Health Team

Study: Flip-flops are good for your knees

Posted April 12, 2010

Researchers have found that wearing flip-flops places 15 percent less load on the knees than other, more stable shoes.

The study, conducted at Rush University in Chicago, analyzed 31 people with osteoarthritis while they walked barefoot and with flip-flops. They then compared the information to people walking with Dansko clogs, often worn by doctors and nurses, and Brooks Addiction stability shoes.

Researchers said flip-flops are better for knees possibly because the natural flex of the foot reduces the impact on the joint.

Study finds flip-flops good for the knees Study finds flip-flops good for the knees

“I would tend to agree that the more cushioned type of shoe, which these flip-flops are, could decrease the load to the knees,” said Dr. Steven Weinfeld, a foot and ankle surgeon at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Weinfeld warns that the study doesn’t mean everyone should wear flip-flops.

“The flip-flops offer no protection to the foot, no support to the arch,” he said.

Doctors warn that for some people, extensive walking in flip-flops can lead to foot pain due to lack of arch support, tendinitis and even sprained ankles if they trip.


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  • WXYZ Apr 19, 2010

    Well, theoretically, the otherwise normal human foot, should be able to walk without outside covering. On level surfaces, most of the work and strain required by the task of walking is done by the lower leg muscles and joints. The work load proportion on the knees, hips, spine and upper body does not become very significant until one is carrying a load, climbing (e.g. stairs, slopes, ladders etc) or until one approaches or passes running speed. Wearing "flip-flops" year-round has been very popular among school age kids for several years I have noticed. I would suppose that wearing this kind of shoe alters the gait characteristics compared to other shoes because there may be more distribution of forces higher up the kinetic chain. Also wearing flip-flops may require the lower leg, ankle and foot to work a little harder to maintain balance and stability versus wearing shoes which have higher heel compartments. Thus, the lowered knee stress and strain. Interesting huh?

  • DowntownGirl Apr 15, 2010

    Don't know about the knees, but they're darned sure good for my soul!

  • iamyeary Apr 15, 2010

    The boss (female) at the office wears them all summer, and the only good thing about the noise that they make is... we all know when she is approaching our workspace!

  • onecent1232003 Apr 13, 2010

    I wasn't a "flip-flop" wearer until i found okabashi brand flip- flops they are incredible! they are so comfortable and my feet feel great!

  • kcfoxie Apr 13, 2010

    Totally believe it. Shoes, especially running shoes, produce more injury than people who run barefoot. All I wear are flip flips or vibram five fingers. I have a 16 year old pair of boots for the RARE occasion that my Vibram FiverFinger KSOs can't meet the challenge. No more back pain, hips have started to realign naturally. 65 pounds lost, back to running 3 miles a day like I was before the car accident.

    Also the whole arch support thing is a joke anyway. We're designed to walk on them, we have muscles that aren't used when encased in shoes that naturally support them. Want arch support? Kick off your kicks and go barefooted.

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Apr 13, 2010

    Flip-flops are not good for your feet unless they have bottom arch support. I can no longer wear them because of a torn inner tissue, and having proper arch support would have prevented this type of injury.

  • gramc Apr 13, 2010

    Olukai and Chaco both make flip flops with VERY good arches. My husband thinks the Olukai are better for the knees (softer footbed), but I love the Chaco's for the feet. I have SEVERE plantar fasciitis. For the winter, Danskos are the best.

  • cadetsfan Apr 13, 2010

    I hate listening to people walk in those things. Clip, clip, clip. Add to that if lazy people also drag their feet because their too stupid to pick up their foot just that extra half inch.

  • CestLaVie Apr 13, 2010

    You're kidding....those ugly, noisy things????

  • Lab mom Apr 13, 2010

    I am not sure about this story. I live in Dansco clogs. Flip flops are not as comfortable in my opinion and my feet hurt when I walk alot in flip flops. I will vote for the Danscos!!