Warmer Weather Means Sandals

Tara Fussell
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Dr. Tara Fussell provides expert foot and ankle care in both our Altamonte Springs and Orlando offices.
It's that time of year when the days are getting longer, the weather is warm, and all across the nation sandals are being dusted off and brought out from the corners of our closets.  For Floridians, however, sandals never collect much dust as they are often worn throughout the year.  Being a Podiatrist in Florida, one of the questions that I am asked most frequently is "What are the best sandals / flip flops for my feet?"  Wearing sandals and flip flops is often discouraged by Podiatrists because they lack the proper support for your feet.  Lack of support can lead to foot pain, fatigue, and even tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

But sandals and flip flops are a wardrobe staple in Florida, and most closets house many pairs.  For this reason, I had to reexamine my stance on sandals and find some "podiatrist approved" brands to recommend to my patients.

When shopping, finding a supportive sandal can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.  There are thousands of sandals that line the racks when you walk into you local big box store, department store, or shop online.  How do you distinguish between the choices that look good and are supportive for your feet, with the hopes of filling both criteria?

First and foremost, thin flimsy $2.00 deals should be reserved for wearing in college dorm room showers.  All too often, I see patients that have worn these flip flops on an all day outing to one of our local theme parks and then suffer foot pain or even a stress fracture.

When shopping for a supportive sandal or flip flop, look for one that has a firm arch support.  This support should confirm close to the natural arch of your foot.  The sandal should also have a heel that cups the foot well.  The sandal should also be as wide if not wider than the forefoot and arch area of your foot.

In my personal research, I have found a few brands that I often recommend to my patients.  Manufacturers are constantly coming out with new styles and colors so that you don't have to compromise on fashion vs. comfort.  Here are a few brands (though not an exhaustive list) that have been healthy options for wear during the warm months of summer:  Vionic, Rainbows® (Double Arch), Spenco® Yumi, Chaco Ecotread™ (great for wide feet, comes in 2E), and OluKai Ohana.
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