Flip-flops, thongs, jandals, pluggers, go-aheads, huaraches, slaps, slides, step-ins, havaianas, japanki, chinelos, and a slew of other names around the world, are footware that consist of a thin “foot-shaped” piece of rubber or straw with two straps that go around the top of your foot and meet between the big toe and the second toe (huaraches have a string that wraps around the ankle as well). First, let’s talk about the proper use of a flip-flop.
These pieces of footware are acceptable to ware in the summer when you go to the beach, hang out in the yard, walk around outside or in the house. They’re great pool-ware because they are rubber and can get wet. Some people wear them into the water at the beach so they don’t get “nibbled” by bottom-dwelling sea creatures. These are acceptable and respectable uses of flip-flips. They are not form fitting to the foot, and wearing them regularly can cause a lot of damage to your body. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO WEAR FLIP-FLOPS OUTSIDE AS NORMAL SHOES! But this post is not about that….today.
Flip-flops annoy me for 2 reasons, first, there are all the medical problems that they can cause and, second is the pain that comes along with them when I wear them.
First, flip-flops do not provide any support to your foot when you wear them. This puts a lot of pressure on the bottom of the foot and heel, and can cause heel spurs, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, corns and bunions, back problems and shin splints. Flip-flops are also not supportive should you trip or catch them on something. According to Wikipedia (I know….they’re not always right) there were close to 200,000 flip-flop related injuries in the United Kingdom, alone, in 2010. These ranged from small scrapes and cuts on the feet and toes to broken ankles and toes to friction and chafing (the one that plagues me when I try to wear them), in addition to all the ones listed above. These things are descended from Japanese sandals from the 1940s that servicemen brought home with them at the end of World War II, but those sandals were well-made, with harder bottoms and more support for the feet. The $5 plastic crap we have today isn’t even close!
When I wear flip-flops, they annoy me because they hurt….A LOT! My feet were just not made to fit into flip-flops. My big toe and my second toe are too close together, and the thong that goes between them causes a lot of pain and chafing. It also causes the area between the toes to get red and swell up. This, then, makes it even more painful. Also, flip-flops are made by poking 3 holes through the rubber bottom and sticking the plastic straps into those holes. This creates 3 small protrusions on the bottom of the flip-flop, causing pain on the bottom of my foot every time I step. Whether it’s the pain from the thong pin under the ball of my foot, or the pain from the 2 strap pins under the sole of my foot, it’s excruciating after about 5 minutes in these things.
So, I don’t wear flip-flops. I wear very comfortable Birkenstock slip-ins, without the thong between the toes and with a soft, suede bottom. There are no pins underneath to cause an uneven gait or to give my feet excruciating pain as I walk. I was very fortunate to find these slippers, and I could wear them every day. In fact, I went hiking with them during my recent trip to Kuching, Malaysia, and my feet felt great afterwards.
So, there you have it! That’s my issue with flip-flops. I can’t stand them and I don’t know how people who wear them can do that to their bodies. For a couple of hours at the beach is ok, but constantly wearing them, and pretending they’re shoes???!!!! NOT OK!! Look for my post about how annoying the people who wear flip-flops as shoes are at a later date (it will be very similar to my “Crocs as shoes” post – https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/people-who-wear-crocs-as-shoes/). And, when you slip into those flip-flops, think about the horrible things you’re doing to your back, legs, feet and heels!