Serving Chicagoland
and Surrounding Suburbs

Board Certified in Foot and
Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle Surgery

Ask A Podiatrist: Are Sandals Bad for Your Feet?

A pair of red flip flops sticking up in the sand on a sunny beach in front of the ocean.

It’s summertime in Chicagoland, which means winter boots get swapped out for sandals. However, as people start wearing their favorite hot weather shoes again, it begs the question, are sandals bad for your feet?

The answer is, it depends on what type of sandals you’re wearing. Sandals that are comfortable and offer good arch support aren’t bad for your feet. However, many summer footwear options can cause foot pain, ankle pain, calluses, bunions, and even injuries.

Why Are Flip Flops Bad for Your Feet?

A lot of people wear flip flops regularly during the summer. However, you shouldn’t wear them exclusively if you want to protect your feet.

Below are several reasons why wearing flip flops for long periods of time can potentially harm your feet:

  • Little Shock Absorption – This can lead to stress fractures, foot pain, and even affect other parts of your body like the knees and hips.
  • No Arch Support – We all know arch support is essential in a good pair of shoes. Flip flops and other thin, flat sandals don’t provide this. Frequently wearing shoes without arch support can lead to back issues, poor posture, foot pain, shin splints, and other side effects. They can also worsen existing foot and ankle problems.
  • Walking is Affected – Flip flops and other thin, flat sandals can negatively affect your gait. If you wear them too frequently, you’re likely to experience back pain, balance issues, and hip, knee, and ankle problems.
  • Potential for Injury – When you wear open-toed shoes you’re leaving your feet vulnerable to injury. Sandals are especially notorious for failing to protect feet from cuts, scrapes, stubbed toes, broken toenails, and even puncture wounds.
  • Vulnerable to Fungus and Bacteria – Wearing sandals can leave your feet and toes exposed to bacteria and fungus. This is especially true if you get a cut or other injury. If you wear sandals when you visit public pools, hotel rooms, or the gym, this further elevates the risk of infection.
  • Higher Risk of Foot Problems – When you wear flip flops for long periods, you put your foot health at risk. For example, due to lack of support and heel cushioning, wearing flip flops can put a lot of stress on the plantar fascia ligament. This increases your risk of developing plantar fasciitis.
  • Cracked Heels – Our heels support our entire body every single day. Most sandals lack a cushioned heel that can aid in proper weight distribution. They also increase the risk of cracked heels. Cracked heels are painful and lead to deep cuts that are difficult to treat and leave your feet vulnerable to infection.
  • Blisters, Calluses, Bunions, and More – Sandals often cause blisters and calluses to form. Flip flops can also lead to bunions and a condition called hammertoe. This is because our feet work extra hard to maintain our balance in sandals, causing our toes to scrunch unnaturally and frequently.

Having trouble knowing what to look for in a comfortable, supportive sandal? The foot specialists at Mitchell Foot & Ankle, P.C. are here to help. Call us at (773) 324-3338 to schedule an appointment, or contact us online.

Trust Our Experienced, Certified Podiatrists

Our podiatrists in Hyde Park in Chicago are board certified in foot and ankle surgery. We’re also familiar with a number of medical conditions that affect the feet and ankles.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our team is here to ensure you get the best foot care possible.



Mitchell Foot & Ankle

1338 E 47th St.
Chicago, IL 60653

Fax: 773-433-8108

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