FIXING YOUR FEET E-zine – Preparing Your Feet, Drymax socks, and more

June 29, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 


Volume 8, Issue 6, June 2008
John Vonhof, Footwork Publications
Copyright, June 2008, All rights reserved


This issue has an editorial on When Training, Don’t Forget Your Feet and an article, Drymax – I Love Technology in Socks. It also has information on foot care resources, a follow-up to the May bad feet photo, a new bad feet photo, reader feedback, and information on Golite footwear.


The Fixing Your Feet E-zine is published monthly to inform and educate athletes and non-athletes about proper foot care skills and techniques, provide tips on foot care, review foot care products, and highlight problems people have with their feet.


I subscribe to several online forums where participants talk about ultramarathons, adventure racing, and triathlons. One common conversation thread is about preparation. Subjects range from my training, your training, the best training, training ideas, the best shoes to use, tapering before an event, gear, lights, and so on.

All these are good topics and I’m sure many people benefit from them. But, I’ll be honest here, it bothers me that hardily anyone talks about, or asks questions about, how to prepare their feet. Let me explain.

Just as you train your legs, heart, lungs, you should prepare your feet. I know that as you run, your feet get in shape too. But I am talking about preparing your feet with their calluses, toenails, Morton’s foot, bunions, recovering sprains and blisters, and more. I could say more but close friends have said it well in the Forewords of Fixing Your Feet.

Let’s start with the Forewords in the four editions of Fixing Your Feet.
Billy Trolan, MD, wrote in the Foreword for the first edition of Fixing Your Feet: “The one factor that continues to amaze me is that individuals and teams will spend vast amounts of money, time, and thought on training, equipment, and travel, but little or no preparation on their feet. Too often the result has been that within a few hours to a few days all that work has been ruined – ruined because the primary mode of transportation has broken down with blisters.”

David Hannaford, a sports podiatrist and ultramarathoner wrote the Foreword to the second edition. He said, “As I was limping over the last sand dune on the last day of the seven-day Marathon des Sables in the Moroccan Sahara desert, I thought of John’s advice about foot protection. I was losing a toenail, which could have been avoided had I heeded his advice about larger shoes in extreme heat. I thought I knew better. After all I have two silver buckles from the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, and being an experienced sports podiatrist, I already fit my shoes roomy. But, as I looked around me, my little injury paled in comparison to the hundreds of runners limping to the finish with feet much more damaged than mine. Most of these foot problems could have been avoided with proper care.”

Then Dan Barger, the Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race Founder and Ultrarunning Grand Slam Record Holder 1998–2002 wrote in the Foreword to the third edition: “I ran my first ultramarathon at age 15, and during it I became painfully aware that an athlete’s feet are one of the most important parts of the body. Shortly after that first ultra, I was competing at the World Ride and Tie Championships with Ken “Cowman” Shirk. Before the race, while rinsing his feet, he leaned over and said, “Take good care of your feet and they will take you wherever you want to go.” Over the next 23 years, as I participated in 236 ultramarathons, trail runs, bike events, climbing, and adventure racing, I learned the importance of taking care of my feet. Cowman was right. Many times I have forgotten this advice and have paid the price. Feet will take us to new challenges and adventures, but only if we make the conscious choice to care for them.”

Finally, Demetri ‘Coup’ Coupounas, the founder of GoLite, wrote in the Foreword for this fourth edition: “It’s about your feet…If your feet get there, you get there. If your feet are happy, you’re happy. If your feet are miserable and want to quit, you are miserable and want to quit.”

Preventing foot problems is being proactive—working to solve problems before they develop. When problems develop, everything becomes reactive—working to solve an existing problem. Being proactive takes time up front. Being reactive takes time and resources often when they are not available or when using them may jeopardize the outcome of the event.

I will always remember what Denise Jones, the Badwater Blister Queen, said, “One thing is for sure, when one’s feet hurt…it definitely gets one’s attention.” I urge you to pay attention to your feet before they hurt.

If you want to comment on this piece, please send me an email.


The 4th edition of Fixing Your Feet can be ordered through my web site,, or If you have any of the older editions, you need this one. It has three new chapters, lots of new sections, and is completely updated. The retail price is $18.95 but most sites, including mine, have it at a reduced rate.


Please take a moment and forward this issue to a friend or two and encourage them to subscribe.


