Kiwiana NZ Jandals
Jandals are truly a piece of Kiwiana. Worn year round, New Zealand Jandals are worn throughout the world, but may be known as "thongs" in Australia or "flip-flops" in the USA.
The name "Jandal" is commonly believed to come from an importer or manufacturer in the 1950s, who re-named the Japanese Sandals to "Jandals". And the name has stuck.
Why we wear Jandals
Jandals are generally inexpensive, easy to throw on or off, and comfortable. In our moderate climate, jandals can and are worn year round. Even in the colder South Island. While I was studying at Otago University, I clearly remember a guy who
would come to lectures wearing an army coat over a singlet and shorts, and jandals. Right through the coldest Dunedin winter!
Jandals, with their comfortable strap over the top of the foot, fit just about everyone. Whilst people with big or fat feet might find it hard to find a shoe to fit, you can usually find a jandal to fit.
Handle the jandal
"Can you handle the jandal?" is a Kiwi phrase which basically means "Have you got what it takes?"
And we have the NZ Handle the Jandal Awards, celebrating Kiwi Music Video producers.
New Zealand also has a National Jandal Day, when everyone is supposed to wear Jandals to work. It's a very worthwhile fundraiser for our Surf Lifesaving organisation.