What Are Thongs in Australia?

flip flops on beach at Cape Le Grand National Park, Australia
••• John W Banagan / Getty Images 

Don't be confused when you visit Australia. Thongs are not skimpy underwear in the land down under, they are what our Aussie friends call flip-flops, a staple piece of footwear for every citizen.

Aussie thongs primarily consist of a sole and thong passing between the first and second toes of the feet and affixed in a Y formation on three points to the sole. They are typically padded with spongy textures and are incredibly comfortable to wear.

Although thongs in Australia are, well, not as sexy as the thongs in America – they mean so much more there.

Why Are Thongs Loved?

They're your basic sandals, your basic go-to on a hot summer day when all you want to do is go for a brisk walk, or if you want to head down to the beach.

You can get your basic garden-variety thong made of plastic, through to a bejeweled, sparkling, upmarket thong that wouldn’t look out of place with a nice long evening frock.

Whether you’re relaxing on a beach in Queensland, shopping up a storm in Melbourne, or enjoying a late brunch in Sydney, thongs may just be your ideal footwear choice.

Thongs are occasionally referred to as jandals in New Zealand, or slippers or go-aheads in other parts of the world. In America, you may know them as flip-flops.

How Much Does a Good Pair of Thongs Cost?

When paying for a decent pair of thongs, you won’t need to spend much.

At the extreme end of the scale, you could fork out as much as $80 for a pair of designer-brand, high-quality thongs.

But if you’re travelling on a budget, you could spend as little as $1 for a basic supermarket pair, depending on what you’re after.

Should you want a decent pair that is both comfortable and durable, it shouldn’t be too hard to find, and paying around AU$10-$20 is fairly standard.

Should you want to elevate your status a little bit more, you can always hand over a little extra money for designer thongs such as Havianas.

 If ever in the midst of a thong emergency, you can also run to a thong vending machine. With thongs coming out of vending machines, it is clear to see that this product is so much more than a mere pair of footwear – it’s part of the Australian psyche.

When to Not Wear Thongs

While all love their thongs in Australia, they are not acceptable in all circumstances.

For instance, should you be attending a formal occasion, it is typically unacceptable to wear thongs. In some clubs and venues, you may be refused entry for trying to sneak your thongs in after 6 p.m. When you are engaging in sports, they may also become slippery and unsafe.

Also, should the weather be incredibly wet and rainy, thongs are probably not the best choice of footwear as some pairs may soak up water. Should you be driving, it is recommended that you take these shoes off, as they may get slippery and get caught between the pedals.

Edited by Sarah Megginson