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Flip flops – friend or foe?

flipflopsIt’s one season women dread and look forward to at the same time. Summer! We dread the “swimsuit season,” but can’t wait to break out one of the all time favorites – the flip flop! We have so many styles and colors to chose from – the casual, chic look; the hanging by the pool and beach look; and the classy and sophisticated look. So how can you go wrong with flip flops? Well, as many of us women are painfully aware, what looks good and even feels good, may not be the best to keep our feet at their fittest. So we have some tips from podiatrist Dr. J. Marshall Devall to keep your feet comfortable and safe, all at the same time.

  • Flip flop wear should be the exception, not the rule. They are usually not very supportive, so if you have a foot that needs constant support, or if you’re used to wearing more supportive shoes or heels all day at work, you probably don’t want to wear them if you have a lot of walking to do. It is possible, however, to purchase flip flops with supportive foot beds, or if you have to let your toes get air, opt for athletic sandals used for hiking that have more control straps and better support.
  • Wearing flip flops allows your feet to move around more as you walk, which makes most people prone to callus formation around the edges of the heels. Chronic wearers must be more diligent in the summer months at keeping their heels moisturized and pumiced to keep them looking nice and prevent cracking of the callused skin. If you do tend to develop heel calluses, consider moisturizing once a week and covering your feet with plastic wrap and wearing a sock to bed, then soaking the next morning and using your pumice (I call this “heel 911”).
  • A true flip flop with a “thong” between your big and second toes can be rough or stiff when new, and the skin between your toes is sensitive. Make sure you allow time for the skin to toughen and the “thong” strap to loosen and soften before you do a lot of walking.
  • Flip flops increase the sun exposure to your feet and toes, so don’t forget about your feet when you apply sunscreen. Reapply frequently when you are in and out of the pool, or if it is hot and you’re sweating.
  • Women should be reminded that nail polish should be applied well using a clear base coat first to prevent yellow staining of the nails from the red dye in the polish, and frequently removed and reapplied rather than touched up in multiple layers. Men and women should keep their toenails trimmed as short as comfortable to lessen the chance of fungus deposition under the tip of the nails.

So as we all head outdoors for the summer, don’t forget about how important footwear can be. With so many options around, it’s easy to be stylish and smart at the same time. And while we don’t normally need any excuses to hit the spa for a pedicure, there is good reason to pamper your piggies this summer.

“One really nice thing about wearing flip flops and showing the world your feet is that most wearers want their bare feet to look their best, therefore they pamper them and provide special attention to their feet during the summer,” says Dr. Devall. “That keeps them on the beach and out of their podiatrist’s office! Paying for a spa pedicure at a reputable salon with pedicure technicians is a nice treat and a great way to keep your feet looking nice.”

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Flip flops – friend or foe?