I have to be honest – I love socks. When I started running in the mid-80s, socks were pretty basic. As I recall, they were all cotton. I remember wearing Thorlo socks for most of my ultras. Then socks began to change. Different blends of thread and new technology gave us great socks. Cotton became the worst choice for sports in general. Socks were made for specific sports, and then even more specific activities in those sports.

This month I feature an article on Drymax socks. I talked to Bob MacGillivray, of Drymax Sports, about their line of socks. Trust me, these are not ordinary socks. They are unique and offer a lot of advantages to athletes. I was sent a few pair to try out and I like them. This article is long, but gives you a lot of information on these great socks.

Drymax offers socks for general sport, running, trails, walking, tennis, and golf. In running alone there are six types of socks: running, lite-mesh, trail, cold weather, hot weather, and maximum protection. Let’s get started.

Q: Why do you have so many models of socks?
A: With regards to the differences between the sock models, there are absolutely differences between each sock model. We tried to evaluate which features meant the most to each activity and added them to the appropriate models. We are very proud of the fact that we haven’t made one sock model and repackaged it into 10 different packages. It has taken us a very long time to develop very particular features for each and every model.

Q: Give me an example of the differences?
A: The biggest difference is with the Trail Socks. Our Trail Socks have no vents, so that dirt and debris won’t find their way through the sock to in-between the toes and on the skin mitigating abrasion issues. We can get away with not venting because we eliminate the moisture next to the skin. There is a welt at the ankle so that water and debris would deflect away from going in the shoe. The leg portion is double thickness with hydrophobic Drymax inside and out for added durability and abrasion resistance against branches, stickers, rocks, etc. We also added a far more dense padding to the bottom of the foot.


Wet feet can be a trail runner’s worst enemy, and getting wet feet is almost inevitable. The Drymax Trail Running socks’ Dual Layer Moisture Elimination System actually removes sweat, sweat vapors, and water from the skin through the inner Drymax layer to the outer absorbent layer. The double welt top is made of Drymax fibers to repel water, so when a runner splashes through a creek, the top of the socks stay dry.

Drymax Trail Running Socks are a Medium+ Density protective padded sock. Dense padding is used, as opposed to thick padding, as it protects feet without adversely affecting the fit of the shoes. The Trail Running Socks were designed for use to be used in cool to warm conditions, keeping feet dry, comfortable and odor free all day long.

Q: What is the difference between your Drymax Dual Layer System and Double Layer Socks?
A: Our Dual Layer Moisture Elimination System has two different fibers interwoven together. We knit our moisture hating Drymax fibers on the inside and moisture attracting fibers on the outside. The Double Layer socks are two separate socks knit together at the toe, heel and top of leg.

Q: Why is it so important to keep feet dry?
A: Moisture on the skin creates a host of problems; in hot weather it causes blisters and fuels the growth of odor-causing bacteria, and fungal conditions of the skin (Athlete’s Foot), and toe nails. In cold/freezing weather, moisture pulls heat away from skin 23 times faster than air, lowering skin temperature so rapidly that wet feet become painfully cold and are much more susceptible to frostbite.

Q: What’s unique about your socks for running?
A: Our Running Socks in general have a more dense foot pad area than Sport Models. We also added additional reinforcement on the no show, mini crew and no show tab at the sock welt to minimize abrasion issues that are more systemic with long distance running. The Cold Weather Running socks are far different, because we use Hollow Core Fibers to seal air in the threads in order to insulate the foot against the cold. This is actually three layers thick on the leading edge to minimize the additional cold felt from the wind chill when the leg moves forward while running.

Q: You mentioned “dense” several times. Explain dense and thick padding?
A: We do not make thick padded socks because we believe they can cause problems. The thickness of the sock directly affects the fit of the shoes and therefore, the comfort of your feet. Since the inside comfort of shoes & boots has increased dramatically over the past few years, the need for thick socks has been eliminated. If you feel your shoes need more cushioning, a good replacement insole is better at cushioning than thick socks. Thick socks have more insulation, making feet sweat more, which in cold weather can lead to colder feet, and in warm weather can make feet more susceptible to blisters and Athlete’s Foot fungus. Drymax socks are designed with different levels of protective padding in four densities: Low-, Low, Medium, Medium+ and High. By making our protective padding dense as opposed to thick, it is designed not to affect the fit of the shoes.

