ARE FLIP-FLOPS BAD FOR YOUR FEET (5 arguments FOR flip-flops, and 5 arguments against)!
Summer is the time when the rubber hits the road. No, I'm not talking about tires. I'm talking about flip-flops!
Flip-flops have become the shoe-of-choice for a whole generation. Go to the mall any time (yes - even in the winter!) and you are bound to see them flopping by a lot more than you used to.
You see, flip-flops, are no longer relegated to the beach. Now flip-flops flop up at all sorts of places - stores, school, the doctor's office, restaurants, and yes - even the office.
Some people feel this is just bad etiquette. Others (flip-flop aficianados, of course) will disagree.
I have to admit. I am one of those flip-flop wearing people you will see flopping by. Flip-flops are just so darn...convenient!
Which brings me to the question at hand (or 'at foot'): "Are flip-flops bad for your feet?" Well, they can be. That's why I think, like a rubber pancake, flip-flops have two sides to them. Read on!
First, we'll start with 5 BAD things about wearing flip-flops, shall we?
1). FLIP-FLOPS CAN BE BAD FOR THE HEALTH OF YOUR FEET.
People who wear flip-flops a lot tend to complain about heel, arch and foot problems. Tendinitis, Plantar fasciitis (a painful inflammatory condition of the heel) and stress fractures are the most common conditions of flip-flop wearers.
Flip-flops give no support to the bottom of your foot, leaving it vulnerable to twists and turns. This can lead to breaks, sprains, and falls. The thin flat soles have no shock-absorbing abilities.
Researchers have found flip-flop wearers actually take shorter steps, placing more stress on the body, and posing a higher risk of muscle and joint pain in the legs, knee, hip and back.
Toes were another issue. Wearers scrunch their toes to keep the flip-flop on. This causes throbbing and tenderness in the toes. Because the foot is not lifted as much, wearers start walking with the classic flip-flop shuffle (uh-oh)!
Heel pain is also increasingly being seen in 15- to 25-year olds, a group that doesn't normally have this issue. Flip-flops being worn every day have been cited as the main cause.
Flip-flops are fine in moderation - on a short shopping trip - around the pool - to the beach. This is the way they were originally intended to be worn. However, for longer treks and every day wear, they are not recommended.
2). FLIP-FLOPS MAKE YOU LAZY
Because flip-flops are so convenient (see the 5 good things about flip-flops) you may just start wearing them everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE; the museum, a broadway show, the courtroom, on a hot date, to your child's parent/teacher conference - even out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. (Isn't that what those gold flip-flops with the rhinestone bling on the straps are for)?
After all, it's just so simple to slide your foot into something, as opposed to struggling into a real shoe, having to BEND OVER, and then having to TIE the laces (sigh...)
But maybe, just maybe, this laziness is not such a good thing. It may just point to an overall attitude of laziness in general, no? And laziness is never good because it can dangerously spiral out of control. Laziness leads to more laziness, which leads to more laziness, which leads to more laziness, and before you know it, we're all just sitting around in our flip-flops not doing a darn thing!
3). FLIP-FLOPS CAN CAUSE PLANTAR FASCIITIS
I know I already mentioned this particular problem, but I feel it deserves it's own number. Maybe that's because I personally suffered through it. As I stated earlier, Plantar Fasciitis is becoming more and more of a problem for us people in our twenties due to excessive flip-flop wearing. And it's NO JOKE!
A few years ago, I decided to start walking more for exercise (a good decision). So I trecked for miles IN MY FLIP-FLOPS (a BAD decision). My heel was in so much pain after that, I could barely walk at all (so much for exersise)! Every time I came down on my foot, it hurt. I remember always seeking out soft grass to walk on, while my companions walked on the sidewalk. Take it from me, you don't want to get this!
4). FLIP-FLOPS CAN MAKE YOU LOOK UNPROFESSIONAL
Flip-flops at the office. Flip-flops at meetings with the boss. Flip-flops suddenly flip-flopping all over the corporate landscape? Many argue, so what's wrong with being comfortable at work?
Well, it could be that your higher-ups will view your flip-flop wearing as having too flip an attitude about work. They may interpret your beachy attire as a sign that you are not taking your job seriously, thus holding your flip-flops against you. This isn't a chance you want to take, right? If you like being cool and comfortable, there are plenty of nice sandals you can wear, which will look more professional. (Now if your boss wears flip-flops, that's a different story).
