Summer is here and the weather is getting hotter. That means we’ll start to see short shorts and flip
flops appear all around the beaches and the city. So the obvious choice would be to head to your
favorite sporting goods store and pick up a pair of stylish flip flops right…? Not exactly.
Even though they’re fun, stylish, and initially comfortable, the truth is that flip flops can lead to a lot
of hurt in the future. First the feet, then the ankles, knees, hips, and even the back. These body parts
may very well have you screaming for pain relief and put you out of commission right in the heart of the
season of fun. If we’re not careful, these minor pains can lead to joint damage and serious bone issues.
The main problem is that most flip flops lack the proper arch support and cannot properly support
the weight of our bodies. Often times the material of the flip flop is a big flop. They are too flexible
and as a result our bodies have to overcompensate just to keep the flip flop on the foot. These subtle
compensations, like slightly curling the toes, shorter stride length, and pronated feet (feet rolling
inward), may very well lead to muscle strain and joint pain. And if you aren’t flat footed already, these
things may cause you to develop flat feet.
So does this mean that we shouldn’t be wearing flip flops? Not at all. We just have to make sure to
carefully select the right flip flops when we’re shopping. There is no best option, so just keep these
things in mind. Start with a good arch support – avoid flat-soled flip flops. Look for the material of
the sole to be firm, but not rigid – rubber or soft plastics are decent options. Try to find a sandal with
indented heel cups to support your heel during the heel strike. Before you purchase, bend the flip
flop along its length. If the heel can almost touch the toe then you probably want to avoid it. Finally,
consider the straps as well. Consider leather or some material that will not cause skin irritation. Avoid
plastic straps that may cut into the skin and look for wider straps because wider straps will be more
comfortable. In the end, your stride should feel natural while wearing the flip flop so look for that right
fit! On a final note, remember that flip flops aren’t meant to be worn all the time! If you’re going for a
long walk or know that you’ll be on your feet all day, they probably aren’t the best option.
I hope these tips will create just a little more awareness for you the next time you go shopping for
summer footwear. If you look good, you should feel good too. When you feel good, you’ll have a great