Why flip-flops flop!

Why flip-flops flop!

Does anyone out there NOT own a pair of flip-flops?! At first glance there’s not much to dislike about them. They come in a million different colours, can be jazzed up with some bling and they’re cheap.

Sure they feel comfortable, airy and free when you first slip them on, but are they really any good for us? We all know the saying about things being too good to be true…!

Here’s a closer look at what flip-flops are really like:

Ouchy blisters

How come pretty much every time I wear flip-flops I end up with a blister. Or the start of a blister at least. Is this just me?!

I’m currently in the UK and here it is barely ever warm enough to wear flip-flops out and about. So on a trip to Australia last year I was totally gonna make use of my flip-flops and decided to wear them out for a stroll in the sunshine. I was looking forward to feeling the warmth on my feet so off I went around the local neighbourhood. Within a couple of hours the skin underneath the strap became red raw and I could see the beginnings of a blister ugh. I’m a grown woman so I take some of the blame here. I’m sure they’re not intended for any decent amount of walking. But still, bit of a buzz kill if you want some spontaneity and decide to go on a longer stroll.

Heel pain

The scientific research isn’t a fan of flip-flops either. Apparently, walking on a completely flat piece of thin plastic can contribute to the foot arch flattening (with extended use). This can potentially lead to general foot and heal pain. The science isn’t fussy. It says that this is true of any shoe which is very thin and offers no shape or support for the foot arch – like pretty pumps! On the bright side, flip-flops seem to be better for you than walking barefoot.


You know when you’ve been out in your flip-flops and at some point in the day, maybe when your home, you look down and your feet look just a little dirty. You’d be wrong to assume that it’s just dirt and ‘a bit of dirt never hurt anyone’. It turns out that a pair of flip-flops can easily pick up and store faecal (poo) bacteria, as well as 13900 other types of bacteria, toenail fungus and vomit… just to name a few bleugh.

They’re not just unhygienic – they affect how you walk

Research has shown that if you’re a flip-flop wearer you take significantly shorter steps (or strides). This is because you are having to scrunch your toes to keep you’re flip-flops on your feet. They also cause a “larger ankle angle” = the ankles cave in at an angle rather than being dead straight. I’m not sure what the effects of this, but it doesn’t sound too great!

And don’t try driving in them!

Take it from personal experience… Although there’s no specific law banning you from driving in flip-flop (in the UK), it does say to wear suitable footwear. One of my scariest driving experiences was when I drove in flip-flops not long after getting my first car. This was one scary mistake! The back of my flip-flop folded backwards and became wedged under the acceleration pedal. I couldn’t take my foot of the gas / acceleration pedal. Thankfully with some yanking I managed to release the pedal. Those few seconds though were down right scary.

Sophistication killer?

Maybe it’s just me but whenever I wear flip-flops I almost always end up tripping over. I know I am clumsy, but this does not seem to happen when I wear any other type of shoe. Also not great if you need to make a quick run for it (such as catching the bus).

Don’t go throwing your flip-fops out just yet!!


Don’t get me wrong, flip-flops have their uses. For example, public showers are full of germs. I wouldn’t have showered in my uni dorm communal shower without a pair of flip-flops on.

They’re also great for a beach trip, especially if there’s any pebbles or rocks. Pebbles + wet feet = pain!



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