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Flip Flops: Cute, But Zero Support

When temperatures rise, folks start sporting their favorite flip-flops. Once relegated to being just beachwear or a shower shoe, flip-flops have become a fashion mainstay - a fact that might give Anna Wintour hives. Well, it is certainly a fact many podiatrists are distressed about as well.

From the podiatrist perspective, flip-flops were designed to provide protection to the bottom of your foot when strolling poolside or dashing across hot sand in the summertime. Plus they are great for preventing athlete’s foot, which likes to camp out in communal showers.

What flip-flops don't do is provide support for your feet. They offer no arch support and generally allow the wearer's feet to become as flat as they want. This can lead to a lot of foot pain. Plus, they also provide no heel cushioning or shock absorption. Since they provide zero arch support and foot stability, sprained ankles are actually a common injury that accompanies wearing flip-flops.

Now, I am not saying you need to toss your flip-flops. I am just saying you should wear them strategically. They are not suited for long walks, but they are fine for running a quick errand. And of course I think you should wear them when showering at the gym, strolling poolside or dashing across hot sand at the beach.


Join The Conversation
beauty-and-brains beauty-and-brains 7 years
Born also makes some great, cute sandals and flip-flops that are really supportive!
alethia037 alethia037 9 years
I love my Reefs... I have really high arches, but I can wear my Reefs all day every day and not have sore feet. I feel like they kind of conform to my feet a bit. For another sandal-like option, I highly recommend Keens. I have the Newports, and though they aren't the best looking shoes out there, they are SO comfortable! I can walk, run (for short distances), hike, bike, and even go in the water with them. They breathe well like sandals, have great arch support, and are close-toed to protect your toesies!
princess_eab princess_eab 9 years
Some Reef styles have arch support and are okay for daily wear (though I have super high arches and walk a lot since I don't have a car). Teva flops also have support and mold to feet-- better. But if I'm going to be on my feet all day I wear my trusty Mephisto Helens, which are cute as well as extremely supportive and well-made.
megagirl megagirl 9 years
I don't know though - I mean I know the $2.50 Old Navy ones aren't meant to be worn all the time, but all late spring, summer, and early fall I wear flip flops, and I've never had a problem! I usually wear Reefs but I've also heard Rainbows are good, as trendyindc was saying. I've definitely done full days, including full days of walking at a theme park on vacation with my family, and while my feet were sore at the end of the day, there was no difference from the flip flop day soreness and the running shoe day soreness. Maybe I'm just a weirdo though - because I can run in them too for short distances (I found that out while rushing to hand in a papers a few times before their deadlines). But you really can get supportive flips flops that are much better, in my opinion, than a lot of the other shoes out there, once you get outside of athletic footwear. And I've even seen flip flops that have a shock absorber system like you'd have in a running shoe - you know how you can look in a little window on the side of the sole under the heel and there's air and like a special grid or something to absorb shock? Maybe that's not really what that is...but you know what I'm talking about and you can even get that in a flip flop!
cgmaetc cgmaetc 9 years
I have narrow feet and high arches, so flip-flops KILL my feet. The toe-gripping thing is a nightmare... I remember trying to run from a dog wearing flip-flops and I just had to kick them off and take off across the hot asphalt barefoot.
muchacha muchacha 9 years
what about sandals..??
MateLatte MateLatte 9 years
I heard that there's another reason flip flops might be bad for your feet - with every step you are curling your toes to clutch the flip flop to your foot (this is true of lots of backless sandals) and it makes me think of repeptive stress injuries. Does anyone else know whether this could be a problem?
Amethyst Amethyst 9 years
This is true. Last summer I had to go to the foot doctor because I had severe ball of the foot pain and it was due to wearing flip flops so much.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
As much as I love flip flops, I have to agree. They aren't meant to be worn for a full day of shopping or at an amusement park, Wish I could say I didn't learn this the hard way.
sunshyne sunshyne 9 years
what a hard habit to break
susanec susanec 9 years
Timberlands have arch support and are still cute and comfortable, I've had the Lucinda style for a while and want another color. Merrill has some good options as well.
trendyindc trendyindc 9 years
Rainbows! You can get them with levels of arch support and they're cheaper than birkenstocks (around 50). Best things ever and they have a warrenty.
littletrackbabe littletrackbabe 9 years
i was never supposed to wear flip flops because they are terrible for my feet. (i have flat feet and back problems. and i am only 14). my chiropractor told me to get birkinstocks and let me tell you a flip flop(old navy) 2.50 birkenstocks 109 it makes a huge diff
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