How Flip-Flops Affect the Muscles, Posture, and Gait

With summer coming up, you may be starting to break out the flip-flops. However, before adopting flip-flops as your regular footwear, you may want to consider their impact on your muscles, posture, and gait. Flip-flops aren’t designed to support the body and, as a result, can strain your muscles and joints. 

Let’s learn more about how flip-flops affect your body and why you should choose more supportive footwear this summer. 

The Downsides of Flip-Flops

Poor Impact Absorption

Supportive footwear absorbs impact with every step that you take. This reduces the impact on your joints, helping to keep you protected against overuse injuries. Flip-flops, on the other hand, provide almost no impact absorption. This means that your body will absorb all of the impact from physical activities like walking, running, and even standing, increasing your risk of injury. 


Flip-flops encourage pronation. When you’re pronating, it means that you’re carrying most of your weight on the insides of the feet. This is different from the natural posture of the foot, when the arch of the foot is locked and absorbs shock, preventing pain in the feet and ankles.

Overpronation can lead to numerous complications, including bunions, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, hammertoes, pain in the Achilles tendon, and even arthritis in the foot if flip-flops are worn over an extended period of time. 

Unnatural Gait

In comparison to supportive shoes, flip-flops can alter your gait. Generally, people wearing flip-flops don’t lift their toes to the same degree as the leg comes forward, don’t lift their feet up normally, and have shorter strides. These changes increase the impact on the body with every step and even increase the number of steps needed to cover the same distance. The result is a higher risk of overuse injury for flip-flop wearers than for people wearing supportive footwear. 

At Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, we offer services to help you recover from musculoskeletal problems, such as those caused by frequently wearing flip-flops. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.