Flip Flops Are Not Just For Politicians!

by DavalosMcCormack on June 9, 2008

Call me Old School. In fact you might call me a boring old fart. I have a bit of a problem with just how the flip flop has now become so commonplace. Not to say common. Now a new study out says that the popularity of flip flops is not just a sign of changing styles, it’s also a warning sign that the wearer is heading for foot problems.

Growing up in England the only time you saw flip flops was at the seaside in the summer. Even then the weather was usually so unpredictable that flip flops were often only worn by kids who seemed oblivious to the fact that they were running around in a swimsuit in 50 degree weather with a strong wind and rain on the way. Ah, summer in England!

But I digress. The point is that flip flops were only ever worn at the beach or around the pool. At some point they migrated from those areas to the streets, to college classrooms, even to offices. I realised that matters had reached the point of no return when some women members of Northwestern University’s national lacrosse championship team wore flip flops to the White House for a meet-and-greet with President Bush. When people begin to think that a cheap piece of foam and plastic is appropriate footwear for a formal meeting with the President of the United States you know that things have changed.

Well, regardless of whether you think of flip flops as a statement of fashion, style, or lack of style wearing them every day can be bad for your feet. Researchers at Auburn University found that wearing flip flops on a regular basis you may end up with sore feet, ankles and legs.

In a news release from the University, lead researcher Justin Shroyer said “We found that when people walk in flip flops they alter their gait, which can result in problems and pain from the foot up into the hips and lower back.”

They found that flip flop wearers took shorter steps and that their heels hit the grounds with less vertical force than when the same walkers wore athletic shoes. And because wearers tend to trip the flip flop with their toes, they did not bring their toes up as much during the leg’s swing phase, which again forced them to change the way they walked.

So, while it may be comfortable and cool and casual, it’s not necessarily good for you. Now the researchers are not saying you should never wear them, only that you shouldn’t wear them every day. Because they are not designed to give the foot all the support it needs.

I was also going to write about how wearing shoes with 4 inch high heels is really bad for you, but Shirley slapped me around the head and took the computer away.

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