she made it up til I was in highschool. Daddy called them 'shower shoes"

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 05-14-2019 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:33 AM
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Daddy called them 'shower shoes"
I wore 'shower shoes' (which we called 'zories' or 'flip-flops') when I lived in Lancaster. The goatheads would go right through them. Ouch.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:44 AM
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To me, they are zoris, because I lived on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei for three years and that's where I started wearing them. Zoris are ubiquitous in Micronesia and I assume the name "zori" is a result of Japanese influence.

Now I live on Hawaii and it's hard to know what to call them. People call them "slippers" (pronounced "slippahs") here but it feels a bit pretentious for me to follow suit, like I'm pretending to be a local when I'm not. My natural inclination is just to call them zoris but people don't know what that means. I guess I should say "flipflops" - that doesn't come naturally to me either, but at least people will know what I mean and that's the term I heard as a kid so it makes some kind of sense for me to use it.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Do you use 'zōri' and 'flip-flop' interchangeably, even though they're different?
I don't use the term zori - flipflops is the term I grew up with, but relatives from Baltimore* routinely called them zories. The terms were interchangeable for the rubbery plastic things that kids(and some adults) wore. If I had seen some like in your link I would call them expensive flipflops.

*I had to translate a lot of Bawlmerese to my friends
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:51 PM
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And Johnny L.A. triggers another flashback!

Zories were definitely part of my childhood until they were replaced by thongs. Specifically the black rubber ones with the multi color striped heels. Flip flops was not in my vocabulary.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:53 PM
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As a very rough estimate, I've heard them called



Flip flops 98% of the time

Thongs 2% of the time

Zori 0% of the time



But honestly, they aren't something that I've heard much of at all (or worn myself) since the early 1980s.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:02 PM
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They were almost exclusively called thongs when I was a youngster. In a book I read that was published close to the year of my birth (1960) the main character described people wearing thong sandals. The first time I ever heard anyone call them "flip flops" was when Margaritaville came out. The Wikipedia article claims without citation that they've been called flip-flops in the US since the 60s. The article has no citations older than 1996 (the one link dated 1957 turns out to be improperly cited. It's a recent (2017ish) article that says the name "jandal" was trademarked in New Zealand in 1957)

The comments on this page include several people from across the US agreeing that they were called thongs in the US in the 60s.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:11 PM
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We sold them in the 60s. They were called thongs, though we'd know what you meant if you said "Zorie" or "flipflop."
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:21 PM
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The Wikipedia article claims without citation that they've been called flip-flops in the US since the 60s.
Personal citation: When we weren't calling them zories, we called them flip-flops in the late-'60s.

Also, one or both of my parents would occasionally call them 'go-aheads'.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:24 PM
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I'm from Hawaii, so they're slippahs to me. I refer to "flip-flops" as the F word.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:26 PM
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I grew up in Texas during the 1960s, and we nearly always called them thongs. The rest of the time we referred to them by a racist name that I do not care to repeat in my mature years.

I never heard them called flip flops until maybe the 1980s, but now it's ubiquitous. I never heard the term zorie until today.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:52 PM
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Definitely "slippahs" or "rubbah slippahs" in Hawaii. If you ask for flip-flops, you've outed yourself as a mainlander. And if you ask for zories, you'll likely be shown traditional straw zori. I've never heard it used before or since, but my cousin's friends from the Philippines called them "poppers".

In the 70's we also had "kamabuko" or "rainbow slippahs". Similar to this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/490329...49299/?lp=true, but with more colored layers and much higher, up to 1" plus.

And of course, you're living large if you have Scott slippahs https://www.zappos.com/p/scott-hawai...ntent=24150944, made with harder layered rubber and cloth (nylon?) straps. They take a while to wear in (the straps are really tight in the beginning), but compared to regular slippahs, these were prime. Some people even wear them for going out. Too formal for regular slippahs, too informal for covered shoes.

