Merseyrail’s ‘cult’ Grand National flip flops for racegoers make a return for 2022

“We’ve even heard about them going on sale on the black market.”

Unique footwear will be making a comeback at this year’s Grand National Festival, courtesy of an unlikely source.

Merseyrail will be providing 6,000 pairs of flip flops at Aintree station for racegoers finishing their day with sore feet.

The flip flops, which Merseyrail say have become ‘a bit of a cult item’, will be offered to both men and women.

A Merseyrail spokesperson said: “We’ve been providing these flip flops for 12 years now which will be offered to people on their way home.

Some of the Merseyrail flip flops from the 2018 Grand National Festival. Photo: Merseyrail

“It was initially to help women who were fed up of their high heels but now men use them too.

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“They’ve been in cold storage since 2019. They’ve been a become a bit of a cult item over the years as they’re associated with the Grand National Festival and we’ve even heard about them going on sale on the black market.”

The spokesperson couldn’t confirm whether the flip flops were made from recycled material.

The three-day race meeting at Aintree begins on Thursday, continues on Friday with Ladies Day and culminates with the world-famous steeplechase on Saturday.

This year will see the return of crowds to the festival, which was cancelled in 2020 for the first time since the Second World War as the country went into lockdown.

The event sees 150,000 racegoers attend over the three days.

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Dickon White, North West regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "There has been a real sense of excitement building up over the last few days. It’s a hive of activity here with last-minute things being put to bed and it is really exciting.

The Grand National Festival takes place at Aintree this week

"This is not just about three days for Aintree, it’s about the whole economic impact an event like this has for the North West region.

"Everyone benefits, whether you are a hotel owner or you own restaurants and bars, a retailer, even down to the hairdressers, barbers and nail salons.

"All of these people benefit and it is just fantastic to be back."