Flip-Flop Wearers Beware

   By drodriguez  Jul 17, 2008

Now that the warm summer months are upon us, you may want to toss the sneakers and boots to the back of the closet. Many of us opt to wear something light and airy like the flip-flop for running errands or attending a more casual occasion.

Before heading to the shoe store this summer, you may want to hear about some new research published in the New York Times that shows wearing thong style flip flops can be very hard on your feet, ankles, and legs.

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama conducted a study by recruiting 39 college-age men and women. The researchers had them wear both flip-flops and athletic shoes. The subjects were then told to walk on a platform where vertical force was measured as their feet hit the ground.

While wearing flip-flops, the subjects in the study tended to take shorter steps and their heels would hit the ground with less vertical force than when they wore athletic shoes. Justin Shroyer, a biomechanics doctoral student explained the study’s findings by saying, “We found that when people walk in flip-flops, they alter their gait, which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back.

So does this mean we should say goodbye to the flip-flop for good? Probably not. Shroyer, who admittedly owns a couple pairs himself, recommends people only wear flip-flops for shorter periods of time, like at the beach or running a quick errand. Shroyer stresses that the flip-flop is just not designed to support the foot and ankle for all-day wear.

What do you think of the new research stating that flip-flop wearers may experience foot, ankle, and leg pain?

Now that you’ve heard about the study, will you to give up the flip-flop on longer excursions?

Make a Comment

kokonut1966 by kokonut1966 | Tarpon Springs, FL
Aug 17, 2009

Maybe fashionable and namebrand flip-flops are "ok" but regular dollar store $3 flip-flops make me think that the wearer has dirty feet, and long, ugly toenails!! Ugh!

softballhead8 by softballhead8 | PEORIA, IL
Mar 01, 2009

I never wear flip-flops. They always bring me pain. Not from my back, but from the space between my Big toe and the one next to it. I have pretty sensitive feet and I LOVE slide-ons (like sporting ones) but rarely do I reach for the thongs.

anamika by anamika | MONMOUTH JCT, NJ
Oct 24, 2008

I love flip flops!!! they are comfortable and stylish

michieshell by michieshell | Houston, TX
Oct 05, 2008

I have just started wearing flip flops this year. It took me awhile to get used to the piece in between your toes. I haven't had any problems yet!

lizbharath by lizbharath | Saint Petersburg, FL
Oct 01, 2008

I love wearing flip-flops, but I noticied when I do wear them for long period of times my back tends to ache more and my ankles hurt.

nanners520 by nanners520 | LINO LAKES, MN
Sep 17, 2008

This is something that I have recently been dealing with! As a teenager, and young adult, I had no problem wearing flip flops nonstop and not feeling any pain at all. Recently, I have noticed soreness in my feet from wearing flip flops. I still own some and will admit that I buy a new pair each year, but I have been trying to make the switch to shoes with more support, expecially if I will be walking or hiking long distances.

Lvn777 by Lvn777 | HIGH RIDGE, MO
Sep 11, 2008

You can love your flip flops but invest more money in one that have support, also the Crocs are seemingly worse on little children and reports are saying that children learning to walk should not wear these as the support in them are horrific on little kids feet. So mothers beware of new walkers.

halfchina by halfchina | Orlando, FL
Sep 08, 2008

I live in FL, it's hard not to wear flip flops all day long and for just about all year long. I have noticed pain when I wear them, but I only started wearing them because my heals were causing pain as well. I know, one extreme to another, but the in between height I have a hard time finding shoes that I find attractive.

LoMa1234 by LoMa1234 | FRANKLIN, MA
Sep 08, 2008

I love flip flops and wear them ALL the time for about 9 months a year. I have noticed lately that they seem to give me lower back pain, so I've been trying to mix it up and wear other kinds of shoes/sandals, but I don't plan on giving them up completely.

bbred57 by bbred57 | Springfield, MN
Sep 07, 2008

I love flip-flops, but have the better made ones with arch support and the right fit. I will try on dozens of pairs before I will find just the right pair. I do not buy just the ordinary flat-type flip-flops, they will give me a back ache and foot pain within minutes of wearing. In the summer, it is either a good pair or flip-flops or no shoes at all!

Iwantedtobearockstar by Iwantedtobearockstar | Minnetonka, MN
Sep 03, 2008

I love flip-flops. You can't wear them when you know you're going to be walking a long way but that's common sense and true of many different shoes. They are GREAT for running errands and lounging around. They look cute and come in a wide variety of styles and colors and shapes. However, some flip-flops are not comfortably made and the straps rub or the weight is incorrectly distributed and that makes a strain on the toes. Old Navy ones are the best.

lancelin by lancelin | CHARLOTTE, NC
Aug 31, 2008

I too, am a flip-flop wearer and love them. I must have eight pairs, different styles, designs, and price range. But I hate to admit it you are right. After an all day wear My lower back hurts and yes it does alter your gait. I shall continue to wear flip-flops on brief occasions but rethink the prolonged all-day wear of them.

mimispears by mimispears | Spokane, WA
Aug 23, 2008

I have always loved flip flops, but in the past few years I have had to stop wearing them. I have been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis for about two years. I have spent many months (and a lot of money) in physical therapy, and now have orthotics in my shoes. Every doctor and therapist has told me to stop wearing flip flops and shoes with no backs on them. Well, the good news is that I have "had" to buy all new shoes!

tweety24311 by tweety24311 | SEA BRIGHT, NJ
Aug 21, 2008

I love flip flops, but I will have to agree with the article. They are comfortable for a day or two but because of the lack of support, one wrong move with them, and you can have a pulled tendon or sprained ankle. Its happened to me. Especially when your walking fast in the city!!

amy1234 by amy1234 | Hoboken, NJ
Aug 20, 2008

I hate flip flops. I also do not understand how women wear $400 worth of clothing but $10 rubber shower flip flops, as they do here in NYC. Insane! And ugly.