Thongs. Probably flip-flops to the rest of you, although I’ve never understood why. The leather variety originated somewhere in the mists of time and was called all sorts of things other than flip-flops, and the universal rubber-soled modern version originated in New Zealand in 1957. They were thongs then and still are, so I can only assume that the name change was an attempt at ethnic obfuscation. Such is life.
Thongs in books are usually associated with dirty toenails, fags drooping from uneducated and probably boozy lips and subliminal flashing neons that say ‘loser’. In my world, that’s all bollocks. Most normal Australians go barefoot in summer wherever possible (barring physical limitations and pretension) and thongs are the things you shove your feet into on the way out the door to cope with gravel, hot pavements and hot sand. Work, funerals etc are obvious exceptions: women can get away with more classy sandals, but men, poor things, are stuck with shoes, which they remove with sighs of relief as soon as they get home.
So for me, it’s not a question of where these boots have walked. Thongs are a whole ethos surrounding the fact that Yay! At last it’s summer!