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It’s summer and we’ve traded in our boots for flip flops, sandals and mules. And you know I wouldn’t be talking to you about this, if it wasn’t hazardous to your health.

Sadly, we say “goodbye” to boots. I like boots. They’re generally wider. The soles are usually thicker, and they distribute the pressure required to hold the shoe in place over a larger surface area. This reduces strappy pressure points and tight-fitting forces across the forefoot.

Strappy sandals that put pressure across toes, the arch of the foot, and around the ankle or heel, can rub blisters and damage superficial nerves.

Mules stay on your feet one of two ways. Either the body of the shoe is tight enough to stay on during the swing-through phase of your gait, or you hold it on by crimping your toes. If the shoe is tight, it can damage the bones and joints of the forefoot and toes. It’s promoting the progression of that bunion deformity. It’s squeezing the life out of the delicate nerves that run between the toes, resulting in neuropathic pain.

If you have to crimp your toes to hold the shoe on, then you’re re-enforcing the neuromuscular action that leads to hammertoes and painful calluses!

We often think mules are very comfortable, but that’s because we can easily slip them off when we sit down.

And “flip flops” speak for themselves. These little pieces of leather, rubber or plastic are responsible for lots of damage to our bodies in the form of whatever gets cut, sprained or broken when they fail to stay on our feet as we move about.

My advice? Wear shoes with more contact on your foot. Shoes with back straps, solid soles and shoes that don’t slip on wet surfaces.

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Dr. Barbara Bergin is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon who has been taking care of the bones and joints of Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. She prefers prevention to treatment and takes a natural approach to both when possible. By informing her readers and patients through 1010ParkPlace and her blog,, she wants to prevent 100,000 injuries before she retires.

4 thoughts on “SUMMER SHOE DANGERS”

  1. I have such skinny feet, sandals are all too wide for me. And would you believe I’ve never worn flip flops? I have virgin toes. Tried a pair on a couple of years ago, but knew the tender skin between my toes would be blistered in no time. No… I’m the sensible summer shoe girl. Thanks for such great advice! Brenda

  2. Boots all the way. Even when I’m walking to the pool. I may look funny but I don’t care. Thanks Dr. B.

  3. I’m wearing flip flops as I type this! However, I can’t stand mules and I’m fussy about summer sandals. Being Australian I was probably born wearing flip flops, although I usually only wear them on vacation and to get from cabin to car to beach, and back. I’ve always suspected they’re not particularly good for our feet. Esther xx

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