Flip-Flops Bashed for Being Dangerous, But That's Not the Whole Story

Eye Roll 14

woman's feet in flip-flopsEvery summer, a magazine, news outlet, or research journal has to rain on our flip-flop-lovin' parade by coming out with yet another warning about how the easygoing footwear is KILLING our feet!

This year's version comes to us courtesy of CBS and expert Dr. David S. Levine, foot and ankle surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC ... They'd like to remind us that flip-flops that don't provide arch support may contribute to our toe troubles. And by the way, 78 percent of adults have had at least one foot problem in their lives, according to the National Foot Health Assessment 2012!

As someone who at 28 just started having bothersome foot issues (caused by accidents whilst wearing "risky" footwear), I get it. But why is it that these finger-wagging stories always seem to fail to mention that not all flip-flops are wreaking havoc on our feet?

Sure, basic flip-flops aren't doing us any favors. The $1 kind you can buy at Old Navy or a drugstore, just for throwing on and going to the beach or the pool, definitely lack the arch support one needs for doing any actual walking. But in the past few years, shoemakers have tried to tackle this issue and offer we the people of Flip-Flop Nation some appealing, aesthetically-pleasing, and safer options.

Take FitFlops. Not to sound like a commercial or anything -- because even though they totally should for how much I rave about them, they're not paying me, I swear -- but I LIVE IN THEM. The -- gulp -- $70+ I forked over for them was steep, I admit, but you basically won't find anything else on my feet all summer long. They really are as comfortable as they're cracked up to be and do sport the arch support that experts lament regular flip-flops lacking. In fact, their design takes advantage of the natural biomechanics of your foot by promoting natural roll -- which regular flip-flops hinder. 

Similarly, companies like Reef and Okabashi seem to be looking out for our tootsies by designing flip-flops with arch support. So, clearly, "healthier" flip-flops exist. And if you give 'em a shot, you'll probably fall in love with a pair you'd gladly trade your traditional ones (and all the foot problems that come with them!) in for.

What footwear do you tend to wear all summer long? Are you concerned about foot problems they might cause?

general health, shoes


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mande... manderspanders

I love my flip flops as well... but the cheapy ones were really bothering my ankles.  Even walking around the grocery store was getting to be painful.  I decided to get a pair of Skechers tone-ups - NOT because of whatever stupid advertising ploy, but because they actually supported my feet the way I needed. I now wear these when I go for walks in my neighborhood (I hate putting on socks and shoes).  I also got a pair of Nike Comfort flip flops (with the gel in the insole). I love them as well, but not for long walks.

I wanted a pair of FitFlops, but they were just too expensive at this point.

Yea, there really are some good options out there; and if you aren't hard on your shoes, shelling out a bit more for a good pair of flip flops isn't a big deal when they can last for more than one summer.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I wear light sneakers, Keds type things. I can't stand flip flops, even the expensive ones are so uncomfortable to me.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

YET, flip flops are a pregnant girl's best buddy. I'm 8 months and I spit at shoes with closed toes and laces :-p

Pinkmani Pinkmani

I wear all types of shoes, but when I do get flip flops they can't be the cheap rubbery ones. My arches have fallen and I suffer from plantar fasciitis. Now, I get cortisone injections to help...


I'm with RhondaVeggie. Can't stand the things. Don't care if they cost $1 or $100. They look like crap and I can't stand having something between my toes. I really don't get  how EVERYONE but me (or so it seems) doesn't mind that sensation.  I tried and tried as a kid and could never get over that feeling.  Give me tennis shoes any day.

NoR_C... NoR_CaL_MoMmY

I wear Reef sandals that have an arch and my feet are so comfy all day. I can't wear the cheapie sandals anymore. Plus they have a bottle opener on the bottom which is pretty neat, haha!

alway... alwayscurious

O too, wear the Tone Ups from Sketchers, or should I say, wore. They recently gave out after two years. I will be looking for another pair. Those things are so freakin comfy!

Sierr... SierraLynn

I spent I think $20 at Target for a pair of flip flops that have some arch support and don't make my feet hurt. I love them. I am also just about 9 months pregnant. So those sandals have been my best friends since about March.

PonyC... PonyChaser

When i wear shoes, I alternate between a pair of Keen hiking sandals - which not only have arch support, but also closed-toes so that I don't have to worry about obstacles - and a pair of arch-supporting flip-flops. I never could wear the cheapie things. Talking to my own doctor, though, he says that the best thing is to go barefoot when I can, since it allows the muscles in my feet to work naturally.

nikki... nikki32230

I got a pair of reefs this year, I always loved flip flops, and pretty much will wear them until the snow starts falling, but I will never buy a cheap crappy pair again!

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