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?