Summertime staples, danger to feet

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer is known for hot days, cool treats and spending time near any source of water. One very important accessory for everyone&8217;s summer attire is the flip-flop.

They are a great way to keep your feet cool on doggedly dry days, and they&8217;re quick to slip on when you&8217;re in a hurry. With new colors and designs popping up in every store imaginable, they are also pretty stylish.

What we know today as the flip-flop was inspired by the traditional woven soled zori from Japan. Later these zori were used as beach wear in New Zealand in the 1930s. In the post-war period in both New Zealand and America, versions were briefly popularized by servicemen returning from occupied Japan. The modern design was invented in Auckland, New Zealand by Maurice Yock in the 1950&8217;s and patented in 1957.

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But unfortunately for flip-flop lovers everywhere, there are some hidden dangers to these summertime staples. After speaking with Dr. Barry Gould, a podiatrist at the American Foot Center in downtown Demopolis, there may be some more things to consider when donning your next pair of leather thongs.

The first problem with flip-flops is in their construction. They are often made of flimsy materials such as plastic and foam, which do not provide the foot with adequate arch support.

Another concern is the length of time a person wears their sandals. If flip-flops are worn over a long period of time, Dr. Gould said, the feet could experience pain in ligaments and the area known as the plantar fascia.

Another issue with flip-flips is that they leave the foot open to any kind of trauma, such as splinters, or debris that could damage the feet. Dr. Gould noted specifically that kids should be weary of running around the yard with flip-flops, which may contain glass or other items that could damage the feet.

If you are still a diehard flip-flop fan, then there are a few brands out there that are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association including Chaco, Crocs, Dockers, Ecco and Rockport. For a complete listing of accepted brands, visit