Phloppe was born in the small French hamlet of Chue, in the region of Piedmont in Southern France nestled under the pyrenees. His father was a cobbler. Having served his apprenticeship, he moved to Sleeveiesse, where Napoleon is said to have kept his armies. His father had often compained that sandals with rear support, of the style that the Roman Army had conquered most of Europe on cost too much labour to construct particularly for the most important market of British holidaymakers who turned up in the region and discovered that their more traditional forms footwear acquired the odour of some of the local cheeses, and thus required cheap additional modes of transport.
Phloppe designed a version of the sandal without a back support, that was strong and sturdy, if a little difficult to run in, but did make an annoying tip-tap noise. One advantage of the lack of back support was that they could easily be removed for swimming. Phloppe's sandal was an immediate success, propelling him to fame and fortune. The sandal was further developed with the addition of a thong.