I've never been a big fan of flip flops, those ubiquitous summer sandals that attach with little more than a foot-tickling piece of material between your big and second toes. One of the main reasons is that they are terrible for your feet and lower legs. Now Superfeet has attempted to address this problem with its innovative FLP sandals, a line of flip flops that incorporate the same support technology used in the company's line of shoe inserts.
At least one recent study has shown that wearing flip flops actually changes a person's gait. Most wearers take shorter strides than usual, in part because they often curl their toes downward to keep the flip flops in place, making it more difficult to lift the foot to its normal walking height. All of this increases stress on your feet and lower legs and can lead to persistent foot and ankle pain, especially if you wear flip flops for extended periods of time. On top of this, most flip flops have no arch support whatsoever, which increases the likelihood of developing a painful case of plantar fasciitis. (Here's a good Newsweek article on the topic.)
The Superfeet FLP sandals ($89.95) address at least one of these problems by incorporating a stiff integrated orthotic footbed underlain by a series of shock-absorbing foam posts underneath your heel and the balls of your feet. I'm a big fan of Superfeet insoles for shoes (check out my posts on the topic: Hooray for Superfeet, Part 1 and Part 2) and suspect that these sandals will largely eliminate the support issues, but wonder whether the curled-toe problem will be addressed equally as well. (If you own a pair of these, please let me know!)
Whatever the case may be, it's safe to say that if you're a die-hard flip-flopper, these are the ones I'd recommend.
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.