Flip flops. Those sandals that so many people (and children!) wear during the summer. They are my least favourite shoe.
How Flip Flops Mess With Your Feet
Here are just a few reasons why:
Reason #1: No support to the ankle, foot or arch. This makes it easier to twist or sprain your ankle and can even cause plantar fasciitis. (Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia which is a thick band of connective tissue that starts at the heel bone and travels along the bottom of the foot towards the toes. This tissue needs to be loose and flexible to walk but when it gets inflamed, it becomes tight and less flexible, causing pain.)
Reason #2: This lack of support can also lead to knee, hip and even low back pain when flips flops are worn regularly.
Reason #3: No protection. Streets aren't clean and your feet can sustain small cuts or abrasions. And because your feet are literally more open, it's easier to contract germs like Staphylococcus aureus (which can cause skin sores or worse) or E. Coli! Small cuts and germs can lead to serious infections!
Reason #4: Most flip flops have a thin sole. This doesn't cushion your foot while you're walking, which can cause foot and ankle pain and injury due to all the jarring.
Reason #5: Stress fractures. Just using your toes to hold on to the sandal can cause overuse injuries, including stress fractures, to the 5 bones that lead out to your toes. This kind of ‘foot workout' can also cause your leg muscles to become overtired.
Those $5 flip flops should be used for very short trips: Use them to go down to the laundry room in your apartment building, or to walk around the pool or backyard. They should never be used when walking for long periods of time or biking and definitely never for hiking. I even question the safety of wearing them while driving, as they can easily slip off when you're going from the gas to the brakes.
If you feel like it's not summertime without flip flops, splurge a little and get a pair that have ‘orthotic like' arches and bigger straps to provide more support around the toes and feet. This will make them easier on your whole body.