The summery slip-ons seem ideal to throw on in a rush or to show off a pedicure. But their thin, unstructured soles offer no support, and can lead to injuries, namely “sprains, tendonitis, fasciitis, heel pain, bunions, hammertoes or stress fractures,” Jackie Sutera, a podiatrist and Vionic shoe Innovation Lab member, told HuffPost.
What it comes down to, Sutera said, is working too hard to keep the shoes on your feet.
“Toes, tendons and muscles overgrip as you walk to keep them on your feet,” she said. “There is also no arch support, offering no shock absorption or cushioning.”
Not only are you putting yourself at risk for injury by wearing flip-flops, you’re also putting yourself at risk for permanent damage.
“Ankle sprains and stress fractures from overuse of these shoes are, I think, the worst,” Sutera said. “Not only are they painful but there is usually about 6- to 8-week recovery period where your activity is very limited as you heal.”
Dr. Alex Kor, president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, has previously told HuffPost that he “cannot recommend flip-flops for long-term wear,” based on the damage they can cause across different age groups.
“Flip-flop injuries are a major problem for patients who have lost sensation to their feet (i.e. some diabetic patients), the elderly who may lack coordination, and even children who can get the flip-flop caught in a step, escalator, etc.,” he said.
But all is not lost for flip-flop fanatics, Sutera told HuffPost.
“Not all flip-flops are created equally,” she said. “Look for brands that are foot friendly and have thicker soles, arch support, wider straps and cushioning.”
Moral of the story? Get yourself some supportive shoes this summer, and save those flip-flops for the beach.