Flip Flops: So Cute, But So Bad for You

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Are flip flops bad for you?

Flip Flops: So Cute, But So Bad for You

They are the hallmark of balmy summer weather -- those thin-soled, brightly colored, lightweight flip flops that look so great with sun dresses and short shorts. But as cute and comfy as they are, these "shoes" (and that term is used very loosely) are not very good for your feet.

Researchers have found that people wearing flip flops, as compared to those who wear athletic shoes:

  • Take shorter steps
  • Have measurably less vertical force applied through their heels
  • Use less of a toe lift during the swing phase (when the forward moving leg is in the air) of gait
  • Walk using a larger ankle angle and shorter stride length

All of these contribute to an increased workload on the small, intrinsic muscles of the feet. More work for the muscles coupled with poor shock absorption increases the possibility of foot pain. Feet get sore and become more susceptible to overuse and chronic problems, particularly plantar fasciitis and arch strains.

While experts don't go so far as to recommend banning flip flops, they do recommend they only be worn for short periods of time, and should be replaced every three to four months.

   

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