Are flip-flops safe?

feet in Flip Flop SandalsSummer is the official start to flip-flop season. Whether you’re headed to the pool or the beach, flip-flops are a summer favorite, for sure.

The all-American shoe isn’t really that American, actually. Flip-flops date back to 1500 B.C. and were once quite popular among ancient Egyptians.

Although flip-flops are our go-to shoes in the summer, they may not the best for your back. Studies have shown that flip-flops may actually cause a herniated disc if you wear them too often. The flimsy shoes force you to alter your stride, making it easier for you to injure your back.

Increased back pain isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when wearing flip-flops. Studies have also shown that flip-flops are a flop for your feet. More than 78 percent of adult Americans suffer from some sort of foot ailment – many of which can be traced back to improper footwear.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of flip-flop wearing.

Do:

Buy quality. Stopping at the drugstore on your way to the beach or pool to grab a pair of flip-flips is so easy to do. Those discount flip-flops can also cause more hassle than they’re worth. So spend the extra bucks and buy some quality flip-flops that are better for your feet.

Make sure they fit. This may seem like common sense, but when you’re buying flip-flops, make sure they are the correct size. Your heel and toes should not extend past the shoe. Flip-flops that are too big make it easier for injury to occur.

Lather up. While you’re protecting the rest of your body from the sun, don’t forget your feet. Flip-flops leave your feet exposed to the sun, so make sure that you put some sunscreen on your toes.

Slow down. Walk, don’t run, in flip-flops. There’s nothing worse than picking up the pace only to end up face first in the sand because your shoe got caught on something.

Don’t:

Wear flip-flops all day. Give your feet a break. They may seem like the most comfortable shoes on the planet, but overuse wreaks havoc on your feet and spine.

Recycle your flip-flops. Invest in new, quality flip-flops every year. Don’t re-wear your flip-flops from year to year. As flip-flops degrade, the sole becomes even more flimsy, offering your feet less support.

Flip-flops, like most things, should only be used in moderation. They should not be your go-to pair of shoes. Incorporating some of these tips into your routine may help you stave off some unwanted foot and back pain.

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