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Flip Flops vs Thongs – Is there a difference?

Flip flops and thongs share most of the traits but there are still subtle differences. Learn what sets them apart so you can choose the perfect sandals for the right occasion.

Bright yellow and pink flip flops standing on the sand.

Thongs and flip flops are amongst the comfiest footwear that we reach for when we need to do quick errands or just go for a relaxing summer stroll. These shoes are ideal for going to the beach or doing other short activities as well. 

But what makes these two comfortable types of sandals different? Here, we will look closely into what distinguishes flip flops from thongs, so that you can use each shoe for the right occasion. 

What are Flip-Flops?

Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flop Sandal, Ballet Rose, 7-8

Flip flops are a kind of flat-soled shoe that is held together by a Y-shaped strap that is placed between the big toe and the second toe. Flip flops are quite common in hot environments, especially in places that have tropical climates. They may be utilized for any task that includes getting wet, such as having a shower, strolling on a muddy trail, swimming in a pool, and so on. Most people love flip-flops because they are comfy and soft. 

What are Thongs?

Dolce Vita Women's Marly Flat Sandal,Nude,6 B(M) US

Thongs and flip-flops are almost identical in appearance, as thongs are a type of sandal that is often used as casual shoes. Thongs are usually made of a flat bottom with a Y-shaped strap that usually crosses between the 1st and 2nd toes. The strap also goes around each side of the foot. 

What are the Differences Between Thongs and Flip Flops?

Red striped flip flops next to goggles.

Thongs and flip-flops are pretty much the same when it comes to appearance. The only thing that differentiates thongs from flip flops is the geographical location. For instance, in Australia, these kinds of sandals are referred to as thongs, however, in the United States, they are referred to as flip-flops. 


Green flip flops on a fresh coconut drink.

Flip flops are often manufactured from rubber but can also be made of other materials such as cotton, coconut husk, etc. Their name comes from the noise produced as you walk in them, which is a flip-flop effect. The manufacturing process of these flip flops is simple and inexpensive, allowing them to be accessible to a larger range of people. They do not give any ankle support and are less appealing and fashionable as a result. They are typically used for indoor activities but can also be useful for sauntering around your yard in the summer. 

Design features

Women's Luna Flip Flop Sandal, Rose Gold, Size 5/6

Flip-flops have a relatively basic form. They have a thin rubber base with two straps that cross over each other in a Y-shape from either side of the foot until they reach the space between the big toe as well as the one on the opposite side. Normally, flip flops or thongs don’t have a strap over the heel. However, some flip-flop designs have a strap over the heel. These kinds of flip flops are specifically designed for sporting activities since they provide extra support to the feet, preventing them from slipping.


Bright yellow flip flops on a colorful beach towel.

The kind of material from which flip flops or thongs are constructed determines their overall durability and long-term use. Accordingly, if the material used in the flip flops is thick, they will last much longer plus thick materials are beneficial in avoiding blisters and falling arches. The strap on the flip-flops is also crucial since it allows you to move freely and it’s more suited for rough situations. Rubber is your great option in this situation. For a less demanding setting that does not include bumpy roads, suede or leather straps are recommended instead. 

Cost Differences (Ballparks)

Old Navy Women Beach Summer Casual Flip Flop Sandals (8 Pineapple & Black Flip Flops) with Dust Cover

Flip flops or thongs are inexpensive because of the minimal costs of manufacturing involved in their creation. In most areas around the globe, contemporary flip-flops are affordable, with some designs selling for as low as $5 or less in certain regions.

Benefits of Each

Dog and owner wearing flip flops.

They are versatile

Flip flops and thongs are versatile types of footwear that may be used for almost any situation. In addition to being worn when showering, flip flops may be worn while traveling or wandering on the beach. They are useful when engaging in any activity that involves becoming wet, making them quite versatile.  

Allow your feet to breathe

Flip flops, as opposed to sneakers or other closed-toe footwear, enable your feet to breathe. People suffering from sweaty or even odorous feet will benefit from this particular feature the most. Enabling your feet to have enough air circulation might assist in reducing perspiration and odors, too. 

They are comfortable

Some people may be afraid to wear flip-flops as they think that it’ll be an unpleasant experience, but this is just a common myth. Both of these shoes are actually way more comfortable than you think. Your toes or large feet won’t be restricted, and a decent pair of flip flops should ideally be arched to provide all-day support for your feet when you’re walking about in them.

They come in a variety of designs

Even though flip flops have a very basic construction, you can get them in a lot of different styles and patterns to suit any occasion. Flip flops are available in a wide range of colors and styles, including flip flops with straight front straps, normal thong sandals, flip flops with multiple straps, and a variety of other styles. 

Brief History of Each

Woman wearing flip flops on a deck.

For decades, flip flops have been a mainstay of American beach apparel, earning their moniker from the distinctive stomping noise they create when worn. Flip flops have also been documented as far back as ancient Egypt. 

A generational difference exists when it comes to flip-flops: older people solely see them as beachwear, whilst younger generations are much more accepting of the notion that flip-flops may be used for more activities than casual wear. 


Flip flops and thongs are both examples of footwear that’s the same in appearance and they’re considered “comfort shoes,”. Thongs are an excellent alternative for trips to the beach, yoga, or a short trip to do tasks in the city. 

Unlike other shoes, thongs and flip-flops do not provide ankle support and are often made of rubber, however, they may also be manufactured from hemp, cotton, or coconut. Because of their cost-effectiveness, flip-flops are the most popular kind of footwear in developing nations such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines, as well as other Southeast Asian countries, among other places.