cover photo

blog archive

main site




View current page
...more recent posts


Thongs were inspired by the traditional woven soled zōri or "Japanese Sandals", (hence "jandals"). Woven Japanese zōri had been used as beach wear in New Zealand in the 1930s [2]. In the post war period in both New Zealand and America, versions were briefly popularized by servicemen returning from occupied Japan. The idea of making sandals from plastics did not occur for another decade. The modern design was purportedly invented in Auckland, New Zealand by Morris Yock in the 50's and patented in 1957. However, this claim has recently been contested by the children of John Cowie. John Cowie was an England-raised businessman who started a plastics manufacturing business in Hong Kong after the war. His children claim that it was Cowie that started manufacturing a plastic version of the sandals in the late 1940s and that Morris Yock was just a New Zealand importer.[4] His children say that their father claimed to have invented the name Jandal from a shortened form of 'Japanese Sandal'. John Cowie and family emigrated to New Zealand in 1959. Despite 'jandal' being commonly used in New Zealand to describe any manufacturer's brand, the word Jandal is actually a trademark since 1957, for a long time owned by the Skellerup company. In countries other than New Zealand, jandals are known by other names. For example, thongs, in Australia, where the first pair were manufactured by Skellerup rival Dunlop in 1960 and became popular there after being worn by the Australian Olympic swimming team at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. In the UK and US they are most commonly known as flip-flops.

[link] [1 comment]