Flip-flops, Crocs or Birkenstocks? Your summer shoe choice matters.
Dr. Colin Graney is a foot and ankle surgeon at Upland Hills Health. He helps patients with podiatry issues, as well as complicated fractures, sports injuries and even ankle replacements when necessary.
When your summer shoes make their way out of the closet on the 1st day of spring, there’s a good chance you’ll find a few different styles. Beyond fashion, comfort, safety, and support are factors that should be considered prior to the first spring outing. Summertime shoes are typically less supportive and less safe than fall or winter gear. But there are better choices.
Not all sandals are equal
Flip-flops are the unofficial shoe of summer but not all flip-flops are created equally. Not all flip-flops have to have a single strap and be flimsy; many flip-flop style shoes have support and be safe or sturdy to wear. Poorly fitting sandals that do not secure well to the foot cause the muscles within the foot to need to work harder, which can then exacerbate certain conditions. Pre-existing conditions such as arthritis, bunions, hammertoes or even a flatfoot can become worse with non-supportive flip-flops. There are several brands of flip-flops or sandals, however, which provide athletic shoe type support while being supportive and fashionable.
What to look for
When selecting a sandal-type shoe, be sure that the shoe bends at the toes only and not across the mid-portion of the foot. Shoes that don’t secure well to the foot can also be dangerous on wet surfaces and lead to further instability and potential injuries.
Other summer style shoes such as Crocs, Chacos and Birkenstocks can be good options. Some sandal-type shoes can occasionally accommodate a custom or over-the-counter orthotic well. You can also consider sandals that adapt to your foot as you wear them, such as those with a cork insert. A cork insert, once broken in, can function similarly to a custom shoe insert.
If you have concerns or further questions regarding your particular foot or other medical conditions it is advised to seek medical attention to determine what may be best for you on a personal level.