By Lynn Difley

flip_flopsAlthough many consider our life style to be of the casual sort, one that would welcome footwear that suggests beach, leisure, and fun, the RV lifestyle is not a good fit with the hazardous rubber sandal, the flip-flop. I am on a rampage against flip flops this week and I hope none of you are selling or have invested in the popular beach shoe, because I am about to plead for a ban on flip flops.

This is all because Hannah, a regular student of mine, a small but feisty 84 year old showed up for class with a nasty looking black eye, a gash on her forehead and scrapes on her shoulder and hand.

“What happened “ we all asked, and she sheepishly replied, “well I went out to get the mail in my flip flops, in too much of a hurry to put on my walking shoes, and one of the steps was slippery with some leaves and next thing I knew I was down.”

It is a testimony to her strength and fitness that she didn’t break anything, or dislocate any joints, but her fall serves as a good warning for all of us. It is a fact of life that as we get older, the likelihood of our falling increases, particularly if steps are not taken to improve our balance and to reduce the hazards around us.

man_falling“Flip flops have single-handedly caused more problems with people’s feet in the last few years than any other kind of shoe,” says Dr. Rock Positano, a podiatrist at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery. He sees about five to 10 flip flop caused injuries a week, injuries that are the direct result of wearing flip flops in place of normal walking shoes.

“The problem is that these shoes have absolutely no support, the foot is able to go in any direction and the shoe impairs the ability of the foot to function as a shock absorption body part,” Positano explains. In addition to causing falls, flip flops will aggravate previous foot problems, such as high arches or flat feet. With long-term usage, there is the possibility of developing chronic tendonitis or overuse injuries not only in the ankle, but also the knee, hip, and back.

Researchers who studied those who wear flip flops found that they take shorter steps, creating more stress on the body as the natural stride is altered to accommodate the shoes. Toes also are a problem with flip-flop fans. You scrunch your toes up to keep them on. This constant pressure adds up to an overuse injury, creating tenderness in the toes and even “claw foot,” a condition in which the toes are locked into a curled under position.

All in all, we would all be wise to take the flip flops out of our RVs altogether, and replace them with a sturdy walking shoe, which we would then use to take short, medium, and long walks, no increased risk of falling, foot injury, or fallen arches. Out with the flip flops and march on safely.

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  477. Darthvagrant

    Awwww…… Nick’s having a bad day.

  478. Nick

    Should we all wear Birkenstocks? Get real and leave the “I want to control your every moment of life” off the RV sites as I get enough of this stuff from the old media.

  479. Lived at an rv park for 7 years and have had my share of falls and near falls with flip flops. I now wear crocks and they even have a winter type rain slicker shoe that is so safe. It is the sole grip that is the difference. We live around soil that has lots of clay in it and this is so hazardous after a rain and especially in winter.

  480. Manuel Enos

    Sounds like you should be up there in congress with the rest of the left wing liberals who want to ban everything!! We don’t wear shoes in our RV so therefore we kick off our FLIP FLOPS or CROCS at the door to keep out the sand and dirt. I love my flip flops and crocs, I’m from Florida where life is a beach everyday and hardly anyone wears real shoes..

  481. Darthvagrant

    Slightly off topic I have another safety issue with my POS motorbox relating to footwear. When / if I wear my (sort of wide) motocross boots while driving, it becomes VERY easy to inadvertently depress both the brake and accelerator simultaneously. This is greatly exacerbated by the doofis method of the chassis having been built with both the brake and accelerator pedals very close together, and crammed in between the narrow space between steering column and motor cover. It’s TOTALLY impossible to reach either with the lt. foot.
    If this crap of a coach were built today, I doubt the D.O.T. would allow it to be sold. I FINALLY am actually enjoying this aging pathetic, shoddy vehicle. After correcting most of up the defects created in incredibly crude manufacturing, (a work ion progress for MANY years) it’s actually a vastly superior coach than it was when the (apparently sight challenged idiots) bought it new. I’m leaving for FL in three weeks for the winter. My wish is that my marriage will survive after we regress from 2200+ square feet of house to less than 200 square feet like sardines. Probably safe, my wife is a real sweetheart. Oh yeah- an additional hope that all the 17 year old
    components in the coach just survive for just 5 more months and 2400+ (?) miles.
    In a worse-case scenario, if any catastrophic engine / transmission (etc.) failures occur
    I can sell it by the weight at a scrap yard and head home in my Suzuki Sidekick toad.
    I bought it REALLY CHEAP in 1994 and by now I could just write it off.
    A blessing in disguise perhaps. Maybe I’d break down and actually dig a little deeper and buy something decently built. (I realize a “decently built” RV is a total oxymoron) Or at the very least spend more money. Holiday Rambler coaches always impressed me but I don’t know if Monaco (the new owner) is even building them anymore
    Sorry for rambling..

  482. Back in the ’60s, which is when flip-flops were introduced in this country, we wore them to the beach a lot. During the Viet Nam war, they were called “Ho Chi Minh sandels” because of stories that the Viet Cong manufactured them out of old tires, and among some groups wearing them was unpatriotic, while among others their wear was an expression of solidarity with the peace movement. Funny how something as simple as cheap footwear can cause so much strife and discontent!

