Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Summer Shoes - Flip Flops are NOT the Answer!!

With the weather improving, more and more people are participating in their favorite outdoor activities and for many people, the flip flop is the first shoe they reach for. Easy to put on, airy and light weight– flip flops seem like the perfect summer shoe!

But, all flip flops are NOT always the best choice for your feet

Sometimes, it IS appropriate and safe to wear flip flops. For example – its fine to wear them to the beach and the pool, relaxing outside in your own back yard, or at a party where you won’t be walking too much.

But most flip flops are not appropriate for walking, biking, doing lawn work or for other athletic activities. Flip flops should not be your go to shoes in the summer!

For those who might over use these flimsy non-supportive shoes, you risk

• Tendonitis
• Heel pain
• Stubbing or jamming toe
• Ankle injuries
• Foot lacerations

Not all flip flops are bad, but most are.

Those that can easily be bended in half from toe to heel and twisted as well will not provide adequate support for normal daily activities.
If the “toe thong” is made inexpensively, either by design or material, you can also experience blistering in between the toe area because. This is a very common problem with flip flops. You want to make sure there are no seams that would cause irritation and its best when the material is soft. Blistering can also occur with constant slippage of an ill fitting flip flop.

Not all flip flops are bad however. Some flip flops have a more structured, solid arch support and make with a more sturdy material. Look for ones that bend at the ball of the foot and do not twist easily. Thicker soles and padding can be found in some flip flops. Look for those that have somewhat of an arch, a deeper heel cup and a soft and natural toe thong.

Go to to see my discussion of better flip flops with Linda Yu and Sylvia Perez on a recent ABC Chicago News story.

Any sandal or flip flop that forces you to scrunch your toes or use your tendons abnormally is not a shoe you should be wearing.

Any shoe related problems should not be ignored. The bottom line is that no matter what shoe you wear, if you have foot pain, see a podiatric physician- foot pain is never normal!