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Jelly shoes can lead to foot fungus or cause slip-and-fall accidents.

Travel & Lifestyle: 4 Summer Shoes Podiatrists Never Wear

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When it comes to foot health and shoes, a few things are paramount: proper fit, comfort and support. Unfortunately, many summer shoes are totally flat, so they don’t provide any support for your feet or a comfy platform on which to walk.

Podiatrists say you don’t have to totally give up cute yet unsupportive shoes, but you should limit the amount of time you spend in them — generally, no more than 2 to 3 hours. You should consider the kind of activity you’re doing, too; if you’re going for a long walk, you’ll want to wear sneakers.

And you should be cognizant of the fact that some popular summer shoes can actually lead to foot problems. Which ones? Here’s what podiatrists say:

Jelly Shoes

Dr. Lesly Robinson, the interim associate dean of academic affairs at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia, said her number-one shoe offenders in summer are jelly shoes. Jellies are becoming increasingly popular among not only little kids but adults too, with styles such as heels and sandals.

“Jelly shoes are made of a PVC plastic,” Robinson said. “It’s not a breathable material, so you’ll tend to sweat more in these jelly type of shoes.”

This can make jelly shoes slippery and cause people to fall, she noted.

“Sometimes these jelly shoes … become very hot, so you can have chafing, blisters and the plastic environment of a jelly shoe can lead to foot fungus,” said Robinson.

Jelly shoes aren’t the only popular plastic shoes — Crocs seem to be more and more prevalent every year. Robinson said these can also make your feet sweat because of the material.

Dr. Chandler Hubbard, the clinical director at Western University of Health Sciences’ Foot and Ankle Center in California, said Crocs can be a good shoe to wear in some places, like the house or the garden, but not everywhere.

“I have nothing against [Crocs]; they’re just not the most supportive thing,” said Hubbard. “They’re more like a house shoe to me.”

Flip-Flips That Can Bend And Twist

Plastic flip-flops can be a problem too, with Robinson saying “thin flip-flops that bend and twist” are perhaps best kept to the pool, the beach or hotels.

“If you choose a flip-flop that bends too much and has no arch support, they’re not recommended for casual everyday wear,” Robinson said, since they lack proper support.

These kinds of shoes can cause stress fractures or make you slip and fall, she noted. And flip-flops sometimes “get cracked and frayed, so no matter how much you love them, they can also cause different abrasions on your feet and chafing,” Robinson said.

Meanwhile, the thongs that go between your toes can lead to irritation and blisters, she said.

Robinson noted, however, that you could consider a flip-flop with arch support. Brands like Clarks and FitFlop typically provide more support and stability than plastic, bendy flip-flops that cost only a couple of bucks.

Still, flip-flops with arch support aren’t for everyday use, either.

“I wouldn’t recommend them for longer walks — just for a casual activity,” stated Robinson. “If you’re doing a longer walk or any type of any type of standing or walking greater than … two to three hours, I don’t recommend flip-flops at all.”

Constantini Michele via Getty Images

Jelly shoes can lead to foot fungus or cause slip-and-fall accidents.

Gladiator Sandals

Gladiator sandals are popular summer shoes that wrap around your ankle, but Robinson said they aren’t a proper fit for everyone.

“If you’re prone to ankle swelling, those sandals aren’t good for you,” she stated.

Many folks will slip on a pair of gladiator sandals before evening drinks or dinner plans, but that isn’t ideal, either.

“At the end of the day, that’s when your feet are swollen the most — after gravity, after you walk — that’s when your feet and your ankles are the largest,” Robinson said.

The straps on gladiator sandals can indent your skin and cause abrasions, she added.

For anyone shopping for sandals, Hubbard recommended Birkenstock shoes, which have good arch support, and Vionic sandals.

For people with ankle swelling, gladiator sandals can be painful.

Edward Berthelot via Getty Images

For people with ankle swelling, gladiator sandals can be painful.

Any Shoes That Leave Your Heel Exposed

“When you have something when the heel’s out in the back, it’s harder for your foot to grip during walking,” said Robinson, noting that this leads to “repetitive stress of gripping because the shoe lacks structure.”

“You can get an Achilles tendinopathy, which is [pain] in the back of your heel,” Robinson explained. “You can get an ankle sprain because you’re trying to grip and the shoe’s lack of structure makes it more difficult.”

What’s more, flat slip-on shoes don’t have much shock absorption, which can lead to pain at the ball of your foot, she said.

Going Barefoot Is Also Problematic

Summertime may include a quick walk to the mailbox without shoes or a barefoot run on the beach, but Hubbard said walking around like this can lead to a range of foot injuries.