Q: Will Drymax Socks completely eliminate blisters?
A: Socks are not the only cause of blisters, so no sock manufacturer should claim their socks can prevent 100% of all blisters. Blisters caused by socks usually develop because the socks do not fit right, have an irritating seam or they become wet. Moisture changes the slipperiness or stickiness (coefficient-of-friction) of the skin, sock, top of the insole and the inside lining of a shoe. Blisters form when the skin rubs, sticks or slides too much inside the sock. In addition, skin tends to soften when it remains wet, making it much more vulnerable to blisters. You’ve probably noticed how your skin wrinkles and softens after taking a long bath, shower or swim. Because the Dual Layer Sweat Removal System with the Drymax fiber keeps the skin of the feet dry, blisters caused by moisture are eliminated.

Q: What is the difference between Drymax fibers and moisture wicking fibers?
A: Wicking (capillary action) is the process by which moisture spreads out and moves from a wet area to drier areas. Wicking takes place because moisture has a greater attraction to the drier parts of the wicking fiber than to itself. Wicking fibers are part of the problem because as the moisture wicks along the fibers, the greater adhesion of the moisture to the fibers causes it to leave moisture behind on the fiber and therefore the skin. Once wicking fibers get wet they stay wet and so do you, at least until well after the long process of evaporation takes place.


Many sock companies using wicking fibers make claims like, “Tests show that our (wicking) fiber dries 4 times faster than cotton.” Statements like this are misleading. These types of tests are performed in a lab and are not comparable to what happens in the real world. In the lab, they get the fibers wet once, hang them up to dry, then measure the time it takes to dry. These lab tests show how long it takes their socks to dry only after being removed from the source of the moisture. You can’t stop during a marathon or tennis match to allow your socks time to dry. By no means do these tests accurately show how dry their socks can keep sweaty feet. Drymax keeps feet drier, as moisture does not absorb into its fibers like cotton, silk, rayon or wool, nor does moisture stick to Drymax’s surface as it does to wicking fibers like polyester, acrylic and nylon.

Q: What do you do to make socks wear better in the heels?
A: Often times the weakest part of a sock is the rib area above the heel. This part usually wears out first, creating holes. This happens because the sock flexes in this area with each step, and the shoe tends to rub against the sock causing further wear. To prevent premature wear to our Drymax socks, we cleverly spliced our very durable DRYMAX Fiber into this area.

Q: What’s so good about your Hot Weather Running socks?
A; Drymax Hot Weather Running socks keep feet dry and prevent hot spots and blisters because they are made using the patented Blister Guard® system. This system incorporates Friction Free® Profilen® fibers throughout the entire foot area of the sock. Profilen’s chemical name is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE has the lowest Coefficient of Friction of any solid material. This scientific approach keeps feet dry and the friction between the skin and sock low. Runners wearing our Hot Weather Running socks will have cooler, drier, more comfortable feet with far less chance of getting blisters. Hot Weather Running socks also have top mesh panels and bottom air vents designed to keep feet drier & cooler by working with the built-in vent systems in the new generation of breathable running shoes made by Adidas® (Clima Cool®), Asics®, Diadora® (Power Flow), Fila®, Mizuno® (Intercool®), New Balance® (N-Vent®), Nike®, and Reebok®.


Q: What makes your walking socks unique?
A: Our Walking sock has a slightly looser feel because these are generally going to be worn by those who may be older or not in the same stressful events of those who are wearing our other socks. The leg of the sock is very similar in cross stretch to a diabetic sock. They still have a tailored arch band but we also added a lace pad to mitigate acute pressure applied by the laces.

Q: How about the rest of your socks?
A: With regards to the rest of the line, each sock has variable cushion, venting, reinforcements etc. that would be relevant to those events. For instance, our Tennis Sock has a different density on the foot pads, venting at the arch bands to work with certain vented shoes prevalent in court sports. Also, there is far more lateral forces at work so we reinforced certain areas of the sock in order to deal with stresses unique to court sport situations. The top of the foot in these sports don’t need the extensive padding on top of the foot so we vented them to allow even more breathability. We have also added vent ports near the ankle in order to vent hot moist air out.

Q: You even make a golf sock?
A: Our golf sock is by far the most basic sock we manufacture. Being one color it has no “ends” in the sock. The Golf and Sport socks are very similar with the exception of the color and the padding is just a slight bit less to accommodate the more formal footwear used in golf.

Q: What features are common between all your socks?
A: There is a common thread between our sock models. All of our socks have the hydrophobic (water hating) Drymax fiber against the skin with hydrophilic (water loving wicking) fibers away from the skin. Drymax is also the second most durable of all fibers commonly used in socks so they last longer than straight polyester (Coolmax) and far longer that wool. All socks have our Microzap Silver antimicrobial which is melted in at the beginning of the fiber process so that it will not wash out like many other socks after 20-25 washings. And finally, all of our socks use 3-D sock forms (lasts) in order to assure proper fit, most of our competitors use 2d sock boards to find their size range.

