The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Avoiding Treacherous Footwear: Flip-Flop Alternatives from NYC Podiatrists

Posted by on Monday, July 28th, 2014


A simple stroll around Central Park reveals an endemic health problem. On any given day, our NYC podiatrists spot dozens of people wearing flip-flops for their walks. Some people have dogs; others have baby strollers. Some people are leisurely meandering, while others are striding in more of a power-walk. Somehow the flimsy, summery flip-flop has migrated from Coney Island and Brighton Beach, and made its way onto the hard asphalts of our parks and streets. There are, in fact, many reasons why you should keep your flip-flops in your beach bag and transition to athletic trainers or — at the very least — more robust summer sandals for your summer outings.

flip-flop pain
Flip-flops are a major cause of foot pain among 15 to 25-year-olds.

Flip-Flop Foot Pain

Our NYC podiatrists see flip-flop wearers complaining of foot pain every week. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) blame flip-flops for the rise in foot pain among 15-to-25-year-olds. “Flip-flops have no arch support and can accentuate any abnormal biomechanics in foot motion, and this eventually brings pain and inflammation,” ACFAS member Dr. H. Ashley Ledger explained to KDHN News.

We diagnose flip-flop-loving patients with foot conditions like:

– Flattened arches

– Plantar fasciitis

– Tendinitis

– Stress fractures, and

– Morton’s neuroma.

We can treat these problems with a change in footwear, custom orthotics, rest, cortisone shots, foot strengthening exercises, and anti-inflammatory medication. Many people also sprain their ankles in flip-flops because they do nothing to support the bottom of the foot from twisting and turning with each step.

Podiatrist-Recommended Summer Footwear

So, if not flip-flops, what should you wear to give your feet a break from the confines of a warm, damp, closed-toe shoe for the summer? Try:

–  KEEN sandals – KEEN sandals are not your typical piece of flimsy material. The foot beds are a blend of recycled polyurethane, cork, and memory foam that contours to the shape of your feet as you walk, while still providing excellent arch support. The waterproof material works against foot fungus, while the patented toe protection system keeps your toes safe. The rubber outsole works on all different types of terrain. A thermal shield footbed uses three different layers to keep you comfortable and dry. Check out the “features” section of any product page to determine whether those particular sandals come with a removable footbed for orthotics.

– Clark’s sandals – There are many different technologies Clark’s uses in their sandals thanks to extensive consultations with biomechanics experts. These sandals have superior cushioning and ventilation compared to most summer footwear you’ll find on the market. Styles for men and women range from sporty to dressy, so you have the look you need.

– Eastland sandals – These sandals are American-made in Maine and built to last. With contoured insoles that include memory foam, these sturdy sandals mold to the form of your foot and provide the structure you need to get around town. The soft leather straps are comfortable and less likely to chafe your feet than imitation leather and other synthetic materials.

FitFlop sandals – What… a flip-flop with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance? FitFlop is not your ordinary beachwear. You’ll find extra cushioning in the heel cup, a footbed that evenly distributes pressure, and wide straps that won’t cut the tops of your feet.

We also like NAOT sandals and brands like Aetrex or Aravon, which cater to orthotics-wearers with removable footbeds. The APMA has a long list of sandals and summer footwear recommended by podiatrists for utilizing technology that provides adequate support for your feet.

Need More Help with Your Summer Feet?

Book an appointment online with our Manhattan or Westchester, NY podiatry and sports medicine clinic. We’d be happy to address any acute pain you’re feeling and help you choose safe, comfortable, and fashionable footwear for your busy summer.



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.