“My biggest thing, especially for the summer, is to tell people not to walk barefoot,” she said. “We don’t want people to step on anything, and we do want to have that support.”

Walking barefoot commonly leads to burns on hot asphalt and other injuries around broken glass, said Hubbard.

“I pick a lot of glass out of people’s feet, unfortunately,” she said.

When Buying Shoes, There Are A Few Important Things To Keep In Mind

“We want something that’s more stiff,” Hubbard said in terms of ideal footwear. “I know soft is usually what people are trying to look for because they want to be comfortable, but a stiffer shoe actually gives more support.”

Stiffer shoes with a rigid arch can help you stay comfortable when running, walking, hiking or just doing errands, Hubbard noted.

“I usually recommend people change their shoes or replace them after about 500 to 1,000 miles of wear,” she said. “That’s kind of hard for people to estimate if they’re not runners and they’re logging everything, but about every six months is reasonable to switch out a pair of sneakers.”

After half a year, the support in sneakers starts to wear down, Hubbard said. (She recommended sneakers from brands like Hoka, ASICS and New Balance.)

When it comes to buying new shoes, Robinson said you should shop later in the day or after exercise, to “make sure your feet feel comfortable when your feet are the largest.”

If you still want to purchase certain shoes even though they might cause foot pain or other issues, that’s OK, too.

“I never tell somebody that they can’t wear a shoe,” Hubbard said. “I tell them wear whatever you want … be comfortable, be cute. Just know that if you’re wearing something that isn’t supportive, that doesn’t have that arch or isn’t stiff, or isn’t meeting the recommendation, you will possibly have some pain.”

For people who don’t have chronic pain or other long-term issues, it’s fine to wear these kinds of shoes — but make sure you don’t do so for long periods of time, or if you plan on running or walking a lot, Robinson said.

“No matter what type of foot you have, or no matter what type of comorbidity or health problem you have, it’s really important to check your feet every day — all sides, the bottoms, in between your toes, just to make sure that you’re not seeing anything that’s new or abnormal,” Hubbard said.

If you notice something concerning, make an appointment to see a podiatrist. “We take for granted being able to walk, and one little thing can change that,” Hubbard said.

Want to see some comfortable, reviewer-beloved sandals? Check out this list:

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

A pair of cushioned Reef two-strap sandals

Promising review: “Have plantar fasciitis and these are the only sandals I can wear all day, every day. I’m on my feet anywhere between 8–13 hours a day. These are fabulous.” —Stacey

A pair of timeless Adidas slides

Promising review: “I bought these because I like to wear them when I’m at home lounging around. These sandals are comfortable and I can wear them for hours without my wide feet hurting.” —RoseO

An iconic Teva sandal

Plus, the rubber soles will come in handy on slippery surfaces!

Promising review: “This is my second pair of Tevas and I am very pleased with the quality and comfort. I got the Pearl metallic color in a size 8, my usual size, for an amazing price. It goes with pretty much anything and gives me ample arch support. You simply cannot ask for more in a pair of sandals meant for being active and out and about, but is still dainty and adorable enough to be worn with a dress. Can’t beat that.” —Reem

Another promising review: “Comfiest shoes on the planet. I bought them for my trip to Thailand, which included a heavy amount of walking and hiking. I now wear them all the time, even for non-adventurous activities. They are so darn comfortable, and have great grip.” —Caroline V.

The classic Birkenstock Arizona sandals

Promising review: “Great fit and good looking sandals. 👌” —Glenn M.

Another promising review: “I love the Arizona style. They are easy to adjust and easy to slip on and off. I suffered from a heel spur and I was able to walk without pain when I changed over to the Arizona sandals. I took several pairs of shoes on vacation and never once did I switch over to a different pair. I can walk for long periods of time with comfort. They are my first choice of shoes.” —Glenn B.

A Keen sandal

Promising review: “I love my new Keen Rose sandals. I was looking for a lightweight, comfortable, and stylish sandal for my trip to Spain in the fall, and they fit the bill. They’re perfect to wear with jeans, shorts, tights, skirts and casual dresses. They are very comfortable with a little extra room in case my feet swell after a long day of walking. The beautiful rosewood color was exactly what I expected. I also own Keen hiking boots and sandals and I love the fit, quality and durability of Keen footwear. My sister tried mine on when they arrived and immediately ordered a pair for herself.” —Shirley G.

