It has come to our attention that the issue of flip flops is highly divisive in Miami.
It’s not an explosive subject in Tampa and Tallahassee, where flip flops are more or less formal wear. But here? Forget politics, religion, sports loyalties, the U.S. Civil War and arguments over who will rule Westeros when “Game of Thrones” ends. The question of flip flops can tear families apart, make enemies out of friends and destroy the very fabric of unity, respect and civility in our fair city.
The sides can be neatly summed up by our two experts:
Chloe: Flip flops are trash and so are you for wearing them.
Connie: It is my God given right as a native Floridian to wear flip flops anywhere I want.
These views are obviously extreme but, as with all footwear, flip flops are situational. So we decided to ask a few questions about when it’s appropriate to show some toe.
Can you wear flip flops to the beach?
Chloe: Everyone can wear flip flops on the beach — even the thong kind. If your toes aren’t done, just stick them in the sand.
Connie: What else would you wear to the beach, your Louboutins? Not that I own Louboutins. Flip flops are cheaper plus you can actually walk in them.
Can you run errands in flip flops?
Chloe: I seriously consider the nail salon an errand. It’s basically a bi-weekly chore mixed in with a little spa treatment. So go get your toes cute, girl. I won’t judge you if you have to wear the flimsy, paper-thin flip flops they give you when you forget to bring your own sandals. But once your nails dry, put on some proper footwear. No one wants to hear the flip-flap of your dirt-cheap thong sandals.
Connie: Absolutely. Even if you’re not getting a pedicure. A trip to CVS doesn’t require your best look.
What about the club?
Chloe: Don’t even try it. Most clubs have a dress code. Most people have dignity. This wouldn’t be much different than the barefoot women I see at night on South Beach. Spanish speakers call them pata sucia. I’m not so nice.
Connie: What’s a club?
Can you get away with wearing flip flops to work?
Chloe: Only if you work at a flip-flop store… and even then I won’t take you seriously.
Connie: Absolutely. It is a proven fact that upper management can’t distinguish sandals from flip flops, plus they are generally more interested in other things, like why you keep calling in sick on Mondays and why everyone refuses to throw their toxic lunch leftovers out of that malodorous office refrigerator.
What if your date shows up wearing flip flops?
Chloe: Break up immediately. (How would you explain this at your wedding? To your grandchildren?!)
Connie: That depends. Is my date male or female? Has he/she had a pedicure in recent memory? Where are we going? Are they nice flip flops or those flimsy ones you buy at Dollar Tree? Also is he/she going to pay for dinner and spring for a good bottle of wine?
That reminds us: Can men wear flip flops?
Chloe: Men, I never want to see your feet. Ever. You ever noticed how Miami men rarely wear flip flops? Let’s keep it that way.
Connie: I believe in equality for all the people of the earth so I’m going with yes, although, seriously, guys, a little grooming goes a long way.
Can you wear socks with flip flops?
Chloe: Yes. I’ve witnessed men pair sandals with socks, and guess what? I’m not mad at ya.
Connie: You wear socks with flip flops, I’M gonna be mad at ya. Or at least think you look like a fool.
Can you wear them to a concert?
Chloe: In North Florida, sure. But we have standards down here.
Connie: Of course. Even if you’re going to see Beyonce. Because nobody is looking at your feet when Beyonce is on stage.
Can I wear these to the opera?
Chloe: Can this be over???
Connie: Sure! Glittery plastic brings the fancy.
Is there such thing as a formal flip flop?
Connie: Yes. There is a great, wide world of flip flops out there, from the flimsy to the supportive. Somewhere in that range, there are formal flip flops. Just ask the people in Tampa.
What if you have ugly feet?
Chloe: First, handle your feet. Then cover them puppies up.
Connie: Should we footshame those whose toes are less than perfect? No. It is their right to enjoy the freedom that flip flops bring.
Chloe: The flip flop is the least-worn shoe style in Miami and I have some theories about why that’s the case:
- They’re uncomfortable
- They’re annoying (to wear and witness)
- They’re generally cheaply made
Miami’s casual shoe of choice is an open-toe sandal. Check any woman’s closet, and we can bet there will be at least three pairs. It only makes sense, though. It’s hot year round here. We don’t have a real autumn or winter, so boots aren’t a priority. And we don’t have a legitimate public transit system, so the comfort of sneakers isn’t mandatory.
But chancletas are for abuelas (and they will beat you if you leave the house in flip flops).
Connie: You can have my flip flops when you pry them from my cold, dead feet.