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Men Shouldn't Wear Flip-Flops, But Not Because Feet Are Gross

This debate has no sole.

It's summer, the season when the internet asks itself whether or not men who wear flip-flops are inhuman beast-slobs or irresistible sex magnets.

The ladies of The Cut hashed it out. Men's Fitness investigated. Mashable and the Telegraph each wrote a hit piece, and bipartisan Birchbox provided both sides of the argument.

There seems to be no gray area: You're either for men in flip-flops or against it, and The Huffington Post newsroom is no different.

"I like to think I'm an open-minded person," said Noah Michelson, executive editor of our Queer Voices section. "But if I show up for a blind date and the guy I'm meeting is wearing flip-flops and jeans, I'm leaving."

Viral news editor Hilary Hanson is "pro-everyone in flip-flops. I honestly do not understand the hate that flip-flops receive as compared with other sandals."

For Melissa Radzimski, social editor for HuffPost Entertainment, wearing flip-flops is "like walking around barefoot, begging for you to get dirty feet, and then flaunting your dirty feet to the world as if it's something to be proud of. We must do better."

Michael Fassbender wore flip-flops at a 2011 photocall for "A Dangerous Method" in Venice.
Michael Fassbender wore flip-flops at a 2011 photocall for "A Dangerous Method" in Venice.

Truth is, there's never been a consensus -- there's always going to be one vote for "men should wear whatever they want" to match every person who thinks a guy's feet are hideous and should be hidden forever.

But the aesthetic argument is missing the point. As Voices culture writer Zeba Blay said, "No one should be wearing flip-flops ever."

She's right.

Men shouldn't wear flip-flops because they're dangerous. In fact, nobody should wear them.

This is according to podiatrists who told us that because flip-flops provide little to no protection or support for your feet, they're best reserved for minimal wear at the beach, shower or swimming pool.

Michael Kors wore flip-flops last year to a Halloween party hosted by Bette Midler. 
Michael Kors wore flip-flops last year to a Halloween party hosted by Bette Midler. 

"By design, a flat sandal allows flattening of the arch ... and can place undue tension or pulling of the plantar fascia," which can lead to plantar fasciitis, said Dr. Leslie Campbell, a podiatrist and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Dr. Alex Kor, president of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, told HuffPost that the most important feature in any shoe is the shank, something most flip-flops do not have: The shank is the supportive section between the inner and outer soles that provides most of the structure under the arch of your foot.

Kor adds that because flip-flops don't secure themselves to your feet, they're flat-out dangerous.

"The fact remains that 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, concluding that he "cannot recommend flip-flops for long term wear."

"All flip-flops do not offer heel stabilization and this leads to gripping of the toes," Dr. Megan Leahy, a Chicago-based podiatrist with the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, told HuffPost. "When the heel is unstable, toes tend to grip, which can lead to tendinitis, worsening of toe deformities, nail problems, corns, and calluses... Additionally, tripping and sprains and strains are more common with his unstable and un-protective shoe gear."

So if you're good to keep the flip-flops at the pool, we think the best thing you can do everywhere else is keep showing off those mankles -- man ankles. Check out these non-flip-flop summer shoe options:

ASOS
The blue suede gives a nice pop of color to the classic Adidas Originals Spezia sneakers ($85, ASOS).
TOMS
Say you have a dinner or an outdoor barbeque: You can still keep it classy while going sockless in huaraches -- this season's espadrilles. Grab a pair of black leather huaraches, like these from Toms ($96.85, Toms), that stretch to fit your feet. You're all set.
K-Swiss
The rubber sole and gum toe of K-Swiss' revamped Irvine OG ($100, K-Swiss) make it a great crisp shoe for everyday wear during the warm months.
Brooks
The classic Brooks Chariot ($79.99, Brooks) gets a wide-ranging colorway this season, and we love this royal blue/emerald green combo.
Rockport
Rockport's Weekend Retreat 3-eye boat shoes ($89.99, Rockport) are breathable, slip resistant and marketed as shoes you can throw in the washing machine if they get smelly.
East Dane
These days it might seem like there is no other summer shoe than the Birkenstock, and while they provide more support with a stronger shank than a flip-flop, they can be expensive. These EVA Birks ($35, East Dane) don't break the bank.