Dr. Marten gladiator sandals

Promising review: “I ordered the black pair in my usual size — size 9, and they fit great! I put the strings through the back tab which gives the sandals even more stability. I didn’t find that these run big, especially since I laced them the way I did. They are so cute!!! I want the white pair too!! 🖤🖤🖤” —Toni

A cushy pair of slide-on slippers

FYI: many reviewers suggest sizing down!

Promising review: “Love these shoes! I wear these all summer, with shorts, dresses, everything!!! They’re super comfortable and durable. I can walk for hours in these. I have them in five different colors.” —mimi13

Another promising review:These slides are — and I mean this in the best way — marshmallows that mold to your individual feet. They are SOOOO comfortable. I’ve been working from home since the start of the pandemic, and I ordered them to wear in my house after I read that walking around barefoot long-term isn’t great for your feet. I wanted something with a little support but that would be comfortable. The reviews for these looked good so I ordered a pair, and now I never want to take them off. The material in every part is molded and squishy so there are no unexpected parts that dig into your skin or chafe. But they’re structured enough to provide some support for your arches. 10/10 highly recommend!” —Carrie B

Aerothotic flip-flops

These have the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance, which is granted to products found to promote good foot health!

Promising review: “I purchased these last summer because they were recommended for plantar fasciitis sufferers and I have not been disappointed! These are casual and perfect for everyday wear and I can wear them for hours and hours of walking without any discomfort. I really am happy with these flip-flops!” —INcatlady

Or Vionic orthotic sandals

These also have the APMA Seal of Acceptance!

Promising review: “Best sandals I’ve ever purchased. Super comfortable, even when walking in them for many hours. Dressier than most flip-flops. Most shoes that are comfortable are really unattractive, but not these. Expensive, but worth it!” —cjkotro

A surprisingly lightweight Sorel Kinetic Sandal

Promising reviews: “The fit is perfect. Love everything about these. They are super soft and comfortable — I walked for hours the first time wearing them — and have the perfect amount of lift. I may get a second pair.” —Jody

Another promising review: “You need these!!! The most comfortable walking sandals. I took them on my trip to Greece and also wear them all the time here in LA. I get so many compliments.” —PopQueen

A pair of these trendy two-strap sandals

Promising review: Super supportive. Most comfortable sandals I own. I had these in a tan color and loved them so much I bought the black ones. They have nice arch support and are pretty secure for a slide sandal. I walked for hours on a Saturday in these and my feet felt great. My back also felt good — not like after wearing the regular flat flip-flops. I will probably get another color. They run very true to size. You can tighten or loosen both straps for a more snug or loose fit as needed.” —Lisa Lazaro

The cutest Skechers cork wedges

Promising review: “This has to be the most comfortable wedge I’ve ever owned. I walked up and down the Atlantic City boardwalk for hours. Not a hint of uncomfort. Mind you, I have a neuroma issue. Felt like I was walking around in sneakers. Definitely recommend.” —Natasha C.

Faux leather strappy sandals

Promising review: “These are so comfortable. Easy to put on. Looks great! So cute. No blisters the first time you wear them. They adjust to any foot fatness level. You know what I mean if you have thick feet and not wide feet. I do think these would be great if you are flat footed and/or fat footed. I have high arches, medium wide feet. Hope this helps! The cushioning on the bottom is plenty unless you are trying to run a marathon. 😎” —adam c haun

Or some fisherman-inspired sandals with cushy faux-cork midsoles

Promising review: “I bought these for a trip that required excessive walking. They were amazing. I only intended to wear them one or two days but ended up wearing them all five days. We walked about 12 hours a day sightseeing and I never had any issues. Love these!!!” —Thorpe5

Espadrille flatforms

Promising review: “Don’t hesitate any further, just buy them! I am super picky about shoes, especially sandals, and these are so comfortable. I wore them for hours walking around downtown and no blisters, no discomfort, nothing. They look amazing, too!” —Summer

Elastic strap sandals

Promising review: “These shoes are perfect, true to size, cute, and stretchy. I was hesitant to buy shoes online, but these sandals are such a good buy for the price. Wore them all day at the zoo (walked like four hours) and no issues. Highly recommend.” —Rosemary Ingar

A pair of sporty hiking sandals

Promising review: “I wasn’t sure about the straps being enough to keep the shoes on my feet, but they were so comfortable and stayed in place without cutting into my feet as the day went on. I was able to walk around the zoo for seven hours with these sandals on and my feet were perfectly fine at the end of the day. The arch support is much nicer than your average sandal.” —Erin

Absolutely stunning Margaux City Sandals

Promising review: “Best heels ever! After reading all the hype, I bought two pairs. They are so incredibly comfortable, you feel like you are walking on cushy, flat shoes!!I even walked and sometimes ran in them in airports while traveling across the globe for 20 hours straight and my feet weren’t a bit tired or achy. They fit like a glove and look slick and sexy. The cross straps at the toes make my feet look so delicate. They are by far my favorite shoes. Can’t wait for Christmas, since my husband will be gifting me my third pair!!” —Tania W.

