Summer is here! Time to break out the shorts, tank tops, sunglasses, and flip flops... right?
Here at ProForm, we love the saying "free the feet.” Summer is the perfect time to "free
the feet" because now that it's warm outside, we are able to kick off the winter boots
and trade them in for something where we can wiggle our toes freely and get rid of those
sneaker tan lines!
I'll be the first to admit it - I have at least 10 pairs of flip flops! I have some that
I wear to the beach/pool, some that are on the "dressier" side, and some that are casual
enough to wear out to dinner. They really are my summer staple. However, they may not be
the best option for your foot health.
Think about it; when you're out walking around, are you aware of what your feet are
doing as you're walking? Subconsciously, your toes are going to curl to try to keep the
flip flop on with each step. This is instinctive and no matter how hard you attempt to
not curl your toes, you won't win because your body is fighting to keep the shoe from
falling off your foot. When this occurs over numerous steps, it can cause overactivity
in these muscles that curl the toes and drive muscle imbalances in the lower leg.
The curling of your toes also forces the arch in your foot maintain its raised and rigid
position, which ultimately tightens and irritates the plantar fascia. Many of you know
this to be called "plantar fasciitis,” which is a very common ailment these days.
Not only do flip flops cause compression and irritation in your foot if worn for long
periods of time, but if you're experiencing calf tightness or pain in the summers, it
could be as a result to wearing flip flops. Your body is made up of 600+ muscles that
are all connected. In particular, you have "short" muscles in your foot and “long”
muscles in your calf that should work together to move your foot and ankle. The curling
action of the toes while wearing flip flops actually biases the long muscles in your
calf causing them to overwork, which leads to tightness and can result in calf
We certainly aren't saying to go toss all of your flip flops in the trash. They are
totally fine to wear for short periods of time or when walking short distances, such as
to the beach, out to the pool, or around your yard.
If you plan on being on your feet all day, try to choose a shoe that is better for your
foot health overall. Find an open-toed shoe with a strap that ideally wraps around your
heel. This type is best because your brain won't need to worry about them falling off as
you walk. One is example is Birkenstocks because not only do they offer styles with
straps, but they also have a wide toe box which is great for your toes!
So, as much as you may love your flip flops, you should love the health of your feet
more! Knowledge is power, so be mindful about your footwear selections this summer and
in summers to come. That way you won't have to make a visit to the podiatrist in the