Flip-Flop Dos And Don’ts

Posted: September 2, 2012 in Fashion, Geek Stuff

You can’t deny the ease and practicality of flip-flops, yet you have to acknowledge that showing skin isn’t appropriate for every situation. 

A wise man once said there are three sides to every story: your side, their side and the truth. And when it comes to summer’s favorite footwear, that advice couldn’t be more relevant. If we had it our way, we would bare 10 toes 365 days a year, a flip-flop devotee until the end. But the fashion mags and style elitists mock this comfortable creation as a sad product of stylistic surrender. In reality, the fate of the flip-flop exists somewhere between these extremes. You can’t deny the ease and practicality of flip-flops, yet you have to acknowledge that showing skin isn’t appropriate for every situation — even when the mercury tops 90. That’s why this collection of dos and don’ts is specially designed to help you hoof it in the heat.

flip-flop dos

Be buffed

Summer is the season where our feet come out to play in public for friends, family and strangers alike. A DIY clip-and-scrub is mandatory. Always keep an eye out for open sores and blisters. They’re a surefire sign you need to switch to shoes — stat.

Find ones that fit

You can hear the slip-slap sound of a pair that’s too big from a mile away. And seeing the embarrassing toe-curl created by a pair that’s smaller than it should be isn’t much better. Sizing can be tricky since flip-flops are typically made in ranges to cover half sizes (like 9-10 or 11-12). The rule: They should extend just past your heel. Pick a pair closest to your sneaker size, and always remember to try them on first.

Replace frequently

Unlike a leather lace-up or even a canvas-clad slip-on, your flip-flop collection needs to be replenished every summer. It’s not just to capture the latest trend — though that’s an added perk. The reason you need to stock up on an annual basis is because a flimsy flip-flop simply can’t hold up to repeated beatings by sun, surf and sand. And yes, while restocking does depend on how often you decide to throw on your thongs, dropping a few extras bucks on a fresh set each beach season will ensure they’re never gnarly — or worse, whittled paper-thin.

Rub ’em down

Flip-flops have a relatively short lifespan – a single season could (and probably should) end in their demise. Fortunately, a little care can extend their days. Wipe your flip-flops with a clean, damp cloth after each use. For models fashioned in foam, which bruises easily, a bath of soap and water is what works. When it doesn’t, toss ’em in the trash.

They’re great for a trip to the beach, an errand in unbearable heat or lounging around on a Sunday afternoon. But take flip-flops out of these environments, and the results can be disastrous. 

flip-flop don’ts

Work it

The office is no-no No. 1 for flip-flops. They’re never acceptable. Not for a commute that slowly segues into an hour-long news-reading/Facebooking/email-checking extravaganza. A quick trip to the water cooler is out of the question too. Work in one of those young and fun tech companies where you can bring in your dog and do laundry while drinking a latte over the Sunday Times crossword at lunch? Flip-flops may seem like they fit right in, but there’s a problem: Between the sight of a hair-dusted big toe and the click-clack of your feet clamoring down the hall, no one will take you seriously. So, buck up, buckaroo. This is a place of business — not your backyard.

Get hippified

Some flip-flops are burdened with extraneous closures and clunky soles. You know, the Teva/Birkenstock variety that normally accompanies a hike in the woods, a drum circle or a vegan cookout. But flip-flops are best in their most basic form: A between-the-toe strap affixed to a firm but flexible bottom. One made of synthetics like plastic and foam is fine – even ideal in many cases. It’s a summer solution even our meat-free friends can’t complain about.

Go the distance

Flip-flops are super-specific footwear. They’re great for a trip to the beach, an errand in unbearable heat or lounging around on a Sunday afternoon. But take flip-flops out of these environments, and the results can be disastrous. Walking for more than two continuous hours without the orthotic support your precious feet demand could lead to a host of health problems from tendinitis to back pain. Hopefully, you already know that getting all Bob Vila in the backyard while wearing a pair of plastic flip-flops is not a good idea.

Feel the burn

Any type of footwear worn sockless (which, unless you’re a Eastern European tourist, is preferable) runs the risk of causing cuts, burns and blisters due to an increased level of chafing. But the problem is worse with flip-flops, because your feet are exposed to the elements. One poke or jab from an external object can spell serious injury. Spare yourself the pain and cover up when your feet are showing signs of abuse. And, of course, always walk with care.

flip-flop dos and don’ts: heed them

This summer, refine your ways from your coed days and tell the fashion editors to suck it. Turns out that applying the wise man’s words of wisdom were the key to doing this flip-flop thing right all along.

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