Saturday, February 28, 2015


"This is a drawing of a very, very famous moment in New Zealands history (circa 1935) when a large piece of flotsam from a shipwreck that had been ravaged and carved by wind, sea and tide came ashore on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch. This moment was destined to be a 'Eureka' moment for a  local Kiwi inventor of Spanish parentage, one Sole Thongden who used this piece of flotsam as inspiration for the invention of the now famous Jandal - The rest as they say, is history.

The name 'Jandal' is a shortening of the appellation 'Jan darling' which was the way Thongden always addressed his much adored wife Janice. It was at her suggestion that this iconic footwear was so named.  With his fortune from the sale of Jandals, Thongden, in gratitude to his wife for the 'Jandal' name indulged his wifes passion for horses, namely race horses. She had much success especially with 'Flip Flop' and 'Thongie Thing' whose race track successes rivaled the great 'Phar Lap'. Race track commentators found 'Thongie Thing' too difficult to call so they shortened the name to 'Fongy', a horse that became a great favourite with the TAB betting public.

Not a lot of people know that when Jandals were first manufactured there were no 'left' and 'right' pairs - the profile of the sole of a Jandal was dead straight on the sides and rounded at each end. This meant that if you lost one Jandal you only had to buy one replacement, a saving of 50% as footwear is sold in pairs. People would often buy a replacement in a different colour which lead to a fashion fad called 'Janalizing'. Of course today these early Jandals are extremely rare collectors items and a 'Janalized' pair sold recently at Sothbeys auction in London for NZ$750,000.

 Sole and Janice both lived to a ripe old age of and are buried together in a grave marked with a  pair of  solid cast, original 'Straight' size 105 Jandals - 105 being the age that they both lived to. The cast Jandals have been  'Janalized' by casting one Jandal in Bronze and the other in Iron - both oxidizing over time into differing colours."

[ Extract from " The Last of The Shoemakers" Autumn 1981 ]

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