Definition: Flip flops are shoes that are open at the toes and back, only connected to the foot between the first and second toes. It doesn’t seem they really need a formal definition but because they are so widely worn that their effects should be known by those who wear them regularly.
Flip flops were originally created to wear strictly to the pool or beach as protection against hot concrete and sand. For that, they are excellent. However, they caught on as a favorite summer shoe and with such regular wear, problems arose. With nothing under or over the foot to move the foot forward, the toes clinch and grab with each step. Over time, this toe motion and lack of support takes its toll with many complaints such as forefoot pain (on top and on the bottom of the forefoot), plantar fasciitis, heel pain, etc. With no support in the flip flop, they put some people at risk for falling.
Since flip flops weren’t going to go away, podiatrists and others came up with a partial solution – support under the foot. With thicker soles and arch support built in, wearers have arch support and more cushioning than flip flops that are flat and have thin soles. Orthaheel, Alegria and Aetrex are some brands with excellent support and cushioning in their flip flops and sandals. However, there is still the issues of toes pulling and doing most of the work while walking.
Benefits: With flips flops still a summer favorite among young and old, there are now some styles with redeeming qualities, such as arch support and adequate cushioning in the sole. However, toes must still clinch and grab to keep it on the foot, contributing to forefoot problems in the long term. For some, these shoes are dangerous and should not be worn at all. For all others, they should be worn in moderation in hot weather.
Text: Copyright 2010-2013 Carole Romig Image: Top – Onefrugalchick.com, Bottom – Orthaheel.com
Smart Feet Savannah, 7074 Hodgson Memorial Drive, Savannah, GA 31406 912 920-0065