The New Zealand
Jandals™ History


(Melanie Lovell-Smith, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand)

Inspired by footwear he had seen in Japan, businessman Morris Yock and his son Anthony began manufacturing this simple rubber footwear in their garage in 1957. The name ‘jandals™’ combined the words ‘Japanese’ and ‘sandal’.

Where it began

Morris Yock trademarks the jandals™

There is some dispute about whether Yock invented the jandals™. The family of John Cowie claim that he introduced the footwear from Japan in the late 1940s, coining the name ‘jandal’ in the process. They believe Yock only imported the jandals™ and applied for the trademark. Yock’s son disputes this.

Jandals™ Ltd initially manufactured jandals™ using rubber imported from Hong Kong; J. Yock & Co. arranged distribution. Skellerup took over the supply of raw materials and eventually bought the business in 1987.

So, Who invented the Kiwi jandals™?

But former National Distribution Union national secretary and Te Atatu resident Laila Harre maintained it was either her uncle Anthony Yock or her late grandfather Morris Yock who came up with the idea.

She said Anthony had an importing business and his father Morris worked with him. "I’m not 100 percent sure which one invented them," she said. "Anthony had been doing business in Japan as an importer and saw their traditional footwear." "That’s why they are called jandals – it’s short for Japanese Sandals." Mrs Harre said Anthony, who lives overseas, sold the business some years ago and the story was part of her family history.

"We always got jandals at Christmas from our uncle," she said. "There would always be six different size pairs under the Christmas tree." While there have been many pretenders, among them flip flops and thongs, a ‘real jandal’, as a footwear savvy Evening Post reporter observed in 1995, ‘can be spotted in a crowd of thongs by its all-rubber appearance. There are no fabric tops and squishy foam soles with built-in toe grooves on a dinkum jandal. And its colours aren’t flashy either. The traditional jandal collection comes in combinations of denim blue, light blue, grey, silver and white’. (Quoted in the Book of New Zealand Words).

Today, you can see the original jandals statue at Whatawhata Berry farm, just outside of Hamilton.

Great photo opportunity!


NZ Jandals™ was established in July 2019 after being acquired from former business owner Baron Sandford, who was at the helm of NZ Original Jandals™ for a quarter of a century, and with Jandals™ for more than 50 years. Approaching his 80th birthday Sandford had been working 50 hour weeks from his Katikati office but said it was time to "hang up the boots".

Today, NZ Jandal Director Stacey Moss has 'walked the jandal talk' and continues to harness the richness of the brand, expanding into new retail outlets and bringing the products to consumers online. 

Time to 'hang up the boots' on iconic kiwi Jandal company |