It is summer, and the perfect weather to wear sandals. In our practice, the most common sandals we see by far are flip flops. Yes they are easy on and easy off, and some are more comfortable than others. But beware, not all flip flops are equal! The majority of them are not good for your feet, but there are some that we do recommend, such as Spenco recovery sandals. The better flip flops have a few characteristics to look out for:
1. Arch support - It is important to make sure that there is a good arch support; it shouldn't be flat. Without arch support, your foot will flatten out with each step you take, putting stress on the stretching out the plantar fascia, which can lead to heel pain, or plantar fasciitis. You also want to find a shoe with a deep heel cup that will cradle the heel and support it at the same time.
2. The stiffness test - there should be some support and some resistance when you try to bend the sandal. Any sandal that will fold as easy as paper in your hand shows you just how flimsy it really is. We recommend a sandal with a little thicker sole, as this will help with impact on your feet. The shoe should only bend easily in one place - at the ball of the foot, where it is meant to bend when you walk.
3. Material matters - you don't want to have a shoe that is made of a cheap material or just plastic, which may cause irritation and blistering as it rubs up against the top of your feet, especially on a hot day when your feet might be sweaty. Also, inspect the material that will go between your big toe and your 2nd toe to make sure it is comfortable as well.
4. Straps matter - make sure you have a shoe with thicker straps and a material that will not stick to skin on the top of your foot where the straps will be laying. Thicker straps will support the top of your foot better while the thinner straps have a tendency to cut into the skin at the top of your foot.
5. Sizes matter - a size 8 is not always an 8. Be sure to try the sandals on and make sure they fit well, as some flip flop sandals do not come in half sizes. If you happen to be in between sizes, then maybe this particular sandal is not optimum for you or your foot type. Toes hanging off the front end or a heel hanging off the back of the shoe won't work, they will only cause more problems.
6. Where to get them - Buy them at a reputable store, with a money back guarantee. Better yet, come to our office and we will help you get fitted with Spenco recovery sandals. These sandals have all the characteristics listed above. In addition, we recommend replacing them at least once a year, as with anything, after wear and tear the material may break down and have less support and lose comfort and some of the characteristics that make it such a great sandal.
Come in to our office at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic, where our selection of Spenco sandals is pretty thorough, both for men and women. If you have any questions regarding shoes, get a visit with one of our doctors and we will be able to advise you on shoe suggestions as they pertain to your foot type. If you have any foot pain that you think may be caused by other shoe gear, or you have any foot pain that is slowing you down, make an appointment at Prairie Path Foot and Ankle with one of our doctors. You will get a thorough exam, an immediate diagnosis, and an accurate treatment plan. Your feet will thank you!