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Beyond The Flip-Flop – Stylish Sandals That Are Actually Good For Your Feet

Beyond The Flip-Flop – Stylish Sandals That Are Actually Good For Your Feet

Every year around spring break, I pick up a new pair of cheap flip-flops in anticipation of warmer temperatures. By the time the pool opens or the trip to the beach arrives, however, one of the straps has already broken or my plantar fasciitis has flared up. If the sandals do survive that long, most of the cushioning is worn out and I might as well be walking on concrete. Fortunately, when it comes to sandals, there is a better way. After visiting with the staff at Comfort Plus Shoes & Footcare in Leawood, I learned about half a dozen different companies that make high-quality sandals designed to provide tons of comfort and ample support, as well as style. These sandals give me the barefoot freedom I crave while also providing proper arch support.

The staff at Comfort Plus believes in the science behind the “exercise sandal.” Exercise sandals usually contain a raised toe crest and contoured sole to promote healthy feet. Sandal styles worn without a back-strap encourage the wearer to use their toes to naturally grip and flex while walking. Toe-gripping facilitates muscle growth and can be especially beneficial to anyone who might have been wearing tight, constrictive shoes during the workday or through the colder months.

Many of these sandals feature a cork footbed, allowing the shoe to naturally take the shape of the wearer’s feet over time. The shoe professionals at Comfort Plus will use their inhouse technology as well, including a pedigraph reading and footbed customization, to make sure you get the right fit every time.

One popular brand is the Finnamic series by Finn Comfort, which are made in Germany. Finnamic sandals have a cork sole and often feature a backstrap, which can be better for tourists or anyone
planning to do an extended amount of walking. The women’s Finnamic Sausalito, for example, features a soft cork footbed that promotes good posture and proper foot function while cradling and guiding the feet from heel to toe.

Mephisto, a brand of shoes made in France, also have a cork footbed that is heatmoldable to allow for greater adaptation to the wearer’s feet. Mephisto sandals feature a soft-air midsole that minimizes shock to the feet, creating greater protection, relief for joints and promoting better back health. These sandals come in many different designs and also include a midsole designed to enhance air circulation in the feet.

Wolky is a popular brand of sporty, funky shoes made in Holland. Wolky sandals come in a range of styles, from fashionable sandals with an elevated heel to those designed for walking. Most of them feature a back-strap and robust, contoured soles built for an active lifestyle.

One of the most iconic sandal styles is the Arizona from Birkenstock. The Arizona features a classic two-strap look with no back-strap. The natural cork, heel cupping, and arch support make them a favorite for many. Birkenstocks are unique in that they have a flatter footbed and zero heel elevation, giving them a different feel than typical exercise sandals.

FitFlop sandals combine the best of both worlds — the streamlined style, openness and lightness of a flip-flop with all the support, comfort and shape of fitness-promoting footwear. FitFlops have a wedge shape and feature a comfortable heel and an enhanced arch that reduces overpronation. FitFlop has made use of the latest technology to create pressure-reducing soles that have three
times the density of other sandals, resulting in increased foot-to-midsole contact and a cushioned heel strike.

Last but not least, Naot sandals are a stylish, comfortable sandal made with natural cork and latex footbeds covered with suede, and Italian leather for the top sections. Naot has an interesting history, too, originating as a one-room workshop in 1942 and growing to become Israel’s top shoe manufacturer.

So when it comes to shopping for sandals this year, I recommend forgoing the cheap flip-flops and checking out one of these brands instead. Chances are, once you walk a mile in a pair of these sandals – whether it’s along the beach on spring break or just through your living room – you’ll never look back. If any of these products sound like they might be beneficial to you, stop by Comfort Plus Shoes & Footcare to speak with one of their licensed foot professionals or call us at (913) 451-4494 to learn more.

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