Other than socks, flop-flps are the most popular footwear on the planet. These inexpensive beacons of beachwear have been in and out of fashion since the 1950’s, and they are making a great come back moving into the 21st century. 

The flip-flop seems to be determined to become a part of everyday footwear, especially in warm climates. For years, podiatrists have warned that wearing flip-flops for long periods of time over long distances could cause pain and bio-mechanical unbalance. Despite all the podiatrists’ warnings and research results, medical advice doesn’t seem to have adversely affected the popularity of the current trend toward flip-flops. 

Originally, born in Japan, the flip-flop was fabricated either of woven bamboo or solid wood, both of which are environmentally friendly. Because of growing environmental concerns, some manufacturers have began to construct them from recycled inner tubes or car tires, as well as natural materials like hemp, cotton, and coconut fibers. Because they are easily replaced and popularly made from inexpensive materials, such as EVA and MCR (blown rubber) they are frequently discarded at beaches or in the  streets. These disposal habits pose more of a problem when they are made from MCR. This popular soling material contains a number seven resin that is not biodegraded and tends to lie in land fills for decades. 

If your going to opt to wear flip-flops, follow these simple rules. 

1. Don’t buy cheap flip-flops. Choose at least the better quality, more expensive brands with anatomical footbeds and decent arch support. Orthafeet, Vasyli, FitFlops, and Chaco are better choices. Better still, a decent sandal with adjustable straps that can be loaded with a custom footbed is preferable. These would be brands like Finn Comfort, Naot, Birkenstock, Drew, Aarvon, and any other sandals with removable footbeds. They may cost a bit more, but will last for years and when loaded with custom orthotic footbeds, become your sandal of choice due to the all day comfort you will feel. 

2. Avoid wearing flip-flops when participating in physical activities. Don’t try to run or play sports in flip-flops. Remember, there is no protection or cover for your feet and chances of injury are greatly increased if flip-flops are worn for sports, even if it is just for fun. 

3. Don’t wear flip-flops for long periods of time unless you have chosen the higher quality supportive ones or opted for the custom fitted type. Avoid choosing them for everyday footwear, even on vacation. The cheap variety of flip-flop is just not supportive enough long term to be healthy for your feet or the rest of your body. You body depends on good supportive footwear just like your car depends on good tires.

4. Don’t allow your children to wear flip-flops as the shoe of choice. These feet are growing feet and need good support to develop properly through these formative years. Continual over-pronation of the foot will result in flat feet. The flip-flop offers nothing in the way of proper support for over-pronated feet. Over time the feet will break down and become problematic throughout life. Not worth it.

Well, obviously there is a place for the flip-flop and most podiatrists and pedortists would agree that around the pool and at the beach are acceptable. They can provide short-term benefits, such as after a pedicure, stretching tired aching feet after long periods of tight shoes, post game relief form sports activity, or helping beach goers avoid hot sand. Of course, a good sandal would offer these same features plus the benefits of proper arch and plantar surface support. There is a better grade of flip-flop on the market at a  higher price. A flip-flop with an anatomical planter foot-bed or one with a custom support option is recommended and preferred to the basic style. However, there is no competing with the cost of a basic rubber flip-flop. Still available for $1 or $2 in any corner store everywhere in the world, the flip-flop is not only easy to slip on or off, it fits any type foot. The flip-flop seems to be here to stay. Commercially speaking, the flip-flop manufacturers can boost: “We fit more feet than any other category of footwear on the planet. Scary isn’t it?

For more information about your feet, and proper custom orthotic support go to www.walkezstore.com. 

Remember…When your feet feel good you feel good.