In defense of Flip-Flops

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE my flip-flops! So it causes me a bit of anxiety when I hear people talking about about how bad they are for your feet! I’ve read many articles on why it’s considered a bad idea to wear flip-flops. After “researching” the reasons why, there do seem to be some legitimate concerns, however I do not agree with the blanket statement that “flip-flops are bad for your feet”.

The most legitimate concern, in my opinion, is the potential for an overuse injury. With the standard flip-flop, your toes are forced to grip the bottom of the footwear in a way that is not normal for your feet. And it has to do it more often than is desirable, which could lead to an overuse injury. BUT, this is a problem that can be alleviated by simply wearing a flip flop of a different design…one in which a strap comes over the top of the foot and is nearer to the front of the ankle. This way, the toes will not be forced into an unnatural, repetitive action.  (http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/expert-advice/are-flip-flops-bad-your-feet)

The second concern which I felt had some merit, was that the arch of your foot would lack support. However, it seems to me that if you have weak arches, you are plenty aware that you might be better off with more supportive shoes, so you already KNOW that you wouldn’t want to wear flip-flops.  AND if you do still want to wear flip-flops, there is such a huge variety of flip-flops nowadays that you won’t have any trouble finding flip-flops that have arch supports.

On the flip side of that argument (pun intended ;) ), there is plenty of controversy out there over whether arch supports are a good thing or a bad thing. I personally believe that going barefoot and wearing flat shoes (or nearly flat shoes) are the way to go. If you never wear arch supports, then your arches will be strong and won’t fall. If you start wearing arch supports, you’re letting the shoe do all the work for you, and your foot muscles become weaker and weaker and you become even more reliant on the arch support in order to keep you from having foot pain.

*Here’s the disclaimer you’ve been waiting for:  If you currently suffer from flat feet, and want to build your foot strength, please do it gradually. And consult a doctor about these issues. I’m not a medical professional. I’m just a person with an opinion. (A bare-footer who has never felt the need for arch supports ;) ).

There are other concerns that people have cited in their arguments against wearing flip flops, but it seems to me that these are all issues that common sense plays a part in:

  • injuries to the foot from doing yard work in flip-flops
  • sunburn on the tops of the feet
  • snake bites and bug bites, ticks
  • ankle injuries from hiking in flip-flops or playing sports in flip-flops
  • risk of flip-flops interfering with the pedals while driving

To all of these “risks”, I would just recommend using common sense. I’m sure no one that I know of is ignorant to the risk we take when we participate in ANY activity while wearing flip-flops. And flip-flops are not the only culprit in the shoe world.  So, just take the necessary precautions that you would take whenEVER you take part in these activities, regardless of the type of shoes you are wearing.

And don’t pick on my precious flip-flops ;) !

 

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