Q: What’s coming next?
In the coming months we are introducing Diabetic, Work Boot, Tactical, Hiking, Expedition and even a Dress Sock. All will have the common thread features, but they will all be engineered specifically for their intended uses.

Lisa Bliss, MD, women’s winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon reported on her use of Drymax socks at the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run in April. In her blog, she wrote about her choice of socks, “I consider my socks to be gear. Feet are, of course, most important for the long run. I wore my Drymax socks because I haven’t had a blister yet since I’ve been wearing them. They work best in wet conditions. I did apply a very small smear of Hydropel on the bottoms of my feet before putting on the socks, which worked well. I had not one blister! My feet looked the best they ever have after a long ultra. Despite that it rained the entire time, my feet never once felt wet. I wore gaiters to keep the grit out.” The photo shows Lisa’s feet at the finish. Lisa added, “Drymax socks are hands-down better than all others I’ve used.”

Jamie Donaldson has been using the Drymax Socks in every event this year since Hurt 100 and has not had any blisters, and she has been performing in a dominating fashion. Jamie’s finished Umstead in 16 hours and 21 minutes wearing the Drymax Maximum Protection Running with the PTFE Profilen fibers. Jamie has also reported that she hasn’t had any blackened toenails since wearing Drymax. She will be putting the socks to the ultimate test at Badwater this year.

Drymax offers a guarantee that your feet will be drier and more comfortable than any other sock. If you do not agree, return the Drymax socks (with your sales receipt or a copy) for a full refund. Go to the Drymax website.


Sock Fit
Wearing socks that fit properly is, of course, important. However, putting them on correctly is just as important. This is often not done. Putting socks on incorrectly can lead to blisters and discomfort. After pulling socks on, take a moment to make sure that they are aligned properly, with no wrinkling or bunching. The toe seam should run across the top of the middle of the toes, and the “Y” shaped heel seam should bisect the radius of the heel.

The Stretch-EZ
We all know that stretching is important. Yet somehow it is often overlooked. Proper stretching can work wonders on plantar fasciitis and heel pain. It can strengthen the muscles of the feet and ankle, and help with problems with all up and down the upper and lower legs. Yea, I know I can use a towel, but this product aligns the foot with the direction of the stretch, regardless of type of stretch being done. You’ll get a smooth stretch with less effort.

This new product, the Stretch-EZ was developed for athletes to safely and effectively stretch their legs, lower back, and hips to increase flexibility, prevent injury, and optimize physical potential.

STRETCH-EZ can assist an individual of any age and physical mobility. Its cradle design and elastic band around the ankle allows the foot to rest in a comfortable and secure position. The loops in the strap allow maximum force needed for a comfortable, progressive and productive stretch. It is effective in targeting the:
• Lower back
• Hips
• Outer/inner thigh
• Quadriceps
• Hamstring
• Calf
• Achilles tendon

The STRETCH-EZ is made in the U.S.A. from the following material:
• The bottom features Poly laminate with 1/4″ foam padding for comfort
• Hand strap made of Poly webbing
• 2″ Poly elastic band for tight secure fit around the ankle
• Measurement: 40″ in length (can easily be folded or rolled up to fit in a bag or pocket)

The regular model is black. The pink STRETCH-EZ is approximately 10% smaller in size to accommodate smaller individuals. The STRETCH-EZ sells for 29.95 and is offered with a 30-day money back guarantee and free domestic shipping.


Last month’s Fixing Your Feet E-zine had a Bad feet Photo featuring a photo of Brad’s foot after a wart removal.

I emailed Brad to ask if the foot had completely healed and is there a depression where the wart had been. He responded:

“No depression is left, but the new skin is definitely a lot thicker than the old. Feels like a very thin wart, but will supposedly go away soon. The doctor is happy with it, although it was deeper than he thought, and took longer than he thought to heal. I did walk on it during recovery and go orienteering twice, which I’m sure didn’t speed the process. I’m just glad to have it healed. Since the incision didn’t go completely through the skin, it’s not expected to leave a scar.”

“It oozed for about 9 weeks, I had to change bandages twice a day. For the first few weeks, we used 1% Silver Sufadiazine Cream for infection protection, and then about 1/2 way through switched to Accuzyme, which is an enzyme ointment to dissolve non-viable tissue. From initial notice till the hole filled in, it was 15 months.”

