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Are Flip Flops Dangerous For Your Feet?

During our warm weather months, flip flops are on display in an array of colors and playful styles. But can this popular summer footwear be harmful for your feet?

Whether you are spending summer time by the pool, at the beach, or running weekend errands, flip flops are easy to slip into and fun to wear. They are impervious to poolside splashing, easy to brush off after a sandy walk on the beach, and keep your feet cool as the mercury rises.

Do they provide any support?

There is nothing wrong with a summer wardrobe that includes flip flops, as long as you are aware of their limitations and wear them for appropriate activities. Flip flops offer very little in terms of arch support and foot protection. Their minimal construction means that your toes are continually gripping to keep them on, and this changes your stride and your body’s overall biomechanics. Because flip flops lack sturdiness, they aren’t the best choice for every summer activity; in fact, constant wear may cause foot pain that could spread to other joints and muscles. We have some guidelines to help you understand when flip flops are fine, and when you should reach for a more supportive shoe.

When and when not to wear flip flops

Flip flops are fine for a day spent poolside or at the beach. When you plan to lounge by the water and swim, flip flops provide traction and waterproof protection for the bottoms of your feet.

Don’t wear flip flops if you plan to walk long distances. When your toes have to grip for extended periods of walking, you risk aches and pains in your feet and legs. An athletic shoe or sport sandal offering greater contact with your foot and more support and control is a better choice for a day when you are going to be doing a lot of walking.

Flip flops are not designed for sports activity. When you run, jump, or bike in flip flops, you risk sprains, falls, scraped toes, and other injuries. If you plan to be active, wear a sport shoe designed to support and protect your feet.

Different designs may provide more support

Some flip flops have a more foot-friendly design than others. A style with arch support, cushion, and a stiffer sole is the best choice for your feet. If you do feel pain, inflammation, redness, or stiffness in flip flops, switch to a more supportive shoe. If symptoms don’t subside, talk with your doctor. When you match your footwear to your summer recreation, you can enjoy everything summer has to offer—on strong, healthy feet.

Summit Orthopedics offers personalized foot and ankle expertise

Our fellowship-trained foot and ankle physicians understand that your mobility depends on the health of your feet and ankles. If you have suffered an injury or are experiencing symptoms that make walking painful, our team of foot and ankle specialists can help with conservative treatment, seasoned surgical teams, and expert rehabilitation support. Summit Orthopedics specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely get you back on your feet and on your way.

Start your journey to optimal foot health. Find your foot and ankle expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.