As we get closer to summer, you might feel tempted to start breaking out all your shorts, tank tops, flowy dresses, and—of course—flip-flops.
Your favorite pair of flip-flops has probably always been a summer staple, but most health experts cringe each time you wear those flimsy plastic shoes anywhere that isn’t a beach, public shower, or pool.
Before you break out your summer wardrobe, here are 8 reasons why you should put those flip-flops back in the closet for good:
They slow you down: You may think these are the comfiest shoes in the world, but they actually make you walk slower. Since your shoes are only hanging onto your feet by a plastic strap, your feet have to work much harder to keep them on. In fact, a study from Auburn University found that flip-flop wearers even take smaller steps than people who opt for sneakers.
They cause blisters: Again, this thin plastic strap is the only thing stopping your shoe from falling off. This means that any pressure on your skin is coming solely from that one strap. After hours of rubbing against the same spot, you’re bound to get a painful blister at some point. Even worse, once that blister pops, your open wound will be exposed to a slew of dangerous, harmful bacteria.
They expose your feet to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections: Any time your feet get dirty—which is probably every time you wear flip-flops—they’re likely to be covered in bacteria that can irritate the skin, like Staphylococcus. If you have open wounds, or even microwounds, these bacteria can turn from gross to life-threatening before you know it. While it’s not common, it is possible to get an infection simply after having your feet exfoliated during a pedicure.
They hurt your heels: With just a thin piece of foam separating your foot from the hard ground, your heels will hit with more force when your walk around. Ever had sore heels after a long day of walking in flip-flops? Well, that’s because these flimsy shoes accentuate the heel-strike impact, which will almost always cause you pain later.
They may ruin your posture: One of the biggest problems with flip-flips is that they can’t bend with your feet in the same way that almost any other shoe can. Over time, this flat piece of foam will destroy your posture.
They make you clumsy: Because you have to take shorter steps while wearing flip-flips, you’re more likely to trip and fall. Seriously, flip-flops actually make it easier for you to hurt yourself!
They can damage your toes: Ever seen people with hammertoes? It’s really not a pretty sight. Well, flip-flops are some of the biggest culprits behind this painful problem. Without a strap around the back of your heel, the knuckles on your toes have to bend to keep the flip-flop on. Eventually, you could end up with hammertoes, which are more than just unattractive. They can become so stiff and sore that you may end up needing surgery.
They could be made of toxic chemicals: Many of these plastic straps are made of latex, which a lot of people are allergic to. Your plastic straps may also contain BPA, a toxin linked to a slew of different cancers. If you absolutely must wear flip-flops, then opt for a pair made out of leather or fabric, just to be on the safe side!
Are you still planning on wearing flip-flops this summer? Tell us in the comments!
Photo Copyright © 2015 Rachel Hinman/Flickr