Jandals: What Are They?
Jandals. It’s a term meant to describe a sandal: that much we know. But it’s a contraction of “sandal” and what, exactly? Some will claim that Jandals are “Jesus sandals.” Others claim they’re the less holy “jail sandals,” while a third group argues that “jandals” is a contraction of “Japanese” and “sandals.” Is it one? All three? It’s time to settle the debate once and for all.
Let’s start with the Jesus style sandals. These are a good contender for the term Jandals. These bad boys really do look like ancient relics from olden times. These are made by Pali Hawaii, though they have taken off in popularity all over the mainland, and if you take a college tour you’ll be sure to see many twenty-somethings sporting these simple shoes. The most popular styles are usually understated brown shades but Pali Hawaii Jandals are also available in many bright shades as well.
They’re made with a soft, flexible plastic and because of this are completely waterproof. You can’t walk on water with these, but you can walk in water and not worry about getting your shoes wet. But are Jesus sandals the real Jandals?
Pali Hawaii gets a Jandals point for having copyrighted the term, but the folks of Urban Dictionary have their own definitions they stand by. On the slang site, there is only one definition that describes “jandals” as Jesus sandals, and it is toward the bottom of the list. The overwhelming amount of responses come from New Zealanders who argue that Jandal is in fact a contraction for “Japanese Sandal.”
It makes sense that Jandals would stand for Japanese Sandals, especially in New Zealand. According to New Zealand's government history site, a businessman from Auckland, New Zealand named Morris Yock was a trader who spent some time in Asia and was inspired by the Japanese footwear called zori. Zori are like modern day flip flops but made of straw or wood. Inspired by this and sensing that the simple shoe would take off in New Zealand, Morris started manufacturing them in the ‘50s in Auckland and named them “Jandals,” for “Japanese sandals.”
Therefore, Jandals in this sense are flip flops, the flat sole with the Y-strap, or as one Urban Dictionary contributor defined, “what you damn Aussies call thongs!” This seems to be the consensus among most of the contributors to the definition of Jandals. The most popular definition says that Jandals are “a ubiquitous New Zealand rubber sandal, equivalent the Australian rubber thong or US/UK flip flop,” giving an example of “I’d wear ya Jandals mate, the showers are pretty chancrous.”
But although the New Zealanders have made a fairly good case for “Japanese sandals,” there’s one more candidate to consider. This, of course, is the “jail sandal.”
We’ve all seen movies and tv shows depicting sad, shuffling inmates wearing orange jumpsuits and thick-soled, slipper-like sandals. Some might say that “Jandals” refer not to flip flops inspired from Japan nor to Jesus-style sandals, but to something altogether different: sandals inspired by convicts.
Jandals in this context does not refer to a specific style of shoe necessarily, but refers to any sandal worn by prison inmates. For example, some jandals might have two straps while some would have just one, like a pair of slides. Jail sandals are also a bit different in structure to the other Jandals discussed here. They are usually made from a soft EVA foam (a synthetic, soft and squishy flexible plastic foam), making them comfortable to walk on. They’re also waterproof, odor proof, wear-resistant, and slip-resistant. Better than all of this though, is the fact that these shoes cannot be used as a weapon by prison inmates---they’re hard to cut through, and too soft to cause any harm.
Modern “jandals” in this regard are quite the step up from the prison uniforms of old. In the 19th century, before national prison standards and dress codes, prisoners often were not issued footwear at all, instead being forced to walk everywhere barefoot. In Oregon in the 1860s, prisoners were forced to wear the brutal “Prison boot” or “Oregon boot,” which was a work boot with a 50 pound weight attached from the sole of the shoe to the prisoner’s ankle. While the papers at the time claimed this contraption had “a fair degree of comfort,” it left several prisoners with permanent limps and other damage.
Though modern "jail sandals" are actually quite comfy, this version of "jandals" are decidedly less popular than Pali's Jandals and the classic flip flop, but who knows? If the Crocs had their moment in the sun, maybe jail sandals will too.
So let’s review. Kiwis from New Zealand claim that not only did they invent the term “jandal,” it doesn’t identify to a typical sandal at all, but rather the classic Y-strapped flip flop.
