Flip-Flops Are Bad for Your Feet. Don’t Wear Them

These are foot death traps. Photo via iStock.

It’s summer! Rejoice and let your toes get some sun! Unfortunately, we have some bad news for all you bare-toed devotees—flip-flops are horrible for your feet and should be retired to the back of the closet this instant!

We get that flip-flops are a summer staple, but there are just too many ways for these sandals to mess up your body. Not convinced? Don’t take our word for it—check out the science.

Spending a lot of time in flip-flops, such as during the summer months, changes the way you walk and could cause problems for your soles, heels and ankles. When you trapeze around the city in flip-flops, you alter your gait, point your ankles inward and curl your toes to keep the shoes from slipping off, says LiveScience. This unnatural posture could cause a host of serious issues down the line, according to a small study out of Auburn University in Alabama.

You can feel the difference when you walk. Take off your flip-flops and walk from one side of the room to the other. Then clench your toes like you would if you were wearing flip-flops and do the same walk. Doesn’t feel comfortable, does it? Such an unnatural motion will eventually take its toll, says Men’s Health.

Flip-flops also don’t provide any arch support, nor do they protect your feet from anything you might drop or stub it against.

If you truly can’t give up your pair of flip-flops, go ahead and wear them—but only for short periods of time. Heading to the beach is fine, but walking all day around the National Mall isn’t advisable. Leave the Reefs at home—those shoes weren’t made for walking.

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato

Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato is a freelance science, health, and environment reporter based in Washington, DC, whose work has appeared in National Geographic, NPR, Scientific American, The Atlantic, Newsweek, and Nature.