Part of our Tropical Trivia About Hawaii and its Unique Culture series.
Why are shoes called “slippers” instead of flip flops or thongs in Hawaii?
The Hawaiian rubber shoe known as “slippah” traces its roots back to the Japanese zori and came to popularity in Hawaii after World War II.
Elmer and Jean Scott, of Scott Hawaii, founded a company in 1932 that made boots for plantation workers. When materials were limited during the war the company transitioned to casual sandals with less materials.
To the rest of the US slippers are a fuzzy indoor shoe you wear in the evenings. In Hawaii where many cultures were merging, a type of pidgin English grew popular. To a Hawaiian, local slippahs signifies comfort and just the basics.
Slippahs are perfect whether wearing on your feet as protection, killing a cockroach or propping up a lopsided table. They also allow your feet to stay cool in our warm humid climate.
We all have our regular slippahs for going to the beach as well as our fancy slippahs for going to a party or social event.