5). FLIP-FLOPS ARE DANGEROUS IN OTHER WAYS
Flip-flops have been linked to foot blisters, sores and nasty fungal infections from the strap rubbing between the toes. (Ew! Be sure to wash those flip-flops, people)!
And now, to be fair to all you loyal flip-flop wearers, here are 5 GOOD things about flip-flops:
1). FLIP-FLOPS ARE JUST SO DARN COMFORTABLE
There is nothing more comfortable than a pair of nicely worn-in flippies! Shoes can bind and pinch and rub. Wearing flip-flops is almost as good as going barefoot - which is our natural state, right?
2). FLIP-FLOPS ARE JUST SO DARN CONVENIENT
You're in a rush - need to get out that door - well guess what? Slipping on some flip-flops takes 1.2 seconds, whereas REAL shoes or boots? Well, they could take as long as a whole minute to put on! Okay, so I totally made up those time frames. But you get the idea! You can't beat flip-flops when it comes to convenience.
3). FLIP-FLOPS ALLOW YOUR FEET TO BREATH
The temperature is soaring - the humidity is high - the last thing you want is to stuff your poor foot into some sweaty sort of confinement (i.e. real shoe) where it can't breath! Flip-flops are refreshing. Your foot isn't hot or too-crowded feeling. Your toes are FREE! You can WIGGLE them! Your foot is nice and comfy and cool and non-sweaty.
4). FLIP-FLOPS ARE SO CUTE, COLORFUL, AND CHEAP
Flip-flops automatically give you a more fun and fancy-free sort of feeling. After all, they remind us of the beach and being on vacation. Plus they come in so many different fun colors and patterns - with all sorts of cute adornments, like flowers and sequins. You can even decorate your own straps, as a fun craft! They're fun to buy - and collect! And because they're so inexpensive, you can collect a pair in every color of the rainbow! Plus, flip-flops come with fancy embellishments and wedges, so they can even look chic and stylish when they are worn out on the town.
5). FLIP-FLOPS CAN BE BOUGHT WITH ARCH SUPPORT
Yes, it's true! That why I now only wear flip-flops that have some sort of arch support - and my feet couldn't be happier!
Granted, these "healthier choice" flip-flops are not as cheap as the bright turquoise rubber ones you find in Walmart. But that's okay! They're worth more because 1. They're so much more comfortable (you can even walk long distances in them). 2. They are so much better for your feet. and 3). They last longer because they're built sturdier.
I bought a pair of "crocs" brown and pink flip-flops the beginning of the season. Please don't cringe at the word CROC. These flips are not ugly! If they were ugly, I wouldn't wear them! They are very very cute, stylish, and comfortable, and I highly recommend them! They have a very "cushiony" heel.
For my birthday a few years ago, my mother got me FIT- flops (don't laugh at the name, please). I keep telling her, "That's the best present you ever got me!" Fit-flops come with arch support and are also supposed to "give you a work-out" while you walk. (They're a little high-priced, in the 50 dollars and up range). I have read online that they're becoming quite trendy. Well, I don't know about the "work-out" part, and I don't care about the "trendy" part. All I know, is these fit-flops are some of the most comfortable flipping shoes I've ever worn!
Flip-flops with arch support and a more cushioned bottom provide support and stability for your foot, and are the healthy alternative for those of us who love the comfort and convenience of flip-flops, but might also have "foot issues" (or just walk a lot)!
Orthotic flip-flops don't SOUND very fun, cute, or stylish. BUT WAIT! Don't let the name fool you. First of all, there's nothing FUN about having foot problems. Also, these new-age flip-flops (yes, more and more are appearing on the market) are available in all different colors and classy looking styles. Nobody even has to know they are "orthodic"! (Pssst: Check out The Healthy Feet store, online)!
In my opinion, my flip-flops with arch support are ten times more comfortable than my sneakers for walking long distances. And I have problem feet! Plus, they just look cuter, and keep my feet cooler in the summer. I have not experienced any more heel problems since I started wearing them. (The only time I don't wear them is when I walk in the woods with my husband, because he always has to go "off trail")!
They even make Sketcher's flip-flops that look like a flip-flop and a sneaker got together and had a baby - thus creating a flip-flop sneaker hybrid!
So, there you have it. The good, the bad, and (depending on your taste) the ugly of flip-flops. Are flip-flops for you? That's a choice only you (and your feet) can make!