Flip flops and warm weather seem to go hand in hand, but, despite how much you may like wearing flip flops when it gets warm out, you should know there are some very good reasons you should not wear flip flops. I used to wear flip flops all the time, but when my feet started hurting and my dad pointed out they had no support, I started to question my summer footwear choice. Eventually, I decided to try something more supportive. Sure enough, my feet hurt less, and my shoes were actually much cuter than the flip flops. Because there are so many reasons you should not wear flip flops, I now save my flip flops for the beach or the shower, which is the only place I feel they belong.
One of the biggest reasons you should not wear flip flops is because they increase your chance of getting an injury. Physical therapists actually see a lot of overuse injuries in people who wear flip flops. Because flip flops do not have any arch support, your foot can roll inward, which results in inflammation or tearing of the tendon that attaches the calf muscles to the foot. Plantar fasciitis is another common diagnosis that people who wear flip flops receive. It is a painful inflammation in the tissue of the sole of the foot that often occurs when you claw your toes to stabilize your foot. While plantar fasciitis is a painful and chronic condition, flip flops can cause more serious injuries like an overuse stress fracture of the metatarsal. Obviously, no one wants any of these injuries, and by not wearing flip flops you can reduce your chances of getting these injuries. Since these injuries are common in athletes, it is very important for athletes to avoid flip flops since they will only increase an athlete’s chances of getting these injuries.
2. Lack of Arch Support
Except during flip flop season, most people wear supportive shoes. When you switch from wearing supportive shoes to flip flops, your feet can have a difficult time adjusting. Often, your feet do not have the strength they need to wear such flimsy shoes, which is why you can end up with foot pain when you wear flip flops. The muscles in your feet are having to work extra hard. This is also why overuse injuries occur in people who wear flip flops. The foot muscles can’t properly support your feet. If you are thinking to yourself, you could just strengthen your feet and then you could wear flip flops, think again. Unfortunately, there are still many problems with wearing flip flops.
3. Alignment Problems
When you wear flip flops the alignment of your entire lower body is altered. As a result, you can have mechanical problems when you are walking. Because your alignment is altered, your foot strikes the ground differently when you are wearing flip flops, causing changes in the knee, hip, and back. These changes often result in knee pain or low back pain. One physical therapist noted that in extreme cases the alignment problems caused by flip flops have actually resulted in herniated disks! Although this is very extreme, even just simple low back pain is enough to make me look for more supportive shoes.
4. Tired Feet
When I wear heels for fancy occasions, my feet are usually tired at the end of the event. The same was true when I used to wear flip flops. My feet would always be tired, and I would want to soak them in a hot bath. The reason my feet were always tired when I wore flip flops is because my foot muscles were working very hard to support my feet and even just to keep my shoes on. Flip flops slide off so easily that my feet were constantly working to keep them on. I realize that having tired feet isn’t the worst thing in the world, but I found it very unpleasant and was very happy when my feet weren’t tired any more.
When you are walking around the city the last thing you are probably thinking about is the bacteria on the streets and sidewalks. However, sidewalks are actually very dirty and wearing flip flops exposes your feet to a variety of things you probably don’t even want to know about. Aside from wanting my feet to be pain free, one of the reasons I don’t wear flip flops is because of how exposed my feet are. If you have a cut on your foot you could easily get a bad infection. When I am walking in the city I always wear closed toe shoes and save my open toe shoes for indoor occasions. Aside from not having to worry about bacteria, I also don’t have to worry about stubbing my toe.
6. Burns and Blisters
Another down side to flip flops is that you can get bad sunburns and blisters on your feet. Because so much of your foot is exposed, you can get painful sunburns on your feet when you wear flip flops, especially since people do not tend to put sunscreen on their feet. Wearing shoes with more coverage will definitely minimize the area of your foot that can get burned. Another reason to avoid flip flops is the pesky blisters that you can get between your toes. These blisters are often much more annoying than other blisters because you can’t put a band aid on that area. Often all you can do is switch shoes and wait until the blister goes away.
7. Too Casual
Flip flops are an extremely casual form of footwear. While they are great for the beach, they really are not appropriate for too many other places. I know I would never wear flip flops to a restaurant. Even if the restaurant was casual I would wear footwear that has more coverage. People are very used to seeing flip flops being worn everywhere. Yet, just like I would never wear high heels to a swimming pool, I would never wear flip flops to go visiting my grandmother.
I know many people love to wear flip flops in the summer. They are easy to put on, they can get wet, and they keep your feet cool. For all of these reasons flip flops are perfect for the beach. However, because they can put a lot of strain on your feet, you should wear more supportive shoes the rest of the time. Would you consider wearing different shoes in the summer knowing flip flops can cause injuries?