Click here to see pictures from the recovery.

“As you can start to see, it healed mostly from the bottom at first, then from the sides. Recovery was slow at first, then very rapid at the end.”

“My wife was a trooper, laundering my socks. One was generally a bit bloody, one was not. The blistering agents were the absolute worst part of the ordeal. Felt like a hot needle with every step. Fortunately, I was able to lance the boils after a day so that walking hurt less (using proper technique learned here), but it still stung!”


My bad feet photo this month come is a shot I took many years ago. I was the race director of the Ohlone Wilderness 50KM and this photo is of one of the runner’s shoes at the finish line. He came into the 10-mile aid station and got some tape to hold his shoes together. At the finish, the shoes were trashed. Trust me, duct tape saved the day. It was wrapped around the whole forefoot of both shoes. The point is rather simple. It was foolish for the runner to start with those shoes. Make sure when you step up to the finish line, that your shoes will make it to the finish – without duct tape holding them together.


GoLite’s footwear line has been bought by New England Footwear, a newly formed company headed by Doug Clark, former head of Timberland’s Innovation Factory. New England Footwear, also based in New Hampshire, was created specifically to make the purchase. New England footwear has obtained the rights to existing designs, all excess inventory and has the ability to make and market new styles under the name.

According to CEO Clark, the brand will relaunch at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer show this August in Salt Lake City. It will present approximately 14 styles, including six carryover styles and eight new designs that will include hikers, trekkers and hybrid styles. GoLite initially made its mark by putting cushioning on the shoe’s outsole and structure on the insole.

Speaking to Footwear News the day the deal was made official, Clark said he was confident the GoLite technology had what it takes to make it in the outdoor market. “In working with the [shoes], I became convinced and confident that this was one of the biggest breakthroughs the outdoor industry has had, and the time is right,” he said. “I’ve invested the last four years of my life in this technology, and my heart is into making sure this GoLite footwear idea reaches all the potential it has.”

Source: Footwear News


Lisa de Speville, from Johannesburg, South Africa wrote: “Always great to get your ezines. I agree that many people walk wrong. I don’t blame shoes – I blame laziness and people not being conscious of their foot placements. You can train yourself to run/walk with good foot placements – it’s all about discipline and focusing on what your muscles are doing. It would help for people to look at their feet, as they move, like in a mirror. Pronation and supination can be dealt with very successfully in this way; without the need for orthotics. Like exercising your biceps, so the foot muscles can be strengthened to work “right”, just as they’ve been trained (though lack of training) to work wrong.”

Reader feedback to this E-zine and its articles is welcome and encouraged. Please email any foot care ideas or tips that you have tried and would like to share with others, or ideas for an article for the ezine.


Those of you with the 4th edition can get a free copy of my booklet, Happy Feet: Foot Care Advice for Walkers and Travelers. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go to the book’s page—and write a review of the 4th edition. Then send me an email telling me which site the review is on and your snail mail address. I will mail you a free copy of this 36-page booklet. Use it yourself, or give it to someone else. The booklet is and has a $5.00 value. Sorry, but because of postage, this offer is good only in the U.S and Canada.


If you like to stay informed about foot care issues and information – on a more regular basis than this monthly newsletter, check out my blog, Happy Feet: Expert Foot Care Advice for People Who Love Their Feet. This is different from this ezine. The Happy Feet blog will have a new short topic every week. Click here for the Happy Feet blog.


I am always on the look out for stories to share about their adventures with some type of connection to feet. If you have something to share, please send me an email.

You are subscribed to the Fixing Your Feet E-zine because you subscribed to it. If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, you can find instructions at the end of this email. We respect the privacy of all subscribers and will not disclose your email address or any information about you to any third party.


If you like this E-zine, please pass it along to others whom you think will benefit from its contents and encourage them to subscribe. They can subscribe the box at the top of this blog or with an email to Yahoo.


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You are welcome to contact me by email about this E-zine or the book Fixing Your Feet.

Shape Up with Shoes?

June 26, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Most of us wear shoes to protect our feet, provide comfort, and help us in whatever activity we are doing. We walk and run – and in doing so, we exercise our bodies. Today I read about a new line of Shape up shoes 1shoes, Shape Up Shoes, that are designed to exercise our feet, legs, and more as we walk – and importantly, as we stand. Okay, count me as doubtful. But let's be fair and look at some material from their website.