Last edited by lingyi; 05-14-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:55 PM
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And of course, you're living large if you have Scott slippahs https://www.zappos.com/p/scott-hawai...ntent=24150944, made with harder layered rubber and cloth straps.
Those look like the ones I wear when I'm not wearing the straw zories. I don't know what brand mine are; Mrs. L.A. bought them for me a few years ago. I bought the similar ones before that from REI.
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:14 PM
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I think Scott Hawaii had some kind of patent on the design (two my aunts worked for the company and may have told me) until the '80's or so, because they were the only ones (at leas in Hawaii) that had that particular design. I have a pair that I haven't used in years, because I haven't broken them in yet. But, ahhh...once broken in, they're heaven to walk in compared to regular rubber slippers. The only downside is they're heavier and takes a bit more effort to walk in.

Also, stay away from the leather topped ones. Your foot slips when they get wet and they absorb foot odor.

Last edited by lingyi; 05-14-2019 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:17 PM
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I grew up in Texas during the 1960s, and we nearly always called them thongs. The rest of the time we referred to them by a racist name that I do not care to repeat in my mature years.

I never heard them called flip flops until maybe the 1980s, but now it's ubiquitous. I never heard the term zorie until today.
Same here, except I had heard the term "zorie" before. Not commonly, but it was a known noun. Was the racist name "J-F?" I haven't heard that one in decades, and, as it turns out, from my relatives in Texas.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:40 PM
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My friends and I also called them "zoris" not flip-flops. This was in the late 50s/early 60s. We were military brats living on-base, so maybe it was because there were people around who had lived in Hawaii and/or Japan.
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Old 05-14-2019, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Darren Garrison View Post
As a very rough estimate, I've heard them called



Flip flops 98% of the time

Thongs 2% of the time

Zori 0% of the time



But honestly, they aren't something that I've heard much of at all (or worn myself) since the early 1980s.

Pretty much Darren nails it for me. Growing up on the Great Plains, I heard thongs 90+% but after reaching the cities and the rest of the country, flip flops dominate. Although in college I did hear them called "shower shoes" fairly frequently even outside of the dorm. But I have until this thread never heard of a zori.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I wore 'shower shoes' (which we called 'zories' or 'flip-flops') when I lived in Lancaster. The goatheads would go right through them. Ouch.
Or melt to the street/pavement/parking lot when it was over 100 or so
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:58 PM
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I just remembered. I recall people calling them rubber zories growing up. These were usually older people who still lived in plantation homes or children who grew up in them. I think my grandparents called them rubber zories, never just zorie or zori. Makes sense since in my mind, proper zori are the traditional straw mat type.

Calling them rubber zories as a youngster would get you laughed at though, at least where I grew up which was in Metro Honolulu. It implied that you were a 'country hick", versus being a 'townie" as we were called by them. Yeah, we were jerks as kids! Still, that was as bad as it got.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:06 PM
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My family calls zori, "zori" because we speak in Japanese. We call flip-flops sandels because "flip-flops" sounds strange in Japanese.

Growing up they were "thongs."
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:20 PM
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Or melt to the street/pavement/parking lot when it was over 100 or so
That is why one needs to invest in something (wood, leather, rubber ...) beyond the cheapest foam sandals if one is going to walk around town or though thorns wearing them. The cheapest foam ones can get torn even in the shower.