    By the way, last time he visited his podiatrist, my husband noticed one of the foot doctors wearing Crocs, and asked him about them. The doc showed him how he’d put arch-support inserts into his, and said he thought they were just fine with those.

  483. catchesthewind

    Flip-Flops, shower shoes to the older generation, have one use and one use only and that is foot hygiene in the shower. In my humble opinion they are totally useless for any other purpose. I do not include the high tech off shoots which are not shower shoes as such. I must agree that except for the shower they have no use in the RV lifestyle.

  484. riggarob

    I’ve been wearing flip-flops from day one. Used to be the cheap as you could get kind. About 10 years ago my younger brother turned me on to Reefs. Like others have said many times before, you get what you pay for. From Jan., when we hit Key West, until Sept., when it sarts to get cold in NH, that’s all that I wear. Also, no problem driving, ’cause I drive barefoot. Don’t worry about the comments about being RV related. If you’re in an RV as much as we are, EVERYTHING is RV related !

  485. Gary

    If you want to get back to the RV part of this topic, it is deadly to drive an RV with flip flops on. We need sturdy shoes that are secure to drive any vehicle – especially the big rigs. Maybe the only good use for flip flops is in the camp shower although I’d be mighty careful.

  486. DAN

    i only use flipflops in the shower. i cannot think of a better substitute. one does have to be very careful. it is easy to slip and fall in the shower, even barefoot.

  487. Darthvagrant

    Flip flops an RV subject? Yeah…..sort of. I always have a pair handy when using the communal shower at the campgrounds-ONLY! Walk to the shower, take a shower, walk back in the flip-flops. THEN take them off ’till the next shower. They’re OK for the short walks, but most importantly make it less likely to start a fungus farm on your feet in the shower,

  488. I’m with John on this, love the Crocs! Even though my son says they look like “an old ladies garden shoes”!

  489. John Jackman

    I wear Crocs all the time both at my trailer and at home. I have to wear safety footwear the rest of the time so wearing Crocs is very relaxing and relief for my feet. They can be slippery if things are really wet but you need to get a new pair on occasion. Don’t try to wear them out completely….

  490. Bill

    I never wear flip-flops. I prefer to go barefoot or if I must wear something I wear moccasins. I find that going barefoot strengthens the muscles in your feet so that they are better able to cope with uneven ground. Believe it or not I rarely suffer any foot injury while barefoot even when I do stuff like walk the dog for a couple of miles or so.

    It is a real shame that the shoe industry has so poisoned our minds that we think that our natural feet need support all the time. It just ain’t so I tell you.

  491. Jim

    I would prefer that we stick on issues that promote RV’ing. This seems like an issue that adults should take care of themselves and not an immediate safety issue.

    I work on the top of my Motorhome without a safety belt or tie-off. Do you? This has much more potential for injury than a concern for flip flops.

  492. Sorry, I’m keeping mine too. People need to realise that you can’t run or play sports with flip flops on, or climb stairs.

  493. Francis X. Schilling

    The odiousness of flip-flops, and the evils attending them, have been the common topics both of ancient and modern moralists, but no observation seems more pointed than that which says, ” of all footwear, flip-flops seldomest obtain their end ; for by showing our own feet, we pique the disgust of other men, and thus, by aiming at thrift and convenience, we reap derision and injury”.

    The envy which is sure to follow in the train of flip-flops, has been happily illustrated by the fable of the Peacock, who no sooner begins to spread his gorgeous plumage, than the other birds begin to cry out against his ugly legs and screaming feet.

  494. Courtney

    I’m sure your student could just have easily fallen while wearing other types of shoes. There have been plenty of occasions when I, or some of my friends have slipped on wet leaves while wearing tennis shoes. I’m not saying flip flops are the end-all be-all of the footwear world, just that you are a little off in your rampage against them.

    I think flip flops are a great choice for RVers using the campground showers!

  495. Keith

    I agree with the flip flop ban. I have worn them as well to get the paper and have slipped. I believe then should be banned when driving too since they don’t always follow the foot when braking and can get caught under the brake pedal. They are only good for showering.

  496. Christina

    Sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one, for the most part. While in terms of the old fashionshed flip flop that you typically find in the bargain bin at the department store, you are probably correct. The flat sole, flat footbed type of flip flop are pathetic. That said, there have been a whole host of improved version brought to market, many of which are actually good for the calf and foot, offer good arch support and even a good toe bar. One person mentioned the walking Company, Birkenstock, many of the sport shoe companies offer them. In this case, the old saying may hold true – you get what you pay for…

  497. Maggie

    Sorry, Lynn, but are you running out of things to write about? What on earth do flip flops have to do with RVing?

  498. Ellen F

    Well, if you are going to rampage against flipflops, then you had better put crocs on your list too since they offer as little or even less support than normal flipflops. Conversely, my flipflops have good arch support and are sold by a store (The Walking Company); in fact, the arch in those flipflops is better than what is found in my dress shoes. Additionally, the tread is non-slip rubber.

    Personally, I’ll keep my flipflops thank you very much.