Flip Flops for Plantar Fasciitis – The Smart Buyer’s Guide

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Just because you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, this does not mean you should not wear only special shoes all the time. Flip flops are perfect for summertime wear, being less invasive than slippers; moreover, you can find special flip flops for your condition and enjoy the support that they have to offer. Flip flops represents an excellent alternative to walking barefoot, as we all know how damaging it can be to not use any kind of footwear.

Why should you be interested in flip flops?

Plantar fasciitis can cause severe heel pain, preventing one from wearing regular shoes. When it comes to flip flops, these can be used during the summer, not only for going to the beach but also around the house. They are made to provide the arch support you need, as opposed to many footwear designed for summer use, such as flat sandals.

By wearing flip flops to go to the beach or even around the house, you will also reduce the wear and tear on your shoes (which we all know they can be quite expensive). You will also appreciate the flip flops for being easy to put on and take off, not to mention the fact that they allow the skin to breathe (much more than when you are wearing slippers).

What makes a pair of flip flops worth your while?

As with any other kind of footwear recommended for plantar fasciitis, you need to choose flip flops that can guarantee proper arch support. A snug foot strap is also a good idea, in order to ensure there will be no slippage. In regard to the stability offered, you might one to choose a pair that has a deep heel cup. These requirements having been met, you can be absolutely certain that the chosen pair of flip flops is both comfortable and functional. Basically, they should feel good while alleviating the pain caused by the inflamed plantar fascia.

In the situation that you are shopping for plantar fasciitis flip flops for the first time, it is recommended to seek out top quality brands. You can also read the reviews left by other customers, in order to discover not only the positive features but also the most common complaints. Based on this information, you can decide whether a pair of flip flops is suitable or not.

Watch out for…

Like with any other purchase, there are certain things you have to be on the lookout for. For example, you have to avoid those that provide a tough heel support, as this might require a prolonged period of adjustment. At the opposite pole, you should definitely avoid flip flops that do not provide the necessary support for your heel and ankle. You might also keep in mind that flip flops are generally more expensive than other footwear recommended for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis.

You might discover that certain flip flops have too high an arch for you. Others are not suitable for narrow feet, causing a lot of discomfort and adding to the already-existent pain. You might also want to pay attention to the sole of the flip flops; if the traction is not great, you can have a difficult time walking on slippery or wet surfaces. In regard to the strap material, if that is not comfortable, it can lead to irritation and even cause blister formation. Also, low-quality flip flops present durability concerns.

Always remember that some flip flips might not fit a wider foot, being more suitable for those with narrow feet. In general, it is recommended to avoid those that has thin soles, as they will quickly wear out. Also, if the toe strap is too tight, you might experience a high level of discomfort. This does not mean you should seek out loose fitting straps, as these can lead to slippage and make your symptoms worse (the same goes for flip flops that do not provide adequate arch support). Last, but not least, avoid flip flops that have a rigid footbed, as they can cause a lot of discomfort and even pain.

Men’s flip flops for plantar fasciitis

The best men’s flip flops for plantar fasciitis are made from leather, the sole boasting enhanced density for improved cushioning and better stability, regardless of the surface. The sole is extremely important, as it needs to provide the traction you need to maintain your stability on any kind of surface. Other features that you should be on the lookout for include the strong arch support, quality design and long-term durability.

Podiatrist-designed flip flops are recommended for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. These often represent the best choice, as they can correct foot deviations, such as the over-pronation. By correcting excess pronation, they can actually bring the foot in its neutral position, reducing the intensity and frequency of plantar fasciitis symptoms.

Many of these flips flops have a foam-lined strap, as well as a soft toe post, these features guaranteeing an added level of comfort (and a reduced risk of irritation). Moreover, they have an attractive design, so you won’t have to worry about what other people might think. They are lightweight, being perfect for going to the beach or lounging around the house. Some of them have forefoot cushioning as an added benefit, being recommended for narrow feet as well.

If you are interested in walking and even hiking in your flip flops, you should choose a pair that is designed for such purposes. Make sure that the footbed is made from polyurethane and also that the sole is waterproof (slip resistant for the best user experience). In the situation that you have flat feet, you should seek out to purchase a pair of compression-molded flip flops. These have a contoured footbed, in order to deliver the arch support your feet require.

