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Flip flops cause foot pain, or do they? | Wimbledon Podiatry

Are flip flops truly bad for the feet? A Podiatrists interesting view and discussion about common myths.

Our foot specialist who works in Wimbledon Clinic shares an interesting review; talking about common myths which suggest flip flops cause foot pain are bad for the feet.




Liam McManus BSc (HONS) M.Ch.S

Hopefully you will forgive me for thinking too far ahead, but summer is just around the corner.  As I travelled home from a busy day in the Wimbledon clinic, the car dashboard said 5 degrees.  Yes its cold, but in a few months you will be thinking about flip flops, sandals and walking barefooted along the beaches of your chosen holiday destination.

For the majority of people, walking barefoot and wearing flat Havaianas are very comfortable.  The secret is I love my Havaianas and find them incredibly comfortable. I wear them in the summer, abroad and visiting my family in Gibraltar.  The myth is that flat flip flops and barefoot cause problems.  I can tell you that when you walk barefoot, this is somewhat improving strength, conditioning, balance and something called proprioception which is important in walking and movement.  So what’s the problem?

As a foot specialist, 95 % of people who attend clinic have an injury.  When you see 20+ people in a day and all have pain when wearing flip flops or walking barefoot, then its easy to have tunnel vision and suggest a blanket NO to flip flops or barefoot.

“95 % of people who attend clinic have an injury”

Even when feet hurt, it’s important to remember that a small amount of walking barefoot is good for you, even barefooted rehabilitation.  When people suffer from heel pain, plantar fasciitis and arch pain, then its a good idea to seek medical intervention through a podiatrist.  When foot pain occurs then it is not advisable to wear flat flip flops or sandals for the summer months, at home or abroad.

I have a solution for you if you have discomfort in your feet and you live in flip flops in the summer.  Fit Flops and Vionic footwear are  very comfortable and actually look good.  They can be worn when you are not wearing orthotics or instead of walking barefooted in your house to give your feet a degree of cushioning.  Vionic flip flops have a built in orthopaedic orthotic which can help ease symptoms of heel pain and arch pain.

What’s the key message ?

“Flip Flops don’t cause pain for the majority of people, but if you suffer from foot pain, its worth seeking medical intervention by a Podiatrist and shelving the flat sandals and flip flops”

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