Flip-flops. To my generation, they're pool shoes. When I was little, they conveyed this message: "I'd be barefoot, if I weren't protecting the soles of my feet."
In recent years, flip-flops have become standard footwear, worn to work or to church. They may cost as much as other shoes. Designers design them. People are as likely to wear Crocs, or Keens, or many other types of footwear to the pool or the beach. Flip-flops are not pool shoes any longer.
When I was a child, my mother bought me a new pair of flip-flops at the beginning of each summer. She threw them away at the end of the summer. Today, flip-flops are worn all year round. With or without toe socks.
I made this pair out of Sculpey, and wore it today to my first day of end-of-the-school year faculty meetings. I wore them because I'm ready to be sitting barefoot, with my feet dangling in the water. Soon I will. The river is calling.