Where I live, we officially skipped spring and moved right in to summer. This means that everyone suddenly swapped their snow boots for last year’s flip flops. This is a fine temporary solution, but you really need to start your summer with fresh shoes for several reasons. Here’s why you need to replace flip flops regularly.
Most flip flops are made of a relatively soft foam. This feels amazing to your feet when you walk or stand, but this comfy material isn’t designed to last for a long time.
Over a short time, your flip flops start to break down. They mold to your feet and start to store impressions. These impressions are wear patterns from your walking and standing habits.
Even if you have the best form when you’re walking and standing, these deep grooves that emerge in your flip flops can start to pull your body into dysfunction. And, as you can imagine, if you started out with bad habits, they can become even worse.
Get Rid of Your Bad Habits
It’s important to understand that most people do not stand and walk with a completely balanced and neutral gate. There are four main variations of ankle positions in addition to neutral. You can be heavy on your arches (pronate), heavy on the outside edges of your feet (supinate), heavy on your toes (in plantar flexion at the ankle), heavy on your heels (in dorsiflexion at the ankle), or truly any combination of these deviations.
Furthermore, your deviation of neutral on your right foot may not be the same as your left foot. In fact, it’s very common for one side to try to compensate for the other side’s imbalance by performing the opposite action. The body sometimes tries to adopt a two wrongs make a right philosophy in order to find balance and alignment.
Wear Patterns Perpetuate Bad Alignment
What happens is that as you wear your flip flops, you create little grooves in the shoes that reflect where your feet apply the most pressure. It would stand to reason that your feet should make their imprint and then stop, but that’s not what happens when your sole is made of a soft material. Instead, over time, the initial reflective grooves end up deepening. Then, your feet kind of get sucked in.
When this happens, your foot starts to get pulled into bad alignment. What may have started off as a mild misalignment at the ankle can turn in to some serious dysfunction that can cause pain and injury.
And remember, the feet and the ankles are the base; they set the foundation for good alignment. When the feet or ankles are pulled into dysfunction, it can impact the knees, hips, and spine.
How to Check Your Flip Flops
Checking your flip flops is very easy. Take a look at your flip flops when you’re not wearing them. If they don’t sit level, you need to get new ones. If your flip flops show grooves from your feet, you need to get new ones. Your flip flops are fine if they only have minor indentations or dirt smudges from your feet.
Do yourself a favor and start off your summer with some fresh shoes. Your joints will thank you.
What’s your sign to replace your flip flops? Let us know in the comments below.
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