Summer is just around the corner, which means you can finally put your leather boots away and slip on footwear that’s more appropriate for the humid weather. You’ll be tempted to grab a pair of breezy flip flops from the back of your closet.
Flip flops sound like the best choice for summer fashion, but in reality, they’re terrible for your feet. If you want to get ready for hot weather and trips to the beach, you should ditch your flip flops and find replacements that are better for your body.
What’s wrong with flip flops?
Essentially, your average flip flop doesn’t offer any support for the foot. The material is thin, flat and offers very little grip. The only thing holding it together is a thong strap wedged between your big toe and second largest toe.
Another one of the reasons why flip flops are terrible for your feet is that your toes have to clench and grip the sole of the shoe so that it lifts with each step. This design flaw puts a lot of strain on your toes when you’re walking for long distances. It gets worse when the terrain adds more resistance, like sand, or when you’re trying to move at a faster pace.
If you wear flip flops regularly, the toe strain could cause a problem called plantar fasciitis — this is the inflammation of the ligament that connects the heel of the foot with the toes. The pain can be so powerful that it can be hard to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom first thing in the morning.
Here is a short list of health problems other than heel pain that flip flops can cause over time:
- Ankle Sprain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Changed gait
What can you do instead?
Ditching your cheap flip flops doesn’t mean you have to put on heavy boots or running shoes. You should go to a foot clinic to see an orthopaedic footwear specialist to help you find summer-friendly options that won’t leave you rubbing your heels after taking a long walk through the park or icing your arches after a trip to the beach.
There are lots of brands out there that take arch support and comfort in mind when they design summer footwear. Look for sandals from trusted companies like Mephisto, Birkenstock and NAOT.
If you really like the look of flip flops over sandals, the company FitFlop offers options that will be much kinder to your body than any pair that you can pick up at a beach-side kiosk. Their shoes come with ergonomically designed iQushion midsoles, anatomically shaped footbeds, slip-resistant soles and adjustable backstraps for additional stability.
It’s true that flip flops can be a convenient wardrobe choice. They’re portable, easily replaceable and they’re oh-so-cheap. You could get a pair for under $5. But, the physical problems they cause are not worth their low price. This summer is your opportunity to take better care of your feet.