I confess. I have a pair of flip-flops that I jump into first thing in the morning to go out and water plants. They’re easy and convenient, right?! They offer coolness on these hot days and I think just about everyone I know, owns a pair. Does that make them good for us, our feet, our bodies? Our feet have 8000 nerves in them, and the average person takes between 8,000 -10,000 steps per day. The human foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. Your feet mirror your general health. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet – so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
Let me share a bit of my own experiences. Yep, they’re great to jump into first thing on a hot summer morning-then I wear them around the house for a couple of hours, doing morning errands like up and down two flights of stairs for laundry, making beds, watering, etc. Then the dog needs a walk-not long but around the block-20 minutes. By the time lunchtime rolls around, my back hurts, part of my hip and I KNOW exactly why.
Our feet are the roots to our trees/bodies. If the roots are constantly “grabbing” to hold on, there will be parts of the tree that overcompensate and thus experience trauma. Our bodies are the same. Our feet provide anchoring and stability and we use our feet every day. We use our feet Every. Day.
Podiatrists claim that Flip Flops are the worst shoe one can wear:
- No arch support so your posture suffers and thus your back, hips, knees and ankles. Tissue bands start pulling.
- Bare exposure can lead to bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
- Bare exposure can lead to cuts, bites and scratches due to little protection.
- More prone to falling and accidents trying to keep them on.
- Can permanently damage toes since you must work harder to keep them on.
- Can cause shooting pains, especially for those with flat fleet. Also, can cause Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
- Can cause allergies or exposure to toxic materials in BPA-laden plastic.
- Can cause long term bone, arch and heel pain due to shorter strides Can also cause heel spurs which require surgery.
- Objects can poke through the flip flop and through the foot-think nails and glass.
- Changing stride affects every part of our walking-shorter strides meant ankles were turned in.
- Exacerbates existing conditions like arthritis, tendinitis or plantar fasciitis.
- Particularly problematic for those with diabetes who have thinner skin.
- Excessive pressure on the balls of the feet.
- The thong between the big toe and second toe can cause friction and blisters, which can infect.
Dos and Don’ts When Choosing Flip Flops
- Look for leather flip flops made from thicker, more supportive material to provide better arch support.
- Look for some with ankle and foot straps, also more supportive.
- Make sure you can’t bend your flip flop in half easily-no support.
- Wear flip flops with inexpensive sole.
- Wear them for long walks.
- Wear them for heavy lifting, athletics or yard projects.
The American Podiatric Medical Association endorses FitFlops or Chaco due to their thicker soles, deep heel cups and good arch support. Other podiatrists recommend these brands-Teva, Clarks, Merrill and ECCO as many of them have multiple points of security around the ankle and foot, along with breathable, durable, textured soles.
Of course, then to address the non-toxic options out there, here’s a website: https://urbanvegan.net/sandals
And another, “17 Flippin’ Fab Eco Friendly and Recycled Flip Flops” for you to scope out. I was going to write about a few of them but then was so impressed with what they’re each doing, that I felt it only fair to share the list with you.
At the end of the day, I will be honest and tell you that I will still jump into my flip flops first thing in the morning and I love them for the beach or lake time. However, I DO have other more supportive sandals for long walks and general wear. I highly recommend that we all be more mindful of not “over-wearing” these convenient shoes. We use our feet. Every. Day. Please take care of them and your bodies!
And for more fun foot facts, check out the link below! It’s kind ‘a cool!
Peace and Good Health!
Everyday Health – “The Most Dangerous Shoes You Can Wear?” 2013
Fun Foot Facts – https://www.foot.com/foot-facts/
Harvard Health Publishing – “By the way, doctor: Flip-flops – how bad are they?” August 2009
ShareCare – Anthony L. Komaroff, MD “What Are the Health Risks of Wearing Flip-Flops”
UCI Health – “The Trouble with your Flip-Flops” August 2017
UPMC Health Beat The Healthy – “11 reasons why you should never wear flip-flops” June 2020
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