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Death by Flip Flop?

Posted on 08/14/2012 by | Travel | Comments

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Your flip flops may be out to get you.

My flip flops are trying to kill me.

They look so cute and innocent. But as I just learned the hard way, wearing the minimalist rubber footwear can be hazardous to your health. If you’re heading to the shore, pool or theme park in these last few weeks of summer, know that your choice of shoes just might cut your vacation short.

My moment of truth came one afternoon last month when I slipped getting out of a friend’s SUV. True, it was raining and I was juggling purse, keys and leftover pizza — not the best recipe for a graceful exit. But the real reason I ended up ass-over-teakettle in the middle of the street? As the ER doc later explained, my cheap flip flops provided minimal support or traction, so when the rubber hit the wet road — splat.

I was lucky. I didn’t break my wrist, merely sprained it, and got off easy with just two weeks in a soft cast. But I shudder to think what might have happened. And it occurs to me that, at age 61, I need to start taking accident prevention a little more seriously. Even on vacation.

Does this mean I have to give up my cute flip flops for *gulp* sensible oxfords? Not at all, says Dr. Ben Pearl, a podiatrist in the Washington, D.C., area. He likes what he calls “ergo flips” — ergonomically designed flip flops that feature molded footbeds and outsoles with lugs and treading, made by companies like SoleOrthaheel and Chaco.

“If you’re walking the boardwalk in ideal conditions, it’s not like you can never wear the cheaper flips,” Dr. Pearl said. “But I wouldn’t wear them myself. Anybody can have a fall, even if they’re agile. You’re just going to be more stable in more stable shoe gear. A good closed sneaker is the most stable, but I feel there is a niche for the ergo flips.”

Bottom line, I don’t think I’ll be packing my drugstore flip flops on my next vacation. Instead, I’m considering thesethese or these.

Any other flip flop horror stories out there? Or recommendations for supportive yet nondorky ergo flips?

Photo credit: Bermi Ferrer via Flickr. 

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