Keith Levasseur ran a very respectible time of 2:46 in last Saturday's Baltimore marathon. What was special about this run was that he ran in flip flops and will qualify for a world record as a result.
While he did not have any blisters, he did have the flip flops rub away the skin in places. He was more aware of his stride, making sure to keep his stride efficient and balanced. After the race the balls of his feet were sore, with some pain in his ankle and quadriceps.
Will he do it again? Levasseur quickly answers no...not even to defend his record!
While you hear some about barefoot running, whether truly barefoot or in minimalist shoes, running in flip flops...or even walking in flip flops for a long time is a different story. Where a minimalist shoe is still snugly fit on the foot, a flip flop isn't. This means that the foot has to work HARDER to keep the flip flop on.
This is why when you do lots of walking in a flip flop, the top of your feet and front of your ankle can start to ache. Just trying to keep the flip flops on fatigues the muscles and causes pain. This pain is similar to shin splints, only effecting the foot and ankle instead of the leg.
There is a time and place to wear flip flops. Unfortunately, most wear them more often than they should. Wearing them to the pool and beach...okay. Wearing flip flops while you tour Europe...not a great idea. Make sure you consider what you're doing when you choose what shoes to wear.
If you find that you are feeling pain after walking for a while, contact Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate appointment. If you are consistently feeling discomfort in a particular pair of shoes, bring them along so we can check them out.