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Are Flip Flops Bad For Your Feet?


Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time for our sandals to shine. However, if slipping on a pair of flip flops is your go-to for warm weather footwear, you might want to reconsider: Flip-flops are often bad for your feet.

We aren’t saying you have to skip the popular sandal style — just think a little more about which ones you’re investing in. According to Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, “not all flip flops are created equally.” 

The podiatrist, who works with the Innovation Lab at Vionic Shoes to create healthier shoe options, explains, “There’s a myriad of issues that can arise from [flip flops], including stress fractures, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), bunions, and hammertoes.” None of those sound like fun, especially when you’re just trying to let your little piggies breathe all summer long. 

The problems start to develop due to most traditional flip flops having thin, flat soles, which offer no support. You know the ones — they’re cheap enough that you can collect multiple colors and designs to match all your cute outfits. However, Dr. Sutera notes that these types are “really made for the beach and poolside, not a long day exploring or errand-running.” She adds that when worn for more extended periods of time, the flat foundations cause our feet to spread and collapse, which then stretches out the muscle tissues (a common culprit for painful plantar fasciitis).  

So what should you look for in a sturdy flip flop? “Proper arch support in sandals will keep the lower legs in their natural position and reduce pain,” Sutera says. She recommends shoes with contoured soles, like those she helps design for Vionic Shoes. If you’re worried about sacrificing fashion for safety, you’re in luck: The company has several stylish options, like the Tide II ($69.95, Vionic Shoes) and Casandra ($69.95, Vionic Shoes) sandals. 

You can also take a look at some of our favorite sandals for more non-flip flop options. Regardless of the style or brand you go for, the most important thing to keep in mind is making sure your flip flops actually provide support rather than a flat bottom. We promise your pedicure will look even cuter when it’s not causing you unnecessary foot pain! 

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