Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop. What a glorious sound to hear when it is accompanied by crashing waves, squawking seagulls and ice being blended for drinks with little umbrellas. During the walk to work or around town on a Saturday — or anyplace where there isn’t sand within 20 steps? Not so much. Actually, not at all.
At the beach, the foot thong screams, “I’m on vacation!” In an urban environment, the message is “I give up” or “I don’t care” — and not in a good way. The freedom that flip-flops give the wearer is undeniable. The desire for comfort is understandable. But the sloppiness they inspire is inexcusable.
Ain’t nothin’ chic or hip about a man or a woman dressed to the nines with 10 toes hanging out. There is most definitely nothing cute about the sight of pants scraping the pavement or the horrible conditions of said feet. You know what I’m talking about: crusted heels and toes blackened by the dirt and debris picked up ambling the concrete jungle. And those gross conditions are exacerbated by hoofing it to the office or around the neighborhood in the cold or the rain. Street gravy, anyone?
There are painful consequences to wearing flip-flops. A 2008 study from Auburn University found that the shoes can lead to orthopedic problems, such as sore feet, ankles and legs. There are also the blisters, calluses and stubbed toes to consider. “They are terrible for the arches. They give you no support, and they don’t protect your feet,” Kathya Zinszer, an associate professorand director of community outreach at Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine, told CNN. “You need to make sure that you are securing the biomechanics of your foot,” she said. “So if you just get what people call slides, or rubbery flip-flops, it is more dangerous than trying to do something barefoot.”
Look, I know I’m fighting a lonesome battle. Especially since the object I’d love to toss goes all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. But if you want to walk like an Egyptian, do so in lace-ups, heels or, if you must, any other type of sandal.
Jonathan Capehart is a Washington Post opinion writer.