A slippery slope

slippers health affect disadvantages how what side effects problems

slippers health affect disadvantages how what side effects problems

They may be comfortable, but wearing flip-flops all the time is unlikely to give you healthy feet

By Cheryl Chia

Singaporeans, why do you insist on wearing flip-flops everywhere? Wearing flip-flops at the beach or for running errands is all well and good. But we are wearing them to the mall, to clubs, and practically everywhere else that doesn’t specify a “no flip-flop” rule.

In hot and muggy Singapore, where staying cool and comfortable takes precedence over practically everything else, it’s not surprising that flip-flops are so popular. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear flip-flops but the trick is to be occasion-appropriate. In my view, the flip-flop is one shoe that should be outlawed from most social settings.

Apart from it being a big fashion faux pas, wearing flip-flops all the time is just terrible for your feet. Human feet are designed for walking on natural surfaces such as grass – they need adequate support for and protection from man-made surfaces. Singapore being the concrete jungle that it is, the need to guard our feet from injury is much greater.

slippers health affect disadvantages how what side effects problems

The soles are too soft

The comfortably spongy soles of flip-flops may be exactly why you choose to wear them, but they are actually causing your feet more fatigue as these soles tend to flex inward. Flip-flops usually offer little to almost no arch support, which can cause foot pain after a long day of running around on a hard concrete surface.


They stress your toes

There is almost nothing preventing your flip-flops from coming off, except your toes. Your toes grip the thong straps to keep the flip-flops on your feet, which puts additional stress on them. The muscles and tendons in your feet are forced to over-compensate, and this can lead to tendinitis – the inflammation and irritation of the tendons.

They have bad ankle support

If you’ve ever stubbed your toes while wearing flip-flops, you know exactly how painful it can be. But that is probably the mildest thing that could happen while wearing flip-flops. I’ve seen people trip over their own flip-flops and twist their ankles. Of course, accidents occur no matter what shoes you wear. But the loose fit of flip-flops may well make the likelihood a little higher.

They are too thin to protect from hazards

Flip-flops may protect you from a pebble or a small shard of glass, but it can be easily punctured by a nail or other sharp objects.