Diane Alter – Fourth Estate Cooperative Reporter
New York City, NY, United States (4E) – Flip flops are synonymous with summer. It is hard to refute the lighthearted, happy-go-lucky feeling of setting your feet free when putting the boots and sensible shoes of winter away and airing out the toes with a pair of the myriad flip flops that being appearing in stores by early spring and linger past late fall.
But many people have flipped on wearing their flops, and studies confirm that these innocent-looking sandals can be nothing short of treacherous.
A 2010 University of Louisiana study reported that the common behavior of curling toes to grab the flip flop when walking causes the muscles in the front of a person’s shins to work harder, putting strain on limbs, ligaments and muscles not otherwise present when walking barefoot, in sneakers or in shoes.
Another problem associated with flip flops, especially the flat ones with no heels or arch support, is that they can make a wearer flat-footed even if they are not, because without proper arch support, feet turn inward. And without proper heel support, feet slip and slide in flip flops, making legs work overtime to simply keep the shoes in place.
Still another predicament linked to wearing flip flops are that most are too flimsy and cause a wearer to walk with a shorter stride, once again stressing the legs and feet.
So what is a diehard flip flop fanatic to do?
Foot care experts recommend wearing flip flops with a good heal and arch support, and made of materials that bend—but not too much.
Flip flops should not be worn for activities that can be hazardous to the toes such as hiking. In addition, flip flops should not been worn for long walks, when sneakers are the more sensible choice.
The American Podiatric Medical Association provides a list of flip flops that get the respected group’s seal of approval at: http://www.apma.org/MainMenu/RecommendedProducts/SealofAcceptance/Seal-Flip-Flops.aspx