7 Times You Should Never, Ever Wear Flip-Flops

Those laid-back little numbers can play havoc on your feet.

ByABC News
May 10, 2015, 2:13 AM
A woman puts her feet up with flip flops on in this undated file photo.
A woman puts her feet up with flip flops on in this undated file photo.
Getty Images

— -- intro:It doesn’t take a whole lot to get psyched for summer—especially after the winter most of the country has just had. But maybe one of the best reasons to welcome the warm days ahead is being able to release our feet from the bondage of bulky boots and toe-cramming stilettos and slide into summer’s go-to shoe: flip-flops.

But hedonists, beware: Those laid-back little numbers can play havoc on your feet. And, for that matter, your face.

Exhibit A: Brad Pitt, who has been sporting a nasty bruise under his left eye. For days, there was speculation on just how it got there. Did he get hurt doing his own stunts? Nope. Maybe a “misunderstanding” with the missus? Nah. “This is what happens when you try to run up steps in the dark, with your arms full, wearing flip-flops,” Pitt told People. “Turns out if you then try to stop your forward momentum with your face, the result is a road rash.”

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Burned by rubber. Why are we not surprised? Let’s face it: We’ve all gotten a little too, well, comfortable with this flimsy footwear. Originally designed to be worn at the beach and neighborhood pool, or on leisurely neighborhood strolls, flip-flops have been showing up pretty much everywhere. Call it the “Minimalist Movement.”

Girls wear them to their proms; celebs on the red carpet. In 2005, members of the Northwestern University championship women’s lacrosse team wore flip-flops to meet George Bush at the White House—and caught a lot of flack. Heck, Sarah Michelle Gellar even got hitched in them a decade ago.

Those things are more a matter of fashion sense—or lack thereof. But here is where things get kind of dicey: “I can remember walking up a steep mountain in California and seeing other climbers wearing flip-flops, and falling out of them,” says Corinne Kauderer, MD, a Brooklyn-based board-certified podiatrist and former president of the American Association for Women Podiatrists (AAWP).

She’s not kidding. Check out this little gem in a National Geographic story called Hiker Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Grand Canyon Vacation… or Worse: Often times when you take a few steps along the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon you can see them: people trudging down the well-trodden path to get an impression of the interior of the famous gorge with nothing more than flip-flops and spaghetti straps shirts.

The Grand Canyon? Seriously, people?? OK, clearly it’s time for an intervention. Here are (at least) seven situations when you should never, ever wear flip-flops:

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quicklist: 1category: title: Walking the dogurl:text:Simply put, flip-flops are germ magnets. All it takes is a 30-minute stroll with Buster or an afternoon puttering around in your backyard garden to get your feet good and dirty. “Flip-flops may be better than going barefoot, says Dr. Kauderer, “but even so, much of your foot is exposed to dirt and bacteria, which increases your chances of getting an infection.” In fact—prepared to be skeeved out—a 2009 Today Show report found that more than 18,000 types of bacteria were discovered on one pair of flip-flops, including bacteria traces from fecal matter (please, please tell us that was from a dog). “For those with diabetes, it’s especially dangerous, since they are at an even higher risk of infection,” says Dr. Kauderer.