The best sandals are ones that fit and feel like your best lace up footwear. For summer footwear freedom for our toes and breathability for hot weather is where it’s at. To duplicate the benefit of laces in shoes an adjustable Velcro strap over the top of the foot is best. Combined with an adjustable back heel strap provides a stable and secure fit for your ankles and feet.
Flip flop sandals (with a strap between the big and second toe) are not advisable for long periods of wear. If worn too long, the strap between the toes may cause skin irritation that can lead to a skin blister or cut. When flip flops are worn, the big and second toe can get over worked and lead to muscle or tendon strain, or other potential injuries. This can potentially happen when you go up and down stairs and or suddenly need to pick up your walking pace to a jog. Since the two toes grip and grab to hold the sandal in place, it’s similar to lifting a heavy bag with handles with your baby finger. The smaller bones and joints at our extremity get stressed because it’s too much load for them to take. In addition, the base platform for inexpensive flip flops is too flexible and twist too easily. This means the bottom of your foot and the soft connective tissue in that area is at risk of injury and trauma.
It is recommended not to wear this type of sandal to drive. Again, you would need to use your toes to hold the flip flop in place while you manage the gas, brake and/or clutch pedals. You can be charged with careless driving if your footwear causes you to drive erratically. Wear them for the shower, pool deck and for a limited time. Sensibility, practicality and a dose of common sense could help prevent and avoid needless foot accidents with what we choose to wear.
A better choice is a design with a stiff bottom platform that has arch support and an adjustable Velcro strap over the top of the toes (at the ball of the foot). This allows all the toes to extend and do minimal work. The compression of the strap over the toes holds the top and bottom of the sandal in place on the foot.
The best type of sandal has three adjustable Velcro straps over the top of the foot and a heel back strap. One over the toes, the second over the middle and the third located where the foot and shin bone meet. This third strap when fastened in combination with the adjustable back strap provides the closest security compared to good quality lace up running shoes.
For a truly custom fit, look for these features mentioned with a model with a removable footbed. When the original footbed can be removed, this gives you the opportunity to replace it with your custom foot orthotic, or an over the counter footbed. The existing (original) footbed can also be modified with cushioned support at the inside arch (medial arch) and or at the ball of the foot (metatarsal pads). A Canadian Certified Pedorthist can explain and provide you with all the possible overall foot, and arch support options available to make your sandal a formula one masterpiece for your feet. If you have suffered with the pain of plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis or other related soft tissue foot related injuries and conditions, talk to your Canadian Certified Pedorthist. They can help steer you in the right direction for the best sandal choice and additions to alleviate your foot pain.
Your existing custom foot orthotic you wear in your sport shoes or have worn in winter boots may fit into the sandal you have selected. A sandal without a back strap would be the next best option. It’s faster to slip on and off the foot. Ensure that you have a snug fit (not loose) with a minimum of two straps over the top of the foot for maximum stability.
When it comes to yard work, deck construction, home improvement projects etc., the best footwear is lace up shoes with or without safety toe caps. Sandals with good, proper support has their place for the heat of the summer. A key tip is there can be a price to pay for convenience. Foot safety should not be sacrificed.
Written by Richard May, C. Ped (C)