(photo by Tim Jaynes, staff)
Wearing the summer footwear never looked so cool.
Yesterday's solid colored toe shoes have been replaced by literally everything under the sun, featuring every color, texture and jewel imaginable.
Sharon Curtis can remember when thongs were no more than a plain sandal worn basically because they were easy to slip on and off. Now they're designed to stand out in a crowd.
Although JC Penney's visual merchandise manager said these days almost anything goes, Curtis said red, white and blue flip-flops seem to be the most popular right now.
"Flip-flips are just more stylish than in the past and all ages are wearing them now, whether it's a child or an adult," she noted. "I think aside from the many styles they have today, one of the biggest changes in flip-flops is the padding. What used to be maybe a fourth of an inch thick is now an inch or more. It's quite a difference. The thick ones are really popular right now, too."
Megan Looney can't get over how different flip-flops look today as opposed to the ones she remembers. "I just wore cheap flip-flops, the ones with the color just around the rim. They were just cheap foot attire that kept you out of the sticker patch. Now they're all jazzy. You've got stacks, the really flat ones and even astroturf," she laughed. "I've also seen some with sequins on them, they're really cool."
Ashley Gantner is the proud owner of half a dozen pairs of flip-flops and actually wouldn't mind having more in her closet to choose from.
But ownership of today's flip-flops involves more that simply sliding them on. After all, there is proper flip-flop-wearing etiquette, as Gantner was happy to point out.
"They have to go with your outfit," advised the 17-year-old. "And the brighter the better."
Some find the strap that separates the big toe from its neighbor uncomfortable, but Gantner said it doesn't bother her. She suggests making sure they feel comfortable before purchasing them and then wearing them a couple of days to get used to them.
"I make sure they're comfortable right at first, before I buy them," she said. "I have everything from flip-flops with flags on them to some with flowers. My favorite pair has jewels on them."
And for her final piece of advice for flip-flop wearers, Gantner recommended "getting as many pairs of flip-flops as you can."