Flip-flop warning: These shoes aren’t made for walking
When the weather gets hot, people let their feet cool off by wearing the summer shoe of choice; the flip-flop. These may be the go-to shoes for summertime but experts say there can be serious consequences for wearing these shoes all season long.
Researchers at Auburn University found walking in flip-flops can alter your step, which can lead to foot problems and pain in the foot, hip and lower back.
In fact, this beloved shoe offers almost no support for your feet, allowing your foot to go in any direction and it also directly impairs the foot to function as the shock absorbing part of your body, researchers say.
Dr. Robert Kipferl, a podiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., advises that if you choose to wear flip-flops, try finding a pair that has more straps than the traditional pair. The more straps on a shoe, the less stress there will be placed on your feet and toes trying to grip the flip-flop, he says.
“If you wear these shoes day in and day out, there is a possibility you can develop chronic tendinitis, stress fractures, heel pain and exacerbate hammertoes,” Dr. Kipferl says. “Flip-flops are meant to be worn for only a short period of time, not on a long walk. If you want to wear this type of shoe, look for a pair that has a thicker sole, arch support or a thin strap around the heel.”
Though flip-flops and sandals are not ideal for support, they can be useful for a day at the beach or pool to protect against bacteria when shoes are not generally being worn, Dr. Kipferl advises.
“Be sure to have on a pair when walking in changing rooms, around the pool’s edge, and in hotel rooms,” he advises. “Walking barefoot in these areas can increase your risk of contracting viruses like warts, fungus (athletes foot), or skin infections.”
Making sure your feet stay healthy can help keep the rest of your body healthy as well, he says.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.