NBC News Report on Flip Flops
Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:34 am (PDT) .
I found this interesting news feature from an online NBC affiliate about the effects of flip flops. This story originally appeared on TODAY.
Here’s how to wear flip-flops without ruining your feet
Rebekah Lowin, TODAY Show
Face it: Flip-flops rock, they keep your feet cool, they’re easy to throw on, and they come in a zillion colors and styles that just about anyone can love. They’re casual and chic all at once. They’re fun. They’re friendly.
They’re also pretty terrible for your feet. Don’t believe us? Let the numbers speak for themselves. Of the 198, 437 emergency room visits due to shoe-related injuries, 25,300 were associated with flip flops in 2014, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Emergency Room visits. And there’s more. Podiatrists blame flip-flops for blisters, bacteria, viral infections, bad posture, shooting pains, bunion exacerbation (and formation!), hammertoe issues, athlete’s foot, and lack of arch support.
In a 2008 study, researchers at Auburn University found that wearing flip-flops actually change the way the wearers walk, sometimes permanently. And those changes can wreak havoc on the rest of the body, with distinct and noticeable effects on everything from the wearer’s posture to their gait.
So what does all of this mean? Should you dump all twenty-three pairs in the trash this minute?
Well, not exactly. (And besides, we know you’re not really going to listen when we tell you to break up with those bad boys.) Like chocolate cake and red wine, flip flops are totally fine in moderation.
But we do think you should heed some of our tips for keeping your exposed feet happy and healthy this summer.
Don’t drive and flip flop.
That’s a really bad idea. Just like any backless shoe, there’s a possibility that your flip flops will slip off your feet and get stuck under the brake or gas pedal. Driving shoes should always be sturdy and secure. If you’re not worried about your own safety, think about everyone else on the road. And ladies, you already know the problems with driving in stilettos. Sandals might be slightly more unassuming, but the danger’s still there.
Be a big spender.
We don’t like overspending, either. When there’s a perfectly “OK” plastic version sitting right there on the shelf, we’re gonna reach for it. But the truth is, some things are just worth the investment. Your feet and well-being, for instance.
And unless you’re shopping in a totally unreliable store, then we’re pretty sure that the more money you pay for your shoes, the more likely they are to provide arch support. On the whole, flip-flops aren’t the most expensive shoe form, and you’re bound to get a ton of use out of them. So pay up!
“Broken in” doesn’t have to mean “beautiful.”
Just like you would with running shoes, you should replace your flip flops every few months. A little wear-and-tear is cute. A lot is dangerous.
Look where you’re going.
Flip-flops offer little to no protection against broken glass, and other sidewalk debris. If you’re not willing to give your feet a cover, then at least keep your eyes open and remain alert.
Treat. Yo. Self.
And we’re not just including this one because we like pedicures. Promise. It’s important to keep your feet clean, moisturized, and pampered. Sunscreen is crucial. For one thing, everyone can see them, so you really might as well keep them looking their best. But in general, it’s a good idea to treat your feet kindly after they’re been exposed to so much sun and dirt and water.
Go for leather, if possible.
The American Podiatric Medical Association reminds us that leather makes it less likely for you to get a blister. Bonus points: You’ll get that rustic, well-worn look without having to actually break the shoes in too much. Plastic doesn’t stand a chance.
Use common sense when you’re shopping.
Shoes aren’t supposed to fold in half. Nope, sorry, no exceptions there. (You’re flip-flops can and should, however, bend just at the ball of the foot.) And “one size fits all” isn’t really a thing when it comes to foot safety.
–NBC News production assistant Kathryn Nathanson contributed to this report
The Barefoot Jedi