We love our flip-flops!
Easy-on and easy-off, flip-flops are classic summer wear, and the next best thing to bare feet. But do flip-flops contribute to happy feet?
Flip-flops (and any flip-flip type shoe or slipper that does does not attach to the foot) change the way we walk. To keep 'em on we clench our toes, which shortens our natural gait and tightens the plantar fascia (connective tissue under the foot). We know that everything is connected, so does it surprise you that grip-the-shoe-while-walking can lead to calf tightness, which can then lead to knee, back, or neck pain?
I used to wear custom orthotic supports in my shoes, and was not able to walk barefoot or wear flip-flops. After spending a bit of time barefoot each day, and hydrating my connective tissue, I was able to set the orthotics aside. My feet became stronger and more supple, enough that I can now comfortably walk barefoot, both around the house and on the dance floor! Of course, bare-foot's not always possible, and flip-flops can be the next best thing. (My tootsies do not like foot casts, also-known-as "shoes!”)
So, what’s the fix?
-Get a flip-flop with a thicker sole, good arch support, and stability at the heel. This helps to align the lower limbs and overall posture. (Orthaheel type flip-flops are a great option.
-Wear flip-flops in moderation, and for less strenuous activities. Not for running!
-Spend a few minutes (or more) each day barefoot; sense the surface beneath your feet, and sense your balance. Try standing on one foot!
-Buoyancy or spring of the arches of the feet is key for whole body balance, and MELTing your feet keeps the tissue hydrated and springy.