Thoughts From the Dallas Airport: Flip Flops

I'm sitting near my gate at the airport in Dallas returning from a very worthwhile podiatry conference. My flight is delayed and I'm passing the time by doing some reading, organizing my notes from the meeting, listening to my ipod, and people watching.

The one thing that is striking is the number of people who are traveling in what I consider to be the absolute worst footwear available...flip-flops. Sure, they have their place: the locker room at your gym, inside public showers, around the pool deck, and maybe one or two other uses. But absolutely not in an airport. I mention this for two reasons.

The first seems obvious but overlooked. I guarantee if you ask some of these people they'll tell you it is the convenience of slipping them off to go through security. This baffles me! You mean to tell me that you want to go barefoot through the same path where thousands of people trudge each and every day. Think about it, along with your perfect bare feet walked how many before you with athlete's foot, nail fungus, warts, or flesh-eating bacteria? (OK, not so much the flesh eating but you've got the point...lots of creepy crawly bad stuff) How often do you think they shut down the security lines to give the floor a good scrubbing? Ten times? Five? Even once? Unlikely!! Wear socks people. Most of the time when you wear tennis shoes you know you slip them on without retying them anyway, right?

Second, with the amount of walking in the airports, are shoes without any support or protection the right thing to wear. With all the people in airports, do you want your fellow traveler to step on your unprotected foot, or have the blow buffered by a shoe? This is not just for airports. The same applies for malls, Disney World, Six Flags, and most other places you can think of.

I remember when my wife and I were taking our baby classes before our son was born. I think my wife was the only woman not wearing flip flops each class. Coincidentally, she was also the only woman not complaining about foot pain. Ladies, I understand they're cute and everyone is wearing them. But does that really matter when you're forced to sit or limp in pain?
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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