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Flip flops and our feet

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Flip flops and our feet!

It was National flip flop day in America this week so it inspired me to write a few words on how bad they can be for our feet in the summer. Flip flops have been around in some version since 1500 BC but became more popular after the second world war when American soldiers brought them back from Japan. They became the universal unisex beach footwear in the 1960’s and are still popular today. Natural materials gave way to artificial and became the more rubber soled ones we see today both in formal and informal settings.

So why are they so bad for your feet?

You may think flip flops are easier to wear and comfy as we just slip into them however, they are much harder to wear than other types of footwear and can be worse than high heels.

  1. Your toes need to adapt a claw like formation to get a grip in the sole and keep the thong in between the toes.
  2. Your muscles are constantly straining to keep the flip flop on your feet leading to muscle soreness but more concerningly hammertoes and bunions.
  3. The flat piece of rubber that your foot rests on is quite thin, more so with the fashion ones that you might see and doesn’t provide any protection or arch support for your foot when it is pounding the pavements which can lead to overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis, tendonitis and shin splints
  4. If you are prone to sweaty feet, your foot can slip out of your flip flop and cause injury as above.
  5. They also cause hard skin and callouses
  6. It goes without saying that never ever drive in them, in fact I believe it is an offence to drive in flip flops as they can get stuck in the pedals.

If you must have them then.

  1. Make sure they fit your foot properly.
  2. Buy a really good quality pair such as havaianas which are slightly heavier than the cheaper ones or better still go for Fit-flops or the Birkenstock that has an ankle strap to hold in your foot and help it to relax.
  3. It goes without saying that never ever drive in them, in fact I believe it is an offence to drive in flip flops as they can get stuck in the pedals.

So, to finish; flip flops should only be used for

  • Lounging at the pool
  • Walking across hot sand/ pebbles to get to the water or road to get to and from the beach
  • Using a public shower to protect against warts and such like

Better still, walk barefoot if you can, studies have shown that we should all be walking barefoot as much as possible especially as children as it strengthens our posture, allows our sensory perception to be refined and helps us to ground ourselves.

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