flip flops bad for feet

Photo: Ken Gilbert/Moment/Getty Images

2 of 10
Danger ranking: 5. You know the drill: If the bottoms are flat, you're getting zero arch or lateral support. That can lead to plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the tendon that runs underneath your foot and causes heel pain. It’s the most common flip-flop associated problem that Andersen sees in her practice. "We have a really long flip-flop season in North Carolina—often extending until October—and once it's done, there's an influx of patients with heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis," she says.

Best for: Lounging at the beach or pool; protecting your feet from germy locker room shower floors

Avoid: Distances longer than the parking lot to the sand and driving (they can slip off and get lodged beneath car foot pedals). And if you suffer from poor circulation or diabetes-induced numbness in your feet, you really shouldn't be wearing flip-flops out and about, says Andersen. If a foreign body like a rock or piece of glass gets lodged in your foot, you're less likely to feel it and remove it, and that could lead to infection.

Doctor's note: Like contoured sandals, flip-flops with built-in arch support are by far a better choice than the flat variety, says Andersen. "Some are as good as orthotics, or even athletic shoes."