My grandmother always warned me about wearing flip-flops, but I didn’t listen. They’re flat, comfortable, cheap, freeing. What could possibly be the danger in wearing them?

I soon discovered. After walking miles on the NYC concrete in flip-flops during the day and changing into them after nights spent dancing in heels, my body started to react to the wear and tear.

And now there’s this news: The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) reveals that flip-flops can actually change the way you walk. Wearing them for a prolonged period of time will place a strain on the calf muscles and can even cause pinched nerves in the hips and back due to the fact that toes have to grip the shoe just for it to stay on. On top of that, they provide little to no arch support or shock absorption and can lead to any number of ailments, including blisters and toe jams.

The APMA provides these do’s and don’ts for wearing flip flops:

-Do ensure that your foot doesn’t hang off of the edge of the flip-flop.
-Do gently bend the flip-flop from end to end, ensuring it bends at the ball of the foot. Shoes of any kind should never fold in half.
-Do wear a sturdy pair of flip-flops when walking around a public pool, at the beach, in hotel rooms, and in locker room areas. Walking barefoot can expose foot soles to plantar warts and athlete’s foot.
-Don’t re-wear flip-flops year after year. Inspect older pairs for wear. If they show signs of severe wear, discard them.
-Don’t ignore irritation between toes, where the toe thong fits. This can lead to blisters and possible infections.
-Don’t wear flip-flops while walking long distances. Even the sturdiest flip-flops offer little in terms of shock absorption and arch support.
-Don’t play sports in flip-flops. This practice can lead to twisting of the foot or ankle, as well as sprains and breaks.

Having experienced the pain of long-term wear, I fully recommend taking heed to these tips. Your feet will thank you.

Clutchettes, do you wear flip-flops? Have you experienced any wear and tear? What precautions do you take to protect and care for your feet in the summer?

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