6 Tips for Wearing Flip-Flops If You're Over 60, According to Stylists and Podiatrists
Take a few precautions to sport them stylishly and healthily.
There's no easier piece of footwear than the flip-flop. In the summer months, all you need to do is slip them on and go, making them the defacto shoe for trips to the mailbox, grocery store, beach, and more. Of course, you've likely heard warnings about these shoes, especially for people in older bodies. They leave your toes exposed to accidents, lack support, and, in some cases, look juvenile and unpolished. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Here, podiatrists and style experts tell us their best tips for wearing flip-flops if you're over 60. You don't have to say goodbye to these shoes forever; just make a few adjustments.
Look for arch support and other features.
Most podiatrists recommend avoiding flip-flips due to their flimsy nature. If you decide to pick up a pair regardless, you'll want to look for a few features.
Gregory Alvarez, DPM, a podiatrist at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America, suggests looking for a pair with cushioning and arch support. "Flip-flops with a wide, supportive base will help reduce strain on the feet and ankles when walking or standing," he says.
You should also examine the straps. "Make sure that the straps and any other closures fit snugly but comfortably around the foot; this will also help improve stability when walking," Alvarez explains.
Finally, look for shoes with shock absorption technology or memory foam footbeds. "These features can help reduce the impact on joints," he says. Styles with rubber soles can give additional traction and grip on wet surfaces, which can help prevent slips and falls.
Never wear flip-flops for long walks.
Bruce Pinker, DPM, foot and ankle surgeon at Progressive Foot Care, says you should limit your time in flip-flops.
"I only recommend wearing flip flops for short durations, one to two hours at most, and only for short walking distances," he says. Plan your day wisely before you slip them on.
READ THIS NEXT: Love Walking Around Barefoot Indoors? This Podiatrist Says You Should Stop Now.
Avoid flip-flops in certain situations.
Speaking of slips and falls, you should never wear flip-flops when this probability is high.
"There are instances when I definitely recommend completely against wearing flip-flops, including outdoor activities such as hiking, pickleball, jogging, or even casual bike rides," says Nicole Brouyette, DPM, a podiatrist at Henry Ford Health. "Flip-flops can lead to falls, ankle injuries, and blistering."
You should also avoid them in wet or slippery conditions and in below-freezing weather, she adds.
Try a leather flip-flop.
Aside from your foot health and safety, certain flips flops can look a little too casual. And your 60s is the perfect time to upgrade those flimsy plastic sandals.
"Leather flip-flops are classic, elegant, and versatile, giving any look an instant bump in style and sophistication," says Elizabeth Kosich, a certified image stylist and the founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling.
"Consider leather flip-flops for any outfit you'd otherwise pair with leather driving moccasins in wintertime—jeans, a T-shirt, and a smart blazer; white jeans and a chambray denim shirt; khakis and an untucked white oxford," she suggests.
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Or a metallic or embellished pair.
Something metallic is another elevated choice for a flip-flop in your 60s. "Gold, silver, or bronze metallic flip-flops are perfect with summer whites on summer nights," says Kosich. "Wear with flowy white linen pants, a white shirt, and statement metal cuffs to match." A metallic manicure takes things one step further.
You can also gravitate toward embellishments. Kosich recommends flip-flops with stones, jewels, flowers, and bows. "For an understated look, try matte tone-on-tone designs and keep the embellishments small-to-medium scale," she explains. They'll add just enough pizazz to liven up your outfit.
Choose a different type of sandal.
Because there are so many safety concerns to consider when wearing flip-flops, you might want to opt for a different shoe altogether.
"I would recommend a sandal with a thicker or cushioned sole with adjustable straps to accommodate foot size and support more; this also adjusts if your feet swell in the heat," says Margaret Trevillion, a podiatrist at Walk This Way Podiatry. A strap around the back of the ankle adds extra support.
Trevillion recommends test runs. "If the sandals are not comfortable when trying on in-store, don't buy them as I do not believe in 'wearing in shoes.'" she says. "This is an expensive mistake and will adversely affect your foot health in the long run."