Shorts, swimsuits, and yes, flip flops are all wardrobe staples of the summer! While flip flops and sandals are great for hot summer days, a lot of them can be very detrimental to our health. What we choose to put on our feet will have an effect on everything from our posture, stride, joints, and feet. Here’s some issues with flip flops to consider this summer:
1. No Support. Flips flops, as the name would imply, are a rather flimsy and unsupportive shoe. There is no arch support, which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in the arch. There is also no heal support which can put a lot of pressure on the heels and increase risk for plantar fasciitis, low back pain, and knee issues.
2. Mess with Your Stride. The best way to walk is “heel to toe” which means your heel hits the ground first and then you transition the weight to your toes in a fluid motion. The design of a flip flop makes it impossible to walk this way (without it flopping off!). You are forced to walk more flat-footed, which can exacerbate foot, joint, and low back pain.
3. Increase Chance of Injury. Okay, let’s just say it, we all have not so graceful moments sometimes. Wearing a flimsy and unsupportive shoe like a flip flop will increase you chances of slipping, tripping, rolling an ankle, or stepping on something that could injure your foot. Especially if you will be on unlevel terrain, it is crucial to choose a supportive shoe!
4. Perpetuate Poor Posture. Standing for long periods of time in flip flops will tend to shift your weight onto your heels or outer arch. You may find yourself locking your knees more or slouching to try and compensate for the pain/pressure on your feet. Basically, based on the lack of support we discussed, it will be more difficult to maintain good posture in a flip flop.
5. Swollen Feet. In the hot months, you may notice your feet and ankles swell. This is especially true of people with certain medical conditions that cause edema, but even healthy individuals may see this especially, if dehydrated or consuming too much sugar. A closed shoe provides compression on the foot and can help keep blood circulating. Flip flops do no such thing, so you are more likely to see this swelling, especially if out walking around for long periods of time.
In summary, we all know flip flops are a convenient summer shoe choice. But when it comes to times you’re out and about for long periods of time, you would be better off considering a shoe with at least some arch and heel support. For casual outings, there are sandals that offer this support, such as Clarks. For more active outings (walking, hiking, biking, etc.) a closed toe, supportive athletic shoe is best. Plan your summer days accordingly to make sure you have appropriate foot ware to allow you to power through the day and support your overall health!