As strange as some of these are—and National Sneak Some Zucchini Into Your Neighbor’s Porch Day made the list—not all of these less-than-official holidays aren’t the greatest things to celebrate. Case in point, June 16 was National Flip-Flop Day (always the third Friday in June).
Admittedly, wearing flip-flops on a single day in June is probably not going to have a long-lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of your feet … depending on what you do that day! If you throw on a pair to go to your mailbox, that’s fine. If you throw on a pair to walk the dog, that’s not fine. If you throw on a pair and then go for a long hike in Ft. Ben, that’s REALLY not fine.
Now, if you’re thinking, “Who would wear flip-flops to go hiking?”, spend some time at the park this summer and pay attention to what people wear. You’ll see them! Even worse is I have watched tourists hiking along the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, in flip-flops. Please save these for the beach or poolside where looking “cute” is at a premium. Logs, rocks, stone steps, and trails don’t care if you just had a pedi and will punish you for this mistake.
Understanding how flip-flops affect feet can show why you really need to “respect the feet” and consider different footwear choices in the summer.
Flip-flops don’t provide any arch support and usually very little in the way of cushioning for the heels. Without that arch support, the risk of plantar fasciitis is heightened. That’s bad news, because plantar fasciitis is already the most common source of heel pain for adults—even those who wouldn’t think about wearing flimsy footwear.
Another problem with flip-flops is how people carry their weight when wearing them. Since the heel isn’t anchored, there is an abnormal amount of force placed on the front of the foot, especially the metatarsal bone at the base of the second toe. This causes a potentially bad condition known as capsulitis. In this injury, the ligaments surrounding the joint at the base of the toe have become inflamed. Other symptoms include pain, improper joint function, and increased risk of stress fractures.