Where do you stand in the conversation of fashion vs. function — and now, vs. flip flops!? Could it be that the summer shoe staple may be worse for your feet than high heels? We all know that wearing high heels too often can be bad for your back and feet (Sarah Jessica Parker recently took her doctor’s advice to give up her beloved pumps because her feet were so messed up) but who knew that flip flops—the official lazy shoe of summer—could be just as bad for you, ergonomically?
The New York Daily News reports that wearing flip flops can lead to neck and hip problems (from scrunching your toes as you walk, which can change your normal gait) to sprains and twists from the lack of ankle support. Doctors advise against wearing flip flops for extended periods of time for a number of reasons, such as the lack of arch support and the fact that these flat shoes can’t take a regular pounding on the pavement like shoes with a regular sole can.
If you love flip flops and can’t bare the thought of giving them up, I have good options for you. While they might not be at the height of fashion, the American Podiatric Medical Association has a list of the best brands to buy to avoid injury.
The group loves almost any of the shoes from a company called Fitflop. Here’s the Lulu, which goes for €.80 but promises “ergonomic comfort.”
Another brand, Orthoheels, sells it’s supportive Wave flip flops on Zappos for €.59.95.
As you can see, these styles are on the sportier end of the spectrum but you can have comfort in knowing they won’t hurt your feet or lead to health issues down the road.