For Conchs, flip flops are likely the most basic and yet most popular item in your closet. These comfortable and durable sandals are a staple in the Florida Keys and yet Jimmy Buffett has been warning us about the perils of wearing flip flops for some time. He sang about blowing out his flip flop in his infamous song “Margaritaville”.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, of the 198,437 emergency room visits due to shoe-related injuries, (yes, shoe-related injuries!) 25,300 were associated with flip flops in 2014. And worse yet, podiatrists point the finger at flip flops for causing bacteria and viral infections, bad posture, bunion exacerbation and formation, athlete’s foot and lack of arch support.
Before you go throw out all 50 pairs of flip flops in your closet, here are a few things to consider before wearing your favorite Florida Keys footwear.
Wear in Moderation
Just like red wine and chocolate, in moderation, flip flops are just fine. Podiatrists hate stillettos too so now you might as well break all the rules and wear a little of both. Let out your inner fashionista with some fun for your feet. Instead of donning your regular black flip flops try a cute pair of ballet flats or a great pair of colorful heels. You may be surprised by the response and your feet will look fabulous.
Consider the Time of Day
Wearing flip flops at night can be disastrous. I once had the unfortunate experience of accidentally stepping on a scorpion at night while wearing flip flops. As I stepped on him, his tale whipped up and stung me in the toe. My foot throbbed for days. So when going out at night, consider something that will provide a bit more coverage from stings, bites, rough terrain, broken glass, and other debris.
Flip Flops Do Not Last Forever
“Broken in” isn’t a good thing. If you’ve had your flip flops for longer than you can remember, then it may be time to replace them. Just like running shoes, flip flops get old and stop providing the support you need. A little wear is fine, but considering how many cute color combinations are available for relatively inexpensive, I recommend replacing your flip flops every year.
Don’t drive and flip flop.
Flip flop wearing while driving can also be dangerous. Backless shoes can easily slip off and get wedged under the break or gas pedal. A recent study identified over 1 million accidents or close calls while driving that were caused by flip flops every year.
With all your flip flop wearing fun, it’s important to also keep your feet looking great. Get a pedicure regularly, be sure to lather plenty of sunscreen on your toes when out in the sun, and clean your feet after wearing flip flops. Remember that any dirt you come in contact with will also end up on your feet so be sure to give your toes a good wash before climbing into bed.
Consider the Event
Named for the sound they make when they slap between your foot and the floor, flip flops are great for the beach but have no use in any professional environment or dressy event. Just imagine flopping into your office or into a wedding. If sandals are a must, opt for a cute pair of sandals that don’t flop in a metallic hue for a more dressed up look.
When in doubt, wear your flip flops. After all, life is better in flip flops.