Another promising review: “As usual, Margaux does not disappoint. My first pair of City Sandals and they fit perfectly — and were comfortable all evening at a wedding. An ankle injury/surgery a couple of years ago have discouraged me from wearing heels much anymore, but these City Sandal heels are no problem.” —Gail F.

Crocs flip-flops

Promising review: “I walked around Epcot for 12 hours in these flip-flops. Not a single sore. So comfortable! Highly recommended.” —tina roya

Another promising review: “These are AMAZING. The only flip-flops I’ve ever owned that I can literally walk all day in comfortably!Took them on an eight-day beach vacation and averaged 5.5 miles per day walking! They stick to your feet firmly — very little ‘flopping’ lol. I also have a wide foot and have issues finding flip-flops and sandals that my feet won’t spill over the sides of. Amazing shoe. And for a Crocs product, not bad-looking!” —S Doeringsfeld

Surprisingly cute Skechers sport sandals

Psst: They’re machine-washable.

Promising review: “Love, love, love! I have a VERY difficult time finding sandals that fit my narrow foot. These are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever owned. I can tighten them to fit my feet and walk for hours. My first pair went to Italy and Greece with me and it’s the only shoe I wore the entire three-week trip. I have started to buy in other colors and currently own three pairs.” —Robin A. Laehn

Skechers rhinestone slingbacks

Promising reviews: “Love these! Very pretty and sooooo comfy! I can wear these while walking for hours and be fashionable at the same time!” —Dee

Macarena Collection / Etsy

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Macarena Collection / Etsy

Vibrant huarache platforms

Macarena Collection is a small biz based in Buena Park, California, and specializes in colorful Mexican shoe and clothing design.

Promising review: “These are just as cute if not more in person!! I love the colors and they’re super comfortable. Full disclosure, I got super drunk the first night I wore these and was fine walking for hours. I would totally recommend these!” —Christine Soegaard

Braided Plaka sandals

FYI, these are best suited for narrow to medium-sized feet.

Promising review: “I have three pairs of these now! They feel great. The straps are comfy. When I bought my first pair I worried the straps would make it difficult to get the shoes on and that they might be uncomfortable/cause chafing. I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they really are though!!! I alternate the colors and wear them nearly daily now — perfect summer shoes. We went on a beach vacation… We walked for hours at a time and I never once got a blister or felt any discomfort. I didn’t have any issues with my feet sliding around uncomfortably when wet — whether from sweat or when it rained. They were great for walking on the beach, too!! These are seriously the best summer shoe!” —Stark

A pair of braided chunky heels

Promising review: “Worth every penny! I got these for my week-long trip to Puerto Rico and they were amazingly comfortable! I walked hours in them and had no issues. The color is beautiful and the heel is just the perfect height.” —Oscar Chavez

Another promising review: “Reaching for these sandals more and more because they’re comfy, cute, and elevate my outfits! They didn’t require any breaking in and I’ve worn them for an entire day out and had no issues with long-term wear. Fit was true to size. Going to get another color since I love them so much!” —Nidhi Patel

A pair of ’90s-inspired chunky wedge sandals

Promising review: “I had several pairs in my cart to choose from and I chose wisely by purchasing these shoes! They are incredibly comfortable, they look amazing on my feet! I am older and struggle to be comfortable in heels; these are like a dream. I have a wide foot and I normally wear an 8.5 or 9 WIDE. I ordered a 9 in these and they fit perfectly. The top is stretchy and does not rub my feet in any way. I’m a very happy customer!” —Lisa Rasmussen

A vegan suede sandal

Promising review: “These are comfortable and cute. I wore them to a wedding and I didn’t even take off my shoes to go dance. I thought for sure I would be taking them off while dancing but I didn’t. I also had blisters on my heels from a few days before from another pair of shoes and these didn’t rub against the blisters. I love these and I’m tempted to get a pair in another color.” —Kate McGee

Laboo Leather / Etsy

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Laboo Leather / Etsy

And last but not least, flexible leather sandals

Laboo Leather is a family-owned small biz based in Budapest, Hungary, making handmade leather sandals and wallets.

Promising review: “I adore my sandals! They are beautiful and the craftsmanship is amazing. Best of all, they are so soft and comfy I can walk in them for hours. They’re also lightweight, so perfect for vacation packing.” —alisa388



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