Fifth Hawaii Story
I have worn flip-flops (or slippahs in Hawaiian parlance, or go-aheads - whatever you call them) ever since our family moved to Hawaii when I was about 7 years old. They are summertime shoes to me, and I never slip my toes around the thong without a feeling of contentment and comfort. I even wear them in the winter - if it's really cold, I augment with tabi socks, but usually I don't need them. My feet are made for Hawaii.
In Hawaii, whenever we go to the beach, we take off our slippahs and park them under a bush somewhere to walk barefoot in the water. There are always other pairs of slippahs there, as everyone does the same thing. No one would dream of taking someone else's slippahs, even if they are nicer ones. It's an unwritten rule in a place where taking one's shoes off happens multiple times a day.
I have even seen slippahs left to hold one's place in line, while the wearers go sit down somewhere comfortable. When the line is about to move, everyone dons their own slippahs and resumes their place in line.
Hawaiian homes always have several pairs of the family's slippahs outside the door and, when guests arrive, they always remove their slippahs before entering the house. It's a sign of respect for the one who must sweep out the sand or the red Hawaiian soil not to track more in on one's shoes.
I guess the concept of not tracking dirt into the house is a universal one, but I've never seen this custom anywhere else, except in Japan where there are fussy little cubbyholes for your outdoor shoes. Only in Hawaii do you simply kick them off or slide them on and go. Have you seen it anywhere else?