Flip-Flops – Harmless, Right? For most of us, the humble flip-flop is associated with relaxed vacations and lazy summers. Easy to take on, easy to slip off – what’s not to love? Unfortunately, flip-flops don’t love you back! Read on to find out why you should consider ditching the flip-flops this summer, or at least keep some alternatives to hand (or foot!).
What Flip-Flops Really Do To Your Body
1. They leave you more vulnerable to bunions.
Because you must continually flex your toes in order to keep them on your feet, flip-flops force your foot into an unnatural position that can result in bunions – large, disfiguring bumps on your toe joints. These are both painful and unsightly.
2. They make you more likely to trip up.
Flip-flops tend to have little ‘grip’ to their soles. Furthermore, the soles flap free as you walk and can become trapped on grating and escalators. This can be dangerous as well as annoying!
3. They are made of toxic materials.
Flip-flops often contain plastics that are harmful to your skin and the environment such as BPA, which may cause cancers.
4. If you have flat feet or fallen arches, flip flops are a terrible idea.
Flip-flops offer no foot support. For those of us with fallen arches, this will only make the condition worse.
5. They reduce your walking speed.
Researchers have demonstrated that flip-flops slow you down. You are literally going to move at a slower pace than those who opt for proper footwear.
6. They make you more likely to develop a fungal or bacterial infection.
Flip-flops leave your skin exposed to the floor. This increases your risk of contracting various kinds of infection including athlete’s foot and HPV, which causes warts.
7. They increase your risk of heel pain.
Most flip-flops do not provide adequate protection for your heels. This means that when you walk on hard or uneven surfaces, your heels are vulnerable to injury and pressure that can result in chronic pain over time.
8. They can lead to ‘hammertoe.’
The way in which your foot needs to grasp onto the flip-flop can result in ‘hammertoe,’ a condition in which a toe joint contracts and becomes permanently bent. This can cause tremendous pain. Worse, this condition can become worse over time and even result in the need for foot surgery, which can seriously inconvenience your lifestyle.
9. They can impair your posture.
Too much time in flip-flops can lead to backache and poor posture as your feet are completely unsupported. This has a knock-on effect that can result in back, knee and hip pain. Flip-flops encourage you to take shorter strides, and this can eventually alter your natural walking style.
10. They cause blisters.
Flip-flip toeposts – those plastic parts that go between your first and second toes – can rub your feet and cause painful blisters within a few hours of you putting them on. Blisters can burst, and this can leave you vulnerable to developing infections in the open wounds.
How To Minimise The Damage
1. Choose shoes made of natural fibres.
Non-plastic footwear made of natural fibres such as hemp are more skin-friendly than those made from latex or plastic.
2. Minimise the time you spend wearing flip-flops.
If you can’t stand to throw your flip-flops out, then at least keep the hours spent wearing them down to a couple per day. Never go for extended walks in unsupportive shoes.
3. Make sure you clean your flip-flops regularly.
Keep the soles and straps clean and use an antibacterial wash on them every few days. This will help minimise the risk of spreading infection to other people.
4. Work on your posture.
Consider taking up yoga, dance or a similar exercise that will help you offset some of the damage done by flip-flops to your posture.
Featured photo credit: Schlumpf98/Pixabay via pixabay.com