It is great to wear flip flops in the summer. They allow your feet to breathe, reducing the risk of fungal infections and smelly feet! However, their lack of support can lead to chronic foot problems, so there are a few things we need to be aware of when choosing them. Follow these tips for buying your flip flops to avoid injury, pain and permanent damage to your feet (adapted from the American Podiatric Medical Association).
- Avoid cheap plastic flip flops. They can irritate the skin and give little stability and shock-absorption.
- Look for a thick footbed. If you can bend a flip flop or twist it, it is not good for your feet.
- Look for a contoured footbed rather than flat to give arch support and stability. Your feet won’t have to work so hard to keep them on.
- Make sure you can bend the flip flop slightly at the toe only. This will create a rocker, so they are easier to walk in.
- Poorly fitting flip-flops encourage foot issues such as clawing of the toes, heel pain, e.g., Plantar Fasciitis, ball of foot pain, e.g., Metatarsalgia, and Morton’s Neuroma, Bunions and ankle injury. Make sure they fit across the top of the foot and ensure your toes do not hang over the edge as this will cause tripping.
- Replace old flip flops regularly. Don’t be tempted to wear your favourite pair year after year, check for wear and tear and discard.
- Do not wear flip flops for certain activities such as gardening, sports, driving or walking long distances. Choose the right footwear for the right job!
- Look after your feet – they are more exposed so are vulnerable to irritation, blisters, callouses, cracked heels, sunburn and injury. Take time to moisturise, file with a foot file or pumice stone, wear a sunscreen and check your feet and nails regularly.
If you follow these simple tips, you can still enjoy wearing your flip-flops this summer.