This well worn example of Australian rubber thongs reflects not only a very popular type of footwear worn in Australia from the late 1950s, but illustrates how attached some wearers became to their thongs. Thongs came to represent the carefree way of life in Australia. Thongs were adopted as a symbol of beach culture so dear to the heart of many Australians.
Australian feet became wider than other nations' feet due to the time spent barefoot or in sandals.The Australin sizing system now gives an extra half inch width for Australian shoes compared to American sizing.
The Japanese first influenced Australian thong wearing at the 1956 Olympics when Japanese swimmers used zori sandals, the precursor to rubber thongs. to the poolside. In Australia they were practical for hot tarmac and sand but they evolved into a cultural statement - defiant and anti establishment. They were subsequently banned from many Australian venues and restaurants.
The significance of this pair is both its classic design and its extended provenance. Thongs are now the leading world shoe style and are made in many different materials.