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Say NO to Flip Flops!

Flip-flops have been around since 1500 B.C. Everyone from ancient Egyptians to California surfers to Northwestern University’s women’s lacrosse team loved to free their feet and don flip flops.

They’re cute. They’re inexpensive. They show off a good pedicure. They are cool on the feet. They are easy to get on and off. They can be dressed up or down to go with just about any outfit. Flip flops conjure up happy images of sun, sand, surf, barbeques and beaches.

Female legs wearing pink daisy flip-flops isolated on white background

It’s hard to be unhappy wearing flip flops. On the surface it would appear that flip flops have a lot going for them!
However, almost 80% of North American adults report stubbed toes, broken bones, sprained ankles and falls. A major culprit is flip flops!

The Walk: An Auburn, Alabama study found that people wearing flip flops took shorter strides and their heels hit the ground with less vertical force than they did when wearing athletic shoes.

Your toes cling to the flip flop to keep it on. This causes your foot, your leg, and your hip to work in an unnatural way.

Flip flops have no arch support. This leads to flat footedness and you become pigeon toed.

Flip flops have no heel cushion. This can lead to heel calluses. It also means your foot slides around and makes your legs work harder.

Flip-flops straps can also rub as a wearer walks, creating friction that leads to blisters.

They offer next to no foot protection so wearers’ feet get cuts, scrapes and bruises.

Your foot can develop hammer toes from years of compensating for work that should have been done by the small foot muscles—which don’t have a chance to do their work in flip flops. Hammer toes are ugly and frequently painful in a shoe.

Embarrassede fmale  feet

Shoes should flex where your foot bends, said Noreen Oswell, a podiatrist at The Foot Center at the Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Flip flops bend all over the place or the stiff soles of some stylish flip flops don’t bend at all! In a flip flop, your toes flex down to hold the flip flop on. The middle part of your foot is arching up. This is the opposite of what your foot should be doing. Over time this produces fatigue and walking irregularities.

Flip flop wearers also have nothing to absorb sweat. If flip flops are not dried and feet are not washed after wearing them, this can lead quickly to foot diseases like athlete’s foot.

Very few people are born with foot ailments. These develop over time from neglect, lack of proper foot care and improper footwear.

The best shoe for everybody is a good athletic shoe that laces up and has good structure. In addition, people should always wear padded, acrylic-blend socks, which wick moisture away from the foot.

Crocs, which have some structure, cushion and breathability, can be an easy alternative to flip-flops>

So, even though flip flops are cool, easy, and inexpensive, you may well be paying a high price in foot problems.

Be the change you'd like to see in the world. Gandhi - Always, Gail

About glennon

Gail is a former teacher, a published writer, and a professional editor. She makes her home in Canada for the summer and Florida for the winter. She loves to write, to travel, and to meet new writers through her editing business. She is thrilled to play a small part in Richly Middle Class. Visit her website at http://www.gleditingandcopywriting.com.


  1. Oh my gosh…I don’t think I can do without my flip-flops. We just visited JC Penny earlier and the kids bought at least 10 pairs of flip flops each. At $1 a pair, you couldn’t beat it. I haven’t noticed any of the following problems and have my fingers crossed that I don’t see any. I can see how they could cause such problems, though. My younger child is a summer girl and look forward to the days of wearing shorts and flip flops. Thanks for the info. Will be keeping an eye out for any problems.
    Sharon recently posted…Having Brunch With Triscuit Brown Rice & Wheat CrackersMy Profile

    • Hi Sharon:

      Sorry to rain on your flip flop parade. Two nurses and a podiatrist have sent me email complimenting this blog as they too are seeing foot problems and accidents. It’s an awareness raising service. If I help one person avoid a painful sprain or break then my waving a red flag will not have been in vain.

      You raised some very valid points. Thanks for your input!

      glennon recently posted…Working the Kinks Out of LoveMy Profile

  2. I’m a school nurse and so wish I could outlaw flip-flops for all the injuries I see! But, that may put me out of business! Personally, I have never been able to wear them. Did try wearing them back in the thong days!

    • Hi Phoebe:
      Thanks for your comment! I can only guess at injuries caused by flip flops. They are not playground footwear, that’s for sure. When I taught kindergarten we used to insist on running shoes for gymnasium and playground. Flip flops only LOOK cute. Our niece whose feet are still too big for her has been told no flip flops. Bright parents!

      I can’t wear them either. The strap between toes drives me crazy!

      glennon recently posted…Working the Kinks Out of LoveMy Profile

  3. Hi Gail,

    Great article. I am personally a huge sandal wearer. I love flipflops in the summer for a nice change up. I have been back in the states for a week now and I have been buying, buying, buying because i could not really wear them for the last three years due to limited warm weather. I have not thought about all the stubbed toes that I have gotten over the years or the possible long term affect on my arches and feet that flipflogs could have.
    Cynthia recently posted…Planes, Trains, Automobile and Hot WeatherMy Profile

    • Hi Cynthia:

      I too love the look of flip flops on pedicured feet. However, I have witnessed some nasty accidents and have heard enough lectures from podiatrists to know that this footwear is about as dangerous as stiletto heels.

      Good to have you back in North America. I’ll bet you will be glad when you can put those suitcases in storage!

      glennon recently posted…Planes, Trains, Automobile and Hot WeatherMy Profile

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