Jandals

Get up yer crack

Get up yer crack!

In New Zealand, getting around in bare feet is considered cool – in a sort of sexy-Jesus meets pro-surfer way. It demonstrates how laid back, Eco, and generally unconcerned by commercialism or fashion Kiwis like to think they are.

To the rest of the world, though, it’s just something homeless people do.

In spite of the weather, many Kiwis would happily wear this vagrant look all year round. Unfortunately, there’s just too many fucking prickles in the grass. So the next best thing, and something of a cultural icon in New Zealand, is the humble Jandal.

Although the word Jandal is an abbreviation of ‘Japanese Sandal’, it is actually a trademark of the Skellerup company – one of the earliest manufacturers of the modern design – and, as such, is rarely used outside New Zealand.

Most other countries refer to them as ‘Flip Flops’, except in Australia, where they are called ‘Thongs’. Initially it was assumed the use of the word ‘Thong’ was yet another way for chauvinist Australian men to keep down the women of their country. Later analysis, even by researchers with strong feminist leanings, eventually agreed that it is probably more to do with the fact that Jandals really do look like G-Strings for the feet.

It is not, however, known for certain if Sisqo’s timeless 2000 hit ‘The Thong Song’ was actually a reference to footwear, not underwear. As a carefully worded warning about the dangers of an unchecked Camel’s Toe, the lyrics could comfortably (or rather, uncomfortably) apply to either.

Should you meet a friendly Australian on the feet-burning black sands of Piha beach in summer, therefore, don’t be alarmed if he tells you something along the lines of… “Struth mate, it’s so f**king hot I had to wear me sheila’s Thongs.”

Unless, of course, he is actually wearing two pairs of his girlfriend’s underwear. In that case, smile politely, and try to move on, remembering that it isn’t his fault he’s not right in the head.  He is, after all, only Australian.

There have, since the introduction of the Jandal in the 1950′s, been a number of pretenders to the breezy-footwear throne. Multi-strapped action sandals (as favoured by German tourists, usually worn over knee length white socks). Lesbian, chunky Birkenstocks. And more recently, Crocs, which are wildly popular with the genetically retarded, or those who’ve simply lost the will to live.

The recent popularity of Havianas has, thankfully, seen a worldwide return to the effortless cool of the Jandal.

But in New Zealand, Jandals never really went out of style. Just try not to dwell too much on whether this means we were a) leading the pack, or b) so far behind that we were caught, unawares, wearing them when they came back in.

Focus instead on the important question, which is.. what next?

Stubbies?

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44 Comments

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  13. Kenneth Lacy

    I would love to move to New Zealand just because the people are so laid back there and everyone goes barefoot.

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  15. Karmen Nagy-Stephenson

    I remember popping just across the road from my house in Keighley (UK) to the shop to get something and a little girl holding her father’s hand crossing the road at the same timee looked shocked and pointed at me saying, “look daddy, she has no shoes on” … I haven’t been out in bare feet again. I’ll at least put a pair of jandals on now!

  16. fundl59

    lol, love the ‘…prickles in the grass’phrase, makes me miss home!

  17. Yo ! Bro’s and Sis’…..Check out this very coool JANDAL IN THE WIND tee design !

  18. Frizzle

    Kiwi living in Singapore. They call jandals slippers here. Very confusing when you first arrive.

    Phone conversation… Me: “You coming out to the bar for a drink?” Local: “Have to go home and get changed first, I’m wearing my slippers.”

    So, for weeks I thought this local guy used to wander around in fluffy slippers at work during the day.

  19. Paulus

    I love the Thong Song.

    • Selwyn Nogood

      I just love Thongs. So liberating.

      • Paulus

        My one gripe is that seem to rub between my big toe and second toe. How about a teflon coated jandal/thong?

      • Good Night Kiwi

        Dudes, like your style. I dig the jandal.

        Hey, how about an article about “bring back buck”?

        That and rainbow warrior had to be the biggest issues in nz last century.

        And now good night kiwi is about to make the mother of all comebacks. from clean cut tvnz employee…to world traveller…to selling large sliced ny pizza just to pay my coke habit…it’s been a rags to riches story. I’m exposing all. Follow @goodnitekiwi on twitter.

        Don’t typecaste me man, I’m so much more than you know. yeah, Cat’s still around. We don’t always get on though.

        • Selwyn Nogood

          Thanks for the feedback, Kiwi.

          Strangely enough, the next article we’re putting together does indeed cover the Rainbow Warrior. Watch this space…

          Selwyn

  20. I love all the variations of Jandals, like the one with serrated underneaths, We take those ones to work, and call them “Safety Jandels” :-)
    As far as the rest of the planet, “They can’t handle the Jandal”

    • Lisa

      Hey, I really need more info about this safety jandels!!
      I think Jandals are very interesting, but I need some information about maybe special Jandals just for work, like special models.
      What kind of brands are there of Jandals from NZ?
      Because the other famous brand is Brazilian.

      • Get

        Hi Lisa, Check out my own jandal brand. Rubbers. It’s brand new and I started it after being very disappointed with NZs jandal offering.

  21. Jandals are used everywhere actually, the only problem is that the rest of the world wears them only in summer

  22. When my jandals became my favourite pair of er footwear, I knew I had gone Kiwi.

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