Walking on Shape Up Shoes:  Walk on the soft, flat platform under the front two-thirds of the shoe (focus on the flat part under the ball of your foot). Your heel will naturally come close to the floor, but do not put your weight into your heel. Stride normally into your next step.


When Standing:  Focus on the flat part of your Shape Up Shoes under the ball of your foot. Try not to put your weight in your toes or your heels. You want to keep your foot parallel to the ground just as if you were standing barefooted. It is ok however to rest on your heels for a good stretch or rock to your toes to engage your quads. 90% of the time you should concentrate on the true challenge, which is staying focused on the flat part of your Shape Up Shoes, under the ball of your foot, while keeping your toes pointing forward.


Here's How They Work:  When worn for at least 30 minutes a day, Shape Up Shoes are an effective fitness and weight-loss tool that allow you to tone and shape your body and shed unwanted pounds. Wearing the shoes while active encourages improved posture, a toned inner core and fantastically fit legs, abs and glutes.

The calorie-burning rate when wearing the sandal style is three times that of wearing ordinary shoes and two times that of wearing the boots and clogs. Staying balanced while wearing the shoes requires the use of muscles not used otherwise in the legs, abs and glutes. These muscles are thus strengthened and toned significantly. The motion when walking is similar to that of balancing on a board in combination with using a Stairmaster.


The deep vein pumping action that occurs with every step taken can significantly reduce the onset of varicose and spider veins. Wearing the shoes can also diminish existing cellulite and prevent it from developing, and help ease lower back pain due to spinal compression, swelling in the arms and legs, and the discomfort of plantar fasciitis.


Shape Up shoes are available in three styles: flip-flops ($39.99), clogs ($60.00) and boots ($80.00).


Testimonies are valuable. Their website has quite a few. A host of blogs and websites are talking about these shoes. Leslie Barrie and Sarah Carrillo, from, wrote, “The real workout in these shoes comes from standing still because you are constantly balancing. After standing for a few minutes I looked like I’d had too many margaritas with all my swaying back and forth and my calf muscles were burning. Simple chores like doing the dishes and cleaning my room became actual work-outs much to my delight.”


Am I still doubtful? I think there is value in what the shoes do. The design of the shoes makes you exert energy when standing and stretches a whole bunch of muscles. I think they are worth trying. That said, I don’t see myself wearing them. I guess they are to “girlie” for my feet. If they interest you, give them a try and let me know. After all, our goal should be to keep our feet happy.

Pre-Summer Foot Care – Part 4 – Sandals and Flip-Flops

June 11, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Summer officially starts soon. With it, if you haven’t
already started, comes the wearing of sandals or flip-flops. There are also
possible hazards for your feet. A bit of care can help your feet survive in
spite of how we treat them.

Support – remember that generally speaking, sandals are better for your
feet than flip-flops. They offer better support and protection around the foot,
and a more stable base. If you look at most flip-flops, they Images
are very thin
soled, often thinner on one side as the wearer walks on the side. The heel is
often exposed to the sidewalk. There is nothing to really keep the foot in-line
with the footbed of the flip-flop. At least with sandals a strap goes over the
forefoot and another around the heel, keeping the foot on the footbed. Most
flip-flops offer no arch support and no heel support. The foot is not secure
and it can easily slip to one side leading to a fall or a turned ankle. Then,
to top it off, the feet are usually dirty, often with calluses and cracked
heels. Often it is not a pretty sight. I wear flip-flops around the house, but
not in public.

Protection – Feet on flip-flops are exposed to anything and everything.
You can easily stub toes, something may drop on your feet, they might scrap
against curbs or rocks, and they are easily pierced by anything sharp. Sandals
offer more protection over, around and under feet.

Function – Flip-flops are designed for casual wear, not for extended
walking, exercise, golf, running – and especially not mowing your lawn. Sport
sandals are a better choice.

Given a choice, I’d recommend sandals over flip-flops.

Need more convincing? A study on flip-flops was released
last week at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.
Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama recruited 39 college-age men and
women, and measured how the participants walked on a special platform wearing
thong flip-flops. Study author Justin Shroyer, a
graduate student in Auburn's Department of Kinesiology, reported, "What we
saw is that when people walk in flip-flops, they alter their gait, which may
explain why we see some lower leg and foot problems in people who wear these
shoes a lot."

If you choose to wear flip-flops, at least
buy new ones every four months. When the thin footbed flattens out, it’s time
to replace them.

After all, we want our feet to be happy.

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