Women’s flip flops for plantar fasciitis

Women enjoy wearing flip flops, especially during the summer season. As with the flip flops recommended for men with plantar fasciitis, there are two main things to seek out: solid arch support (orthotic grade) and motion stability (often achieved with the help of deep heel cups). The main idea is that your quality footwear, including flip flops, will relieve you of the pain you are experiencing.

Some flip flops are so well-made, that they can provide not only heel & arch support but also knee & back support. They require a certain break-in period but they are all worth it in the end. You have to purchase a pair that has a compression-molded footbed, especially in the midsole area, in order to benefit from both the comfort and support you need. Choosing a pair of lightweight flip flips is definitely recommended, as these are the best when it comes to going to the beach.

If you have flat feet, you need to locate a pair of flip flops that provides adequate arch support. A waterproof sole is also recommended, as it can ensure that you maintain your stability, regardless of the surface on which you are standing. If you want to be certain that your feet stay cushioned at all times, there are three things to check: compression-molded footbed, elevated heel with proper arch support and integrated massage pods.

Keep in mind that some flip flops are more suitable for wide feet, while others are particular recommended for those who have narrow feet. If you want to use the flip flops in the open outdoors, you need to make sure that the footbed is made from polyurethane and that the flip flops are slip resistant. Once you have found a pair of flip flops that meet these requirements, you can purchase them with all the confidence and use them for extensive walking.

What do researchers have to say on the subject?

Even though no particular studies where made to assess the importance of flip flops for plantar fasciitis, the research on the condition in general is quite generous. In an article[1] regarding plantar fasciitis, which was published in the Journal Watch, we are presented with two studies, regarding the application of shock wave therapy and the usage of custom-made insoles in patients with plantar fasciitis. According to the results of the study, participants enjoyed a significant improvement of the pain associated with walking upon using custom-made insoles. This can suggest that using custom-fitted footwear and accessories, including flip flops, can be beneficial for those who suffer from such conditions.

A study[2] published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research discussed about plantar fasciitis as being a serious condition, one that can have a detrimental effect not only on physical activity but also on social abilities and even mood. The study demonstrated that manual stretching can contribute to the reduction of heel pain in patients with plantar fasciitis; however, it also emphasized the fact that custom-fitted footwear might represent one of the potential conservative treatments for this condition.

Speaking about heel pain, we also have to present another study[3], which regarded the presence of such symptoms in patients with plantar fasciitis. The study discussed potential ways to treat and manage plantar fasciitis, including footwear on the list of possibilities. It was concluded that the prescription of shoes and orthotic inserts in patients with plantar fasciitis might reduce the experienced pain at the level of the heel.

Once again, even though flip flops are not specifically mentioned, it is safe to draw the conclusion that they belong to the custom-fitted footwear recommended for such patients. It was also concluded that rotating shoes can help those who have to maintain the standing position for a prolonged period of time.

An article[4] that was published on the website of Rheumatology Network discussed the management of evolving plantar fasciitis. It was highlighted that, in order to properly treat patients who were diagnosed with this condition, one must be aware of and understand the functions of the plantar fascia. The article discussed the usage of custom-fitted shoes, as means to reduce the pressure experienced on the forefoot and heel, thus reducing the overall fascial pain. Footwear changes were presented not only as a conservative treatment for a person who is already suffering from plantar fasciitis but also as a preventative measure.

Final word

With the summer having just begun, it might be a good idea to seek out a nice pair of flip flops, especially recommended for plantar fasciitis. In general, it is recommended to use these flip flops for going to the beach and other outdoorsy experiences. You can also use them around the house, as they can provide you with the necessary support to alleviate heel pain.

[1] http://www.jwatch.org/na37866/2015/05/14/plantar-fasciitis-two-new-studies
[2] https://jfootankleres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1757-1146-4-19
[3] http://www.jospt.org/doi/full/10.2519/jospt.2014.0303
[4] http://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/articles/management-plantar-fasciitis-evolving

About the Author Amy Williams

Amy is a foot massage therapist that has worked with doctors specializing in podiatry while helping numerous clients through various foot conditions. She has reviewed 100s of related foot health products for plantar fasciitis, toenail fungus and more.

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