Young people, among whom the Pali Hawaii copyrighted Jandal has become a closet staple, claim that these Jandals are the one true Jandal.
Another group, seemingly only vocal on Urban Dictionary, claims that Jandals are “jailhouse sandals worn by tweens who think they’re hipster and have never been to jail.”
Which of these “jandals” do you think is the one true Jandal? Perhaps this breakdown of the definitions has influenced you, or perhaps your mind will never be changed. It probably depends on your age and location on this good green earth. Maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard the term “jandal.”
Whatever the case, we have our own opinion. Jandals are Jesus sandals made by Pali Hawaii. They’re perfect for bringing to the beach, and if you get a pair in one of the bright colors they offer, you won’t lose them in the sand or surf. Plus, their rising popularity means that you can go from surfing to shopping without changing your footwear. The flexible plastic is comfy and won’t break or rip. Flip flops aren’t Jandals, they’re flip flops over here in the US. Get with the program, New Zealand! And we don’t really want to show off our new shoes if they’re called jail sandals. We prefer Jesus sandals. But that’s just us. Whatever you think of when you think of Jandals, we hope you go on the best adventures with them.
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What is Polyurethane Leather? Benefits of PU Made Sandals
You’re looking for a shoe that is smooth and durable, and feels great on your feet. Perhaps a shoe coated in Polyurethane, abbreviated as PU, is for you. But what exactly is PU?
Polyurethane is a polymer, or synthetic resin. PU is desirable because of its strength, durability, water resistance, and because it generally dries as a transparent, taking on whatever color it is dipped in or whatever it’s brushed on. It also tends to be scratch-resistant.
But, you may be wondering, what does this varnishing material have to do with shoes?
PU is most commonly connected in the shoe world to PU leather. PU leather is split leather, or an animal hide that has been split into thinner sheets than top-grain leather is, and then dipped into the PU resin to create a thicker, water-resistant, and more durable material. This PU leather is what is generally seen on shoes, although regular PU may be brushed onto a rubber or EVA surface to make it tougher, or PU may be molded into plastic sheets to be used on the outsoles of shoes, especially running shoes and sandals.
Although PU leather generally has a hide base, it is categorized as a synthetic because it has been altered by the polyurethane. Some PU leathers, called vegan leathers, do not have any animal hide products at all, but instead are made of fabric brushed with polyurethane made to look like genuine leather.
There are some definite upsides that PU leathers have that top-grain leathers do not. First of all is the cost. Genuine top-grain animal-hide leather can be prohibitively expensive because of the amount of labor and time it takes to complete the finished product. Using PU leather maintains the look and feel of leather while keeping costs down.
Secondly, because of the PU varnish, polyurethane leather is more waterproof than top-grain leather, which is perfect for sandals, flip flops, slides, or other shoes that might be brought on adventures that involve water.
It’s also lighter than genuine leather. Think of a 100% leather boot. It’s usually tough and very heavy. For a sportier shoe, there’s a great advantage to having PU leather, and that’s the weight (or rather, lack thereof). PU leather is very light, so when a sandal or other shoe is made with PU leather, it’ll be easier to walk in, travel with, and hop into when you need to get moving quickly.
PU leather looks and feels great on shoes, but many other products take advantage of PU leather. For example, wallets and purses often use PU leather, as do office chairs and other office supplies, backpacks, journal covers, and low-cost car interiors.
Still, PU leather arguably looks and feels best on footwear, as it is one of the only products in which the PU leather, which feels like top-grain leather, comes into contact with your skin. PU leather takes the stress off, because you can rest assured that you didn’t have to pay an exorbitant amount for it, and because you can clean it with water---something that simply isn’t an option for top-grain hide. Because it is water-safe, you can take the caution you’d normally have to take with leather and throw it to the wind. Want to head to the beach with your PU leather sandals? Go for it! The polyurethane can take it.
Make sure to check out the sandals available with PU leather options on AlohaShoes.com to get a sense of what PU leather looks like on sandals and slippers. Chances are you won’t be disappointed, and the price point for these products can’t be beat.