Summer Saviors Or Foot Nightmares? NWH Discusses Seasonal Sandal Usage

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- After months of socks, sneakers and closed toe shoes, summer marks the welcome return of flip flops, slides and every other variation of sandal. However, is this seasonal footwear a summer savior or a nightmare waiting to happen?

Are sandals bad for your feet? The experts at NWH discuss the potential health risks of this summer staple.
Are sandals bad for your feet? The experts at NWH discuss the potential health risks of this summer staple. Photo Credit: Flickr

According to Dr. John Orrichio, Chief of Podiatry, Northern Westchester Hospital, sandals aren't an issue for most of the population. "Flip flops and sandals aren't bad for your feet if worn in moderation," he said. "If you have no biomechanical or structural faults with your foot and ankle, flip flops pose no problem." 

Notoriously flat-soled, most sandals don't offer the arch support found in sneakers and can cause feet to hurt if worn continuously. Although most wearers first consider fashion when shopping for summer footwear, Oricchio recommended buying sandals that support the structure of the foot. "Sandals that have arch support and possibly a slight wedge to the sole are usually more comfortable," he said. Additionally, the support can prevent the development of painful foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis or fallen arches.

Throughout a sandal's summer usage, it's important to realize when a shoe has become too worn to wear. "People should change their sandals depending on wear and tear," said Oricchio. "If the heel is worn down to one side, I would recommend changing them."

When open toe shoes aren't appropriate, wearing flats, loafers or other sock-less shoes is a common summertime practice. However, the lack of ventilation and sweat buildup in these shoes often result in wetness and bad odor. "Smell is usually a result of perspiration and bacterial content on skin," said Oricchio. "Use of antiperspirant powders and sprays are very helpful." Oricchio recommended products by Gold Bond or Odor Eaters, which can be particularly helpful.

When heading to the beach, park or just going for a walk this summer, it's important to think with your feet and ensure maximum comfort during all the season's activities. For more information on how to keep feet feeling their best, contact Northern Westchester Hospital's Foot and Ankle Specialists.