Flip flops great for summer, bad for your feet


On a nice summer day down at Fisherman's Wharf you can see crowds enjoying the scenery and if you look at what they are wearing on their feet, you'll see lots of people wearing flip flops. There are plenty of athletic shoes to be sure, but the summer time weather brings out the flip flops.

Lisa Cushman of San Francisco says, "They are comfortable, they're open, they are cool." I had to remind her they are horrible for your feet and she said, "Probably. For your arch."

The arch is really just the beginning.

"As soon as the kids get out of school and the warm weather hits, we see an onslaught of everyone from teenagers to adults coming in with increased pain the arch, in the heel, and the Achilles," said podiatrist Vincent Marino, DPM. This is a busy time for Marino. He listed the potential flip flop hazards, "We see a lot of problems that are accompanied with that, whether it be injuries, puncture wounds, insect bites, to everything to hammer toes, development of bunions, alterations of the way people walk. They even get knee pain, hip pain, low back pain."

The doctor lines up flip flops in order of worst to better to better still. A simple flip flop offers no support at all. The next one has a little bit of heel -- that is better.

"The next shoe has a little bit of heel left which gives her a little bit of an arch," said Marino.

The green one he showed us has an arch built in. Abel Sanchez, from Upland, California, was wearing flip flops down at the wharf. He figures that arch support is important.

"I think molding to your feet is probably the most important part of the sandal. If it's not molded to your foot, than I think that is where the problem comes in," said Sanchez.

True, but you also need something keeping the heel on your foot. Some athletic sandals are good for that.

The doctor is quick to point out that not everyone will have problems and most of those who do can get things corrected if they don't wait too long.

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