Sophia Panych, Allure magazine
Ever since an ex called me gross for wearing flip-flops in New York City, I've kept my collection of Havaianas stashed in the closet, and only take them out of hiding when I hit the laundromat or empty the trash. The appeal is a no-brainer-they're inexpensive, easy to get on and off, and lightweight-a huge plus in the heat. So why wouldn't you want to wear them? Well, because it turns out my ex was right: flip-flops are gross, and really not that good for you.
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In a recent New York Magazine piece, a writer investigated the dirtiness of flip-flops, sending both his sandals and swabs of his feet to a biochemist. His feet were coated in millions of microorganisms, while his flip-flops-both the arches and underside, were covered in bacteria. Gag.
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But the real problem with flip-flops isn't the yuck factor-it's the damage that they're doing to your body. "They don't offer your foot any support or protection, so it's like you're walking barefoot, which can lead to sore arches," says Steven Weinfeld, Chief of Foot and Ankle Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Department of Orthopedics. Wearing them can also lead to strained hips, knees, and ankles. "When you walk in flip-flops your toes are gripping the strap to try and keep them on, so you're not walking in the normal heel to toe manner," says Weinfeld.
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Even though I know this, I'm still probably going to wear those bad boys to run errands, and I bet you will, too. So invest in some antibacterial soap, and keep a pack of foot wipes in your purse, like these from Jamar, and you've got the germ thing covered. To avoid injury, don't run in them, ever (a big no-no according to Weinfeld), and tread lightly. But if we start to feel pain in our joints or arches, let's all pinky-swear that we'll rethink our summer footwear.