You Can Pry My Flip-Flops Off My Cold, Dead, Broken Feet

by Sa'iyda Shabazz
Originally Published: 
racorn / Shutterstock

Once the weather is consistently over 70 degrees, I will wear only flip-flops on these feet. And since I live in Los Angeles, that’s pretty much always. Why? Because when my feet get hot, my toes swell and look like cocktail sausages. My feet need to breathe, dammit.

Flip-flops are the easiest piece of footwear that exists; you just slide them on and go. They come in a million different colors, and they’re inexpensive. Plus, if you spring for a high-quality pair, they can last forever. I’m still rocking pairs from five years ago. They’re perfectly broken in and slipping them on is like coming home. My flip-flops are the best part of summer, and frankly, nothing can ever break me of my love for them.

Every couple of years or so, articles will come out that tell you how horrible wearing flip-flops is for your feet. You shouldn’t wear them for extended periods of time because they have no arch support. According to Connecticut-based podiatrist Meredith Leigh Ward, “Flip-flops do not offer any type of support for the foot or ankle and are not designed for daily wear.” Any die-hard flip-flop-wearer will tell you that they know these things, and guess what, there’s a good chance that it doesn’t matter.

One Fourth of July, I wore my flip-flops to the beach in Santa Monica and traversed about 75% of that sandy waterfront. By the time we got back to my friend’s car, my feet were on fire, and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t wear them again the next day. I’ve stood in them for hours at a time. Sure, these side effects are legitimate, they could theoretically cause problems like Achilles tendinitis, pinched nerves in my back, or heel pain, but these are risks I’m willing to take for now.

Some people are just repulsed by flip-flops in general. Because your foot is closer to the ground in flip-flops than in any other shoe, you’re more likely to pick up bacteria and general ickiness when you walk. You’ve seen those people with black rings around their feet from the dirt; perhaps you’ve been one of them.

Well, if your heels are turning black, you’re not wearing the right size flip-flops. There should be enough room for that not to happen. But if it does, odds are you’re going to be just fine after a good wash-down. Yes, there is always the chance you could pick up a staph infection, so if you have an open wound on your foot, obviously you should exercise caution and take proper first-aid measures. Nobody wants to see cutup, oozing, open foot wounds anyway.

Dr. Jackie Sutera, a podiatrist who is a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, claims that flip-flops cause blisters. If those blisters were to pop, it could be pretty bad because well…germs. Um, hello? Name me a type of shoe that doesn’t cause blisters, please. I stopped wearing a pair of wedge espadrilles because they gave me blisters one time. And I can’t tell you the number of times I got blisters on my heels and ankles from athletic shoes. So, yes, I get them occasionally, and if they’re really bad, I’ll wear a different shoe for a few days until they heal. Now they make blister blockers and balms that you can put on your foot to prevent blisters, so go forth and keep flip-flopping.

I seriously wear flip-flops with everything dresses, jeans, sweats, whatever. Yes, I know that they’re considered super-casual, but unless it is specified somewhere that I can’t wear flip-flops, you bet your ass that’s what I’m wearing. I’ve worn them to a job interview — and got the job. So boo-yah! I can chase after my kid in them, run if I have to, climb a ladder, whatever. Tim Gunn would be disgusted by my fashion choices, I know, but guess what — I’m okay with it.

I have worn my flip-flops in all kinds of weather (except snow because hypothermia ain’t sexy, and I’m not looking to lose a toe), but I try not to wear them in the rain. Yes, even I have limits. If the chance of rain is low, I’ll risk it. A little drizzle isn’t too bad (they dry quickly), but I got stuck in a downpour once and almost lost a shoe in a particularly strong current. I also almost slipped, fell, and busted my ass. It was not my best look. But I didn’t blame my trusty flip-flops. It was totally the weather’s fault.

Yes, flip-flops have their downsides, but so do a lot of other shoes. If you can wear your stilettos without giving a fuck, I can do the same with my flip-flops. You can keep your Birkenstocks or your Tevas, I’ll stick with my $2 Old Navy flip-flops. And yes, I’m aware that they give me the worst tan lines ever and they aren’t winning any style awards. But oh fucking well, I’m not here for that anyway. You can pull them off my cold, dead, broken feet — which, if I do any major walking for more than an hour, is a highly likely possibility. And I don’t even care.

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