Sunny days usually means that you can once again start wearing your summer footwear, and depending on your preferences, this could either be slides or flip flops. Although these types are almost equally popular, a debate that always seems to come up is about which of the two is better. To determine this, there are a lot of aspects that will have to be compared. Read on to find out if you might need to change your summer footwear.
Slides vs flip flops: which is better?
- In terms of arch support, if both slides and flip flops have a contoured footbed, they will be comfortable enough to wear, which means they will be more or less at par in terms of preventing fatigue to the foot.
- In terms of the design of the upper, flip flops feature Y-shaped straps whereas slides have a band that covers part of the front part of the foot. When you focus on this aspect, slides are better than flip flops because, with the latter, most of the foot is left exposed, which means that there is a higher chance of a sharp object poking and hurting you.
- In terms of sizing, there are varieties of slides and flip flops that feature adjustable straps, allowing you to make adjustments to how they fit.
- Unlike with slides, you are more likely to trip and fall when you have flip flops on since they tend to alter the way you walk, meaning that there is a higher chance of injuries with the latter.
Whether flip flops or slides are better depends on a variety of aspects, although slides are often considered to be better than their counterparts.
The reasons why flip flops generally have a bad reputation
1. The lack of arch support
Many flip flops do not offer enough arch support, and as a result, they may cause you pain and discomfort in the feet, knees, lower back, shoulder, and neck. Lack of arch support could also result in your arches falling as well as conditions such as plantar fasciitis. When this condition keeps recurring, your body might produce new bone, leading to the development of an even more painful condition which is known as a heel spur.
2. The need to scrunch your toes to keep them on
When you wear flip flops, you will realize that you need to scrunch your toes to keep them on while your heel is lifted. This motion ends up stretching the plantar fascia, which runs from the heel to the toe causing inflammation and fatigued feet in general.
Additionally, your gait might also become noticeably altered, and you will find that you take shorter strides, and turn your ankle inward as you walk to keep the flip flop from falling off. This could likely lead to long-term hip and ankle problems.
The scrunch up motion could also result in a deformity that is known as hammertoe, which tends to occur when your toes are frequently curled down as you walk, resulting in them remaining in that position.
3. The limited protection of the foot
Since flip flops uppers comprise of mere straps, your feet are very exposed when you have them on. Therefore, they are at risk of being fallen on by sharp objects that may hurt you. This may lead to nail injuries and bruised toes. Flip flops leave most of the top part of the foot exposed to sun damage, and since many people frequently are not too keen when it comes to applying sunscreen on their feet, making skin cancer a very real danger. Depending on the surfaces that you walk on, flip flops are often covered with bacteria from skin, fecal matter, and even dangerous germs such as Staphylococcus which could make you very ill. Flip flops tend to move around when you walk in them, and you might even be forced to adjust them with your hands, consequently coming into contact with these germs.
4. When the straps are too flimsy
When you wear flip flops that have thin straps, you could end up with terrible blisters. This is because a flimsy strap tends to rub up against your skin with every step you take. The friction irritates the skin and consequently leads to blisters. What’s worse, if the blisters pop and you are left with an open wound, you make your feet more vulnerable to the pathogens that may have latched on to your flip flops.
5. Tripping risk
Flip flops generally make you clumsier due to the way that they alter you walk. Instead of allowing your feet to stay straight, they tend to make them feet turn towards your body and take shorter steps. This could cause you to sprain your ankle and trip while you are walking.
Factors to take into consideration for both slides and flip flops
One of the biggest issues with both slides and flip flops is keeping them on. This is because there isn’t a mechanism that goes around your ankle to keep the footwear secure. If your slides or flip flops are bigger than what you normally wear, your feet will end up sliding around uncomfortable, which could potentially lead to loss of balance, stumbling, and maybe falling and hurting yourself. If they end up being too small without the chance of breaking in, you may end up with blisters or lacerations on your skin.
The solution to ensuring that your footwear stays securely on your feet is a great fit. Many slide designs typically feature a buckle strap that allows for a wide range of adjustability. Although flip flops don’t typically have adjustable straps, some varieties feature a buckle closure as well. Another closure and adjustability mechanism that you may find in slides is Velcro. Velcro is easy to adjust, although it might start to lose its sticking capability, which will make adjustments harder over time. Additionally, you might end up collecting debris when your slides feature Velcro since everything tends to stick to it.
Comfort is one of the most important factors to look for whether you are buying slides or flip flops. Comfort will not only ensure that you wear your footwear with ease, but it also plays a considerable role in your health. The material used in the construction of both slides and flip flops plays a huge role in the level of comfort. For slides, you want an upper that is made from materials such as soft leather, soft fabrics, flexible synthetic, breathable mesh, or knitted material. For flip flops, you will want to pay attention to the toe post and the straps. The toe post is the part of the flip flop that goes between your first and second toe, and it can be quite uncomfortable when it is not designed with comfort in mind. Ensure that both the straps and the toe post of the flip flop design you go for are soft and malleable so that they don’t rub into your skin uncomfortably and cause blisters.
You want footwear that will last you a while. For slides, consider the material used in the construction of the outsole. Synthetic or rubber materials are very durable without sacrificing comfort or flexibility. The material used to make the upper also plays a role in the durability – a fabric or mesh material will be less durable than a synthetic or solid leather upper. For flip flops, you will want to avoid a foam bottom that features a flimsy thong strap upper since it will most likely fall apart after a few uses. Opt to go a rubber or EVA (synthetic material) instead, and straps that are sewn in.
Excellent heel, arch, and joint support are extremely crucial in any type of footwear. Arch support alleviates foot fatigue ad pain that often results from being on your feet for too long, whereas heel support increases balance and motion control. For both slides and flip flops, look for footbeds that feature contouring, or at least those that are made from cushy but firm materials such as memory foam. You should also consider the type of arch – some designs have lower arch support while others have higher.
The overall value of a pair of slides or flip flops depends on its features as well as its actual cost. Most high-quality slides and flip flops are available for a very reasonable price, so you will want to shop around to ensure that you are getting the best price.
Generally, slides are considered to be better than flip flops, although the features of both types of footwear also play a huge role in determining quality. Whether you go for a pair of slides or flip flops, you want to look at the level of comfort offered the type of materials used in the construction, the support incorporated, and the fit of the footwear. That being said, if the health of your fit is a concern, you will want to avoid wearing flip flops for extended periods, or at least invest in special orthopedic constructed ones that of