Photo: Jane Lee Wan Mei/EyeEm/Getty Images
Danger ranking (out of 5): 3.
Thin, flat soles have no shock absorption. That could lead to stress fractures if you wear them all summer long. They also increase your odds of dealing with cracked heels: "When shoes don't have a back, and nothing is cupping the heel and holding the fat pad on your heel in place, it tends to splay out. The skin follows suit and eventually cracks," says Jane Andersen, DPM, a board-certified foot surgeon in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Those cracks could just be an uncomfortable (and unsightly) annoyance, but if they're deep or they bleed, bacteria, viruses and fungus could make their way in and cause issues like cellulitis, warts or fungal infections.
Leisurely lunches; stylish air travel options
Running through amusement parks; long summertime strolls
While straps around your ankle area and higher (like gladiator-style picks) do offer additional stability and may prevent twisted or sprained ankles, Andersen says, if the bottom of the shoe is still flat as a pancake, that sandal is doing nothing to support your foot. There is hope, however, if you opt for sandals with arch support. Contoured sandals helped keep arches elevated much better than going barefoot or wearing flat sandals, found a small 2014 study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research
. Their benefit was just slightly less than that of orthotics.