Thongs, Jandals, Flip-Flops, Pluggers; whatever you call them, there is a good chance you have worn a pair this summer. They are our favourite go-to shoe during the warmer months for their ability to be easily put on and off and their knack for airflow and ventilation. We are able to disperse body heat from our feet and therefore can tolerate higher temperatures better when wearing thongs. But does it come at a cost? Are thongs really bad for your feet?
What is it that makes thongs unsuitable? The largest factor is that because they are not well adhered to our feet, we have to work harder to ensure they stay in contact. We contract our toes to enhance grip and functionally, this is not a natural part of the walking cycle. If we compare this to sneakers that are secured with laces, our feet are then able to relax their grip and walk more freely.
Additionally, many thongs available do not have any supportive features or any cushioning present to assist and counteract the constant contraction of our toes.
Thankfully with the ‘bad stigma’ associated with thongs, there has been a rise in new adaptations that offer more support. Different thongs at different price points are available at The Footwear Store that resides within our OnePointHealth clinic. They offer the same features of a standard thong with the addition of arch support and arch contour. The varied price points correspond with materials used. Some thongs offer a hard blown rubber outer sole which makes them a lot more durable.
In summary, thongs do have their time and place within your wardrobe and there are better variations of thongs out there. If you are experiencing any foot or lower limb pain, it is best to limit your time spent in thongs and consult a podiatrist for further assessment.