Flip flops used to be a simple, cheap summer shoe that gave you a bit of protection from rough or hot surfaces, but more recently, they have become the footwear of choice for many. You can't blame them, with all the fancy styles, eye catching shades, and even corporate logos.
But these shoes were never meant to be someone's primary shoes.
So what are the pros and cons of flip flops?
On the positive side, they do offer some protection for the soles of your feet when walking around on the sand at the beach, or on hot concrete when you are poolside. They can also decrease the risk of catching plantar warts or athlete's foot when using public showers (especially important in college dorms). But for the most part, those are the only good things about flip flops.
On the negative side, since these shoes were never meant to be worn for long periods of time, they have very little if any arch support, leading to foot pain and tendinitis. Additionally, since there is no toe protection, stubbed toes can easily occur and many ER's see broken toes and torn nail beds caused by kicking something without the toe protection that shoes provide.
Another hazard with flip flops is tripping which can lead to a variety of injuries from sprained ankles to broken bones caused by the fall.
Something that many people would not consider when wearing flip flops is driving safety. By wearing a loose shoe, you run the risk of your shoe coming off of your foot and interfering with your brake or gas pedals.
But I really like wearing flip flops, what can I do?
As with many things in life, moderation is a good thing. If you wear them for brief periods of walking, you probably aren't going to do major damage to your feet. And if you have feet that are prone to over flatten, you may be better of going to sandals that can be built with more arch support, but still give you much of the free feeling of flip flops.
Also, don't forget sunscreen, especially at the start of summer.
Then, to counteract the effects of wearing your flip flops, be sure to do some stretching and strength building exercises to better support your arch.
And of course, by consistently wearing Happy Feet, The Original Foot Alignment Socks, you will help to better align your toes and increase their flexibility to help alleviate foot pain and promote healthier feet.
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