Q. What shoes can you not walk backwards in?
A. Thongs (aka flip flops)
Very much looking forward to reading a new book by Caroline Knowles called Global imagining: Shoes and social fabrics in motion. Caroline Knowles is Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London and has taken an objective biography tracing the flip flop trail from production to consumption. According to the author China dominates the world production of to 'go aheads' (thongs) and regularly moves centres of manufacture according to economics. Thongs are the highest selling footwear and the author writes of her visit to the Chinese plastics factories and the plastic villages which quickly succumb to the sandal making industry. Knowles explores thong making in Ethiopia to uncover the social texture and global social inequalities which exist. She also takes a look at flip flop smuggling undertaken by contrabandists shifting illegal shoes across the border.