During those hot days of summer and the breezy days of spring, the last thing you want to wear is a pair of hot, smelly sneakers. You’d rather have your feet go free in a pair of flip-flops. However, not all flip-flops are created equally and many people don’t know what features good flip-flops should have or what exactly they should be worn for. To protect your tootsies, follow these 10 safety tips for wearing flip-flops.
Don’t Leave Your Feet Hanging
Before you buy a pair of flip-flops, you need to try them on to make sure they are the correct size. If the flip-flop is too big, you’re going to have a hard time keeping it on your foot. Plus, you’re more likely to trip over it. If you buy a flip-flop that’s too small, your foot will hang out the back, making it vulnerable to gravel, sharp rocks and other things that could cut or injure your foot.
Find A Flip-Flop That Has Arch Support
If you’re headed down south for a tropical vacation or are headed to the beach for a few days, you may be tempted to pick up a pair of inexpensive foam flip-flops to wear on the shore. However, those flip-flops are flat as a pancake and therefore provide no arch support. Instead, look for a flip-flop that is thicker in the middle as it will support the inner arch of your foot.
Be Mindful Of Toe Irritation
If you haven’t worn flip-flops in a while, the feeling of having your toes separated may take some getting used to. However, if you notice any redness, irritation or blisters developing between your toes, discontinue use of the flip-flops and find sandals that don’t separate your toes.
Make Sure Your Flip-Flop Isn’t Flimsy
When shopping for flip-flops, test their flexibility before buying them. Grab one end of the flip-flop in each hand and gently bend it. If the flip-flop bends in half, this means that it won’t offer any support for your foot. But if it gives a little in the ball of the foot, this means it will properly support your foot and will move with your foot while you’re walking.
Don’t Wear Worn-Out Flip-Flops
If you haven’t worn your flip-flops since last summer, look them over before you slip them on again. If the thong is ready to break, if you can see the outline of your feet, or if the heal is worn thin, it’s time to get a new pair of flip-flops.
Avoid Driving In Flip-Flops
Next time you put the pedal to the metal, be sure to wear closed-in shoes instead of flip-flops. According to the AAA, many car accidents are caused by flip-flops, which can easily slide off and under the gas pedal or brake.
Don’t Walk Long Distances Or Play Sports in Flip-Flops
Flip-flops are great for a few hours at the beach or for around the pool, but they aren’t made for hiking, walking long distances or playing sports. Flip-flops don’t offer any shock absorption or cushion, so walking long distances will put a lot of wear and tear on your feet. They will also cause you to take smaller strides and strike the ground with a greater force, leading to heel spurs, foot and ankle pain, and plantar strain. Wearing flip-flops while hiking or playing sports can also lead to serious injury, so it’s best to wear sneakers when doing any physical activity.
[Related – Common Causes Of A Swollen Foot And Ankle]
Don’t Spruce Up The Yard In Flip-Flops
You may like to slip on a pair of flip-flops while working in the garden, but this could be a potential hazard. You may accidentally drop something on your foot, stub your toe, cut it on a piece of glass or get bitten by something you’re allergic to. Instead of wearing flip-flops, wear sneakers or clogs, which will better protect your feet.
Protect Your Feet From The Sun
Because your feet are exposed to the sun, it’s important to cover them with sunscreen when your wear flip-flops. It’s easy to forget your feet when applying sunscreen, but it’s a crucial area to protect. Those little brown spots of sun damage that can eventually turn into skin cancer can be difficult to detect on the feet, especially if they’re on or between the toes. So next time, you plan to have some fun in the sun, protect your feet first.
[Related – How To Apply Sunscreen Properly]
Skip The Flip-Flops If You Have Or Are Prone To Foot Injuries
If you have any foot injuries, it’s best to stay away from flip-flops until those injuries have healed. If you have diabetes, you should skip the flip-flops altogether as you may acquire an injury without feeling it. If you’re overweight, it’s best to wear a closed-in shoe that will provide more support for the feet, ankles and back.
[Related – Diabetic Foot Pain And Complications]