Quote:
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Makes sense since in my mind, proper zori are the traditional straw mat type.
Are those waraji-type pure straw sandals that popular? The straw mat type sandals I see around still have a rubber or foam sole.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:25 PM
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Albuquerque in the fifties. We called them thongs. The neighbors across the back wall called them zories.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:32 PM
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Chicago in the 70's and we called them zories.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:01 PM
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My kids and I call them zoris after having been stationed in Guam for 5 years. We all have at least four pairs; shower shoes, every day wear, semi-formal, and formal . I grew up on the border in south Texas, and we called them flip-flops unless they were being thrown (or we were being chased by an angry typically female relative), in which case they were "chankalas."
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:21 PM
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50's kid, San Diego. Zories. Never heard them called anything else by family or friends. No military or Japanese friends or family. But it was San Diego.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:57 PM
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I'm amazed by the number of people who called them zories.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:19 PM
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FWIW: Navy brat, Yokosuka, San Diego, mid-'60s.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:50 PM
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Another Navy brat who lived at Wahiawa for a couple of years as well as San Diego--I remember "Zoris" being used as a generic term for flip flop-type footwear.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:30 PM
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My parents called them zoris. New York, not military, not Japanese, 1960s.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:42 PM
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That is why one needs to invest in something (wood, leather, rubber ...) beyond the cheapest foam sandals if one is going to walk around town or though thorns wearing them. The cheapest foam ones can get torn even in the shower.


Are those waraji-type pure straw sandals that popular? The straw mat type sandals I see around still have a rubber or foam sole.
I haven't seen waraji zori except as decoration. I don't remember what type of soles the zori my grandparents had were made of, but since this was the 60's, I assume rubber.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:31 AM
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"Zories" sounds familiar. We also called them "beach walkers" in the 50's, in LA.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:39 AM
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Definitely "slippahs" or "rubbah slippahs" in Hawaii. If you ask for flip-flops, you've outed yourself as a mainlander.
Serious question: is being a mainlander something you look down on? If not, why would you refer to it as "outing"?
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:57 AM
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Southern Ontario, 1960s: they were flip-flops. Never heard of "zories" until this thread.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:12 AM
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IN the 60s in western Pennsylvania I called them thongs as did most people. Flip-Flops was a term used by some, and we all knew what they meant. There was one family that called them zories, and for some reason the members of that family constantly found reasons to say the word. When I reminisce about that family, I remember them constantly talking about zories.
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:55 AM
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They're called thongs here in Australia. Most people would know that Americans call them "flip-flops" but no one would use the term here without irony.

In New Zealand, they're called jandals. Which comes from a marketing term and is a contraction of "Japanese Sandals".
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:38 AM
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Also, one or both of my parents would occasionally call them 'go-aheads'.
My mom still calls them that occasionally.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:51 AM
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The Google Ngram viewer shows that "flip-flop" started being more popular than "thong" in the mid-50s. "Zorie" was not commonly used.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:21 AM
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We called them zoris in 1962-ish suburban New Jersey. We went to a progressive private school, which may have influenced our word choice, or it may have been more widespread. Never really heard of other people using the term since then.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:45 AM
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I've never heard "zori". I call them flip-flops now, but in my childhood in Chicago we called them "thongs".
Same
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:38 AM
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Serious question: is being a mainlander something you look down on? If not, why would you refer to it as "outing"?
Fair question.

I can already see the cries of "racist!", but as homogenized as Hawaii is with it's multi-ethic mix, there's a still an "Us", kama'aina (those who were born or lived here for an extended period here) and "Them", malahine (newcomers) attitude. It has nothing to do with race or color. I have cousins who were born and raised in the mainland who are "mainlanders".

I've been slammed on a couple of other threads for discussing how in Hawaii we make fun of different races or malahine, but it's in good spirits without intent to hurt or harm, and is what allows us to live together. It was in this spirit that I posted: "If you ask for flip-flops, you've outed yourself as a mainlander."
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:02 PM
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I remember knowing them as "thongs" when I was a child (Los Angeles in the '70s), with "flip-flops" being used more and more commonly before completely replacing the term around the late '80s (I believe "thong" is now used almost exclusively to describe the undergarment, thanks in no small part to "The Thong Song"). Like Johnny L.A., I also had some family members who liked to call them "go-aheads", because just try walking backwards in them!

As to "zori", never heard the word before seeing this thread. When I read the title, I thought it was referring to some new kind of footwear that is an alternative to flip-flops.
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