Flipping over flip-flops

The true confessions of a summer shoe addict
Wednesday, May 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:43 a.m. CDT, Saturday, June 28, 2008

It’s that time of year again. The birds are chirping, the grass is growing, the sun is shining and the flip-flops are flipping.

All through the dreary winter I long for the days when I can slip on a pair of my beloved flip-flops and let my toes enjoy the wonderful weather.

The only problem — which pair to wear.

An avid flip-flop wearer for as long as I can remember, I have amassed an astounding collection of at least 25 pairs of these great shoes. I have black ones, blues ones, old ones, new ones. I have quiet ones, loud ones, leopard ones and cloud ones. I have plain ones, chunky ones, dressy ones and clunky ones. 

There are three main things I love about flip-flops — they’re the right price for my college kid budget, they go with nearly every outfit and they look cute on my feet.

For the most part, flip-flops are pretty cheap. Since they consist mainly of a slab of rubber and a single plastic strap, they can’t cost that much to make and aren’t expensive to buy. On a recent eBay search, I found 2,424 pairs for sale, the most expensive being a pair of Chanel flip-flops with a Buy-It-Now price of $299. I can honestly say that the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of flip-flops is about $25. The vast majority of my purchases have been less than $15. The most recent purchase — a pair from Old Navy with wide brown ribbon straps with gold beads sewn on them from Old Navy — cost $12.99. With a price like that, I just can’t resist.

What's not to love?

Another reason why I love flip-flops is because they match everything. My pair of black flip-flops (well, OK, I have four) have definitely gotten its fair share of use. I wear them with jeans, skirts, dresses, capri pants, shorts, swimsuits. You name it, and I’ve probably worn flip-flops with it.

Flip-flops are also the perfect way to give a plain outfit a little bit of color and pizzazz. One of my wildest pairs is yellow with hula girls on them. They even have a little straw piece resembling a hula skirt sewn around the bottom. With a jean skirt and a white tank top, these flip-flops are quite the conversation piece.

A last reason for my love of flip-flops is because they look so darn adorable. During a recent shoe-shopping escapade, my roommate stopped, stared at my feet, and exclaimed that I “had some of the cutest toes she had ever seen.”

I also love that my flip-flops will always be the right size no matter how many Reese’s peanut butter cups I eat. Despite all the fabulous things about flip-flops, there is a downside to the shoes. Thomas Brant, a podiatrist, says flip-flops are not usually a problem for people with normal feet, but overuse can be hazardous.

“A common problem with them with overuse is a condition we call plantar fascitis, which causes pain with the arches or heels,” Brant said. “This is very common and is essentially due to not enough support of the plantar fascia muscle in the arch. Overall, if people have normal arches, they can wear flip-flops with no problems.”

“Another problem with flip-flops is that they are not very stable on the foot and some people will stumble when wearing them and may catch a toenail and pull the nail loose,” Brant said.

Warm weather, $15 and feet that are longing to escape from the confines of tennis shoes can only mean one thing: It’s time to buy another pair of flip-flops.

If you have yet to experience the wonderful world of flip-flops, then splurge a few dollars on a pair, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. You might even join me in becoming a flip-flop addict.


Megan says she loves flip-flops because they're cheap and match almost any outfit. (LIZ MARTIN/Missourian)

A campus must-have

Though I must admit that I have had a few flip-flop falls, it does not discourage me from wearing them. Many other people also are willing to risk a couple spills for these great shoes as well. As I walk around campus this time of year, I can’t help but notice that the majority of students are also flipping to class. I even saw a guy wearing flip-flops in February — when I was bundled up in my pea coat and tennis shoes.

While he doesn’t wear them during the winter, MU senior and marketing major Daniel Schultz is an avid flip-flop wearer like myself.

“I wear flip-flops because they’re really comfortable, and washing socks is a lot of work. I only have one pair that I can wear right now because a couple of my other ones are broken, but I wear that one pair all the time,” Schultz said.

Readying your feet for flops

Schultz goes to show that not only females like to wear flip-flops. However, men and women have very different-looking feet. Most of the girls I know have delicate, small feet, and they regularly trim and polish their toenails. Most of the guys I know are pretty much the opposite. While some men care about the appearance of their feet, others do not.

“I don’t really care what my feet look like. Since I’m 6’1, I’m far away enough from them that I don’t have to worry about their appearance, and I don’t really notice them,” Schultz said.

Some men, on the other hand, do care and they want their feet to look taken care of. This consciousness has prompted many men to pay a visit to the nearest salon for a pedicure. USA Today recently said that since more and more men are wearing flip-flops, some spas have started giving “sportsmen pedicures.”

Though the vast majority of pedicure clientele are women, Jeanne Fudge, a pedicurist at A Show Of Hands, says men are scheduling pedicures more frequently.

“A lot of men get pedicures because of health reasons and things like they don’t really know how to cut their own toenails properly, while women tend to get them more for cosmetic reasons. We even have a lady that is 90 years old that comes in for pedicures,” Fudge said.

However, not all men are willing to risk their outwardly masculine appearance with a trip to the salon.

“I wouldn’t ever consider getting a pedicure. I’m not into all that metrosexual stuff. It’s a little too feminine for me,” Schultz said. 

For those who do want pedicures, the appointments are filling up fast with summer right around the corner.

“We definitely have a busier schedule in the summer, but a lot of people get them year-round. In the winter, people’s feet get dry, and in the summer, they want their feet to look good when they wear shoes that expose them,” Fudge said.

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