They come in every conceivable color and are a huge staple shoe for students, beach-goers, and slip-on shoe lovers alike: flip-flops. They are fast and convenient—no laces or socks to worry about. You simply slip them on and go. And yet, even though they are popular and easy to wear, flip-flops actually pose some pretty high risks for the feet at any age.
By and large, people love flip-flops because they are convenient. You can slip them on and be ready to go in seconds. You can slip them off easily when you need to. You don’t feel like grit is trapped in them when you walk—which is typically why people use them at the beach. For plastic ones, water exposure doesn’t matter, so they can function as shower shoes in locker rooms and community bathrooms. Yet for all these conveniences, flip-flops are bad for your feet in many ways.
The biggest problem is that the sandals offer next to no protection for your lower limbs. Their thin, rubber soles may not keep sharp objects from poking or cutting your feet. Most brands have absolutely no support for your arches, either, which can cause midfoot pain and plantar fasciitis issues. The pressure from walking around in them too often can strain these structures, leaving them aching and overused.
Since the sandals are lose on your feet, you end up altering your stride to accommodate the shoes, too. Typically you have to take shorter strides and crunch up your toes to keep the flip-flops on. Changing the way you walk can strain other joints and muscles as well, contributing to knee, hip, and even back pain. Heel pain, Achilles tendon issues, calluses, foot or toe cramps, and even sprains from falling are all more common when you wear flip-flops on a regular basis.In the end, the risks of painful side effects from wearing flip-flops too often are not worth the small convenience you get from them. It would be better to use these sparingly and look for slightly more supportive sandals to be your slip-on-and-slip-off footwear. If you’re already struggling with foot pain, or you find shoes cause discomfort, let us know at Martin Foot and Ankle. We’ll help you support your feet. Call (717) 757-3537 to make an appointment with us.