Who can resist wearing a pair of light and airy flip-flops as soon as warm weather hits the Natural State? Flip-flops are are cheap, easy and come in any color you want. And they’re great for showing off pedicures! But, is this summer staple shoe really beneficial for your feet? Some doctors are now cautioning people to wear them as little as possible.
UAMS orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ruth Thomas says that flip-flops are fine for some people and not for others. “For those with normal feet, without any deformity or diabetes, flip-flops are about the same as walking barefoot. The problems come when individuals have deformities, poor balance or numb feet. For these individuals, flip-flops do not provide adequate support, can be dangerously unstable and do not adequately protect.”
Flip-flops can also be harmful for those with flat feet because the shoes do not provide much support. One study by Auburn University researchers found that flip-flops can cause ankle, leg and feet pain for those with flat feet or other foot problems. They found that flip-flop wearers take shorter steps and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than when wearing athletic shoes.
The shoes can also threaten your safety. Dr. Thomas warns that flip-flops can be dangerous in particular environments, such as wet surfaces. “Flip-flops in the water or in a wet environment can be especially dangerous as the wet foot can literally slip off the shoes and lead to injury.”
Ultimately, Dr. Thomas suggests talking to your doctor if you have questions about the type of shoe best for your feet.