One of the best parts of summer is walking barefoot through cool grass or on a warm beach. And if you can’t go barefoot, flip flops and sandals can be the next best thing. But just because it feels natural to wear flip flops and sandals doesn’t mean it’s good for your feet. So which is it? Flip flops of sandals? The answer, actually is both – and neither! Let’s clarify.
Summer Fashion, Orthopedic Quality
Simply put, when it comes to flip flops and sandals, you really do get what you pay for. While you can head to the dollar store and purchase a pair of flip flops or sandals for a few bucks, don’t expect them to last the day, or be good for your feet. When looking for summer footwear like flip flops or sandals, think quality and functionality. Your local sporting specialty store, as well as stores that specialize in orthotics and arch-supportive shoes, offer high-quality summer footwear that is both fashionable and good for you. The only thing is, be prepared to pay a lot more than a few dollars – flip flops can run upwards of $60 and sandals twice that. But how do you know what is good for your feet and what are simply fashion forward?
What to Look for in a Quality Flip or Sandal
Whether it is a flip flop or sandal, be sure to look for certain features that won’t put your feet at risk. As a minimum, both flip flops and sandals will have a thick footbed and arch supports; this prevents you from developing plantar fasciitis or tiny stress fractures in your feet. You will want to ensure there is a contoured footbed – not a flat foam surface as found in shower shoes. The heel cups should be deep and allow for shock absorption; your knees and hips will thank you! Finally, with regard to sandals, look for adjustable cushions and multiple straps; flip flops should be firm molded foam rubber.
If you only purchase your flip flops from the bargain bin or sandals because they are cute, think again before wearing them every day. Even if they are comfortable, they aren’t meant to be worn for long periods. Though you may use them from time to time, it is recommended to avoid using them for activities that are overly stressful for your feet and legs. However, more high-end, functional flips and sandals offer orthopedic-quality support and may be worn as you would any other shoe. In fact, some sandals are specifically designed for hiking and outdoor sports.
Keeping Feet Healthy
Even with the best sandals and flip flops, you still need to attend to summer feet. Avoid walking barefoot for too long. The lack of support could cause an inflammation of the plantar fascia, blisters, callouses, and ingrown toenails. If your sandals bend in half, they may be too flimsy, which can result in foot flattening over time. Make sure before you purchase sandals, bend them in half; if they fold, they won’t provide enough support.
It’s also important to keep your feet clean. Flip flops and sandals leave your feet exposed to dirt and bacteria that can cause athlete’s foot, ringworm and fungus. Soaking feet in Epsom salt and keeping them hydrated leaves skin less prone to infection. And remember – if you are diabetic, take extra care caring for your feet by wearing supportive, closed-toe shoes and minding to cuts, bruises and scrapes that are common in summer months.
Summer’s Afoot in Cincinnati
Sandals may be convenient to wear during the summer, but it’s always best to check up with your podiatrist to ensure the absolute best health for your feet. In Cincinnati, your footcare specialists is Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care, where we put your feet first. If you are suffering with any sort of foot condition, we can help with treatment, orthotics, therapies and surgeries. We also know that diabetics have special footcare requirements, so be sure to check out our great selection of shoes made specially for diabetic feet. With locations throughout greater Cincinnati, there is an office near you, so be sure to visit our website to request an appointment now.