The thong style sandal gets a bad rap due to its uncanny resemblance to a much uglier form of footwear. Those things you used to wear to the showers in the dorms? Those are flip flops. And they aren’t real attractive. But thongs can be. And I’m not just talking about the kind that Sisqo is so fond of.
A thong is a kind of sandal. But a flip-flop is the croc’d out trashy version of the thong. Please don’t think I’m on some sort of crusade to change the American vernacular. I’m far more likely to refer to those things you see up there as “flip flops” than “thongs” because the latter instantly invokes butt-tastic imagery.
No matter what you call them, if they’ve got some leather or canvas detailing and look pretty good, you shouldn’t treat them any differently than any other piece of casual summer footwear. Just keep your toe nails in good shape and your feet stink free, and you should be able to wear em’ (within reason) just about however you like. With a suit? No. On a date in the city? Of course not.
But are they a better choice than your dress loafers with a pair of chinos and fitted polo if you’re headed to a friends house for a laid back barbecue? Absolutely. There’s a fine line between being the guy that dresses well, and the guy that doesn’t know how to dress down. These can do both at the same time.
P.S. Whatever you do, try not to call em’ flippy floppies.