The Ugly Shoe Intervention: Flippity-Flop
Apr 7, 2011
I hate flip flops. Smacking. Slapping. Clopping like the hoofbeats of an apocalypse-heralding horseman. I hate them.
I detest when I see a woman in a $400 suit and flip flops. I cringe when I see a Staffer meeting with constituents during session (or recess) while wearing flip flops. And I want to throw things–heavy, sharp things–when I go to a formal or cocktail event and see women wearing flip flops with their satin party dresses.
Certainly, there are a handful of places where flip flops are allowed: at the beach, pool side, at a resort, in your garden and in the privacy of your own home. Because flip flops are not shoes, they are foot covers for places where shoes are not required. Unfortunately, they have moved far beyond their assigned realm.
Even if you own them, even if you wear them with everything (shudder), there is not a person out there who can argue that affixing a piece of shaped plastic to the bottom of your foot is fashionable, sanitary, or good for your musculoskeletal structure.
To keep flip flops on, you have to grip the front of the sandal with your toes. As a result, as Dr. John Whyte explains, you shorten your stride and force your ankles, knees, hips and back to pick up the slack. This can lead to injury, wear and tear on the joints and stress on the tendons.
Flip flops can also make you flat footed (not sexy). Add that to the fact that they provide no meaningful traction, support, or protection for the feet and you are just asking for a busted toe, an infection, or a sprained ankle.
Oh, and for the environmentally and socially conscious folks out there, your beloved, flapping footwear is made with polyurethene, in foreign countries (usually) using discount labor. Something to think about.
Now, I know that there are some among you who will be royally ticked about this post. There are certainly places in this country where flip flops are considered a wardrobe basic. But the angriest commenters (if history is any indicator) will be those of you who use flip flops as commuter footwear during the summer months. Don’t worry, I brought alternatives.
For the past two summers, my walk to work shoes were a pair of simple, gold Steve Madden flats. They were perfection. I wore them every day for two seasons and they just wore out. Unfortunately, he’s not making them in that shade any longer, so I must find new shoes for this season. (I knew I should have purchased a stockpile, a strategic ballet flat reserve, if you will.)
Last week, I bought this D’Orsay, pewter Huarache from Seychelles ($90). It’s going to take me awhile to break them in, but so far, I can walk 2.5 miles in them comfortably. But in case they don’t work out as an every day shoe, I have some other options in mind.
Geox makes a great walking shoe. They have a rubber sole (my favorite), a padded footbed and small perforations to they’re breathable. These mocha and black cap-toe flats are lovely ($135), as are these light snakeskin flats ($105).
Finally, these gold Michael Kors flats are the closest thing I’ve found to my beloved Steve Madden’s. They’re a bit pricey at $165, but if you wear them every day for an entire season, I think they’re worth it. If you like a gold flat but need something less expensive, these gold, ankle strap basket weave flats from LuLu’s are $39. You can also buy these Kenneth Cole Reaction flats for $70, and Steve Madden has the same pair I used to buy but in gold glitter for $60.
There are plenty of chic commuter shoes available if you’re willing to look for them. You do not need to settle for a pair of disgusting, offensive, noisy flip flops that cost 45 cents to make.
If nothing else, I encourage you to, at the very least, stop wearing these shoes to work. Even if you’re just walking in the door wearing them and changing immediately upon arrival, these shoes are not appropriate for a working professional. There is no valid argument to the contrary, unless you work at a company that makes flip flops and in that case, I have a serious bone to pick with you. I don’t care if you’re wearing a Vivienne Westwood business suit, all anyone will see is a woman in a suit and flip flops.
Next week, we’re going to talk about summer sandals that don’t flip or flop. Because, yes, Virginia, they do exist. See you then.