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Sandals that Cause Different Types of Pain

Are your sandals causing you pain? If you've ever experienced discomfort or foot-related issues while wearing sandals, you're not alone. They are a popular and convenient choice of footwear, but at what cost?

Most sandals lack the proper support and comfort that your feet need. In many cases, your favorite pair of sandals may actually be the cause of that foot and lower leg pain you’ve been experiencing lately. We’re going to explore the common types of foot and lower body pains that can be caused by wearing the wrong sandals. From plantar fasciitis to bunions, Morton's neuroma to corns and calluses, we'll delve into each condition and how it can be aggravated by unsuitable sandals.

We'll also highlight seven specific types of sandals that are notorious for causing foot pain. From flat flip-flops to thin-soled sandals, thong sandals to slide sandals, we'll uncover the reasons why these styles are bad for your feet.

Common Types of Foot & Lower Pains Caused by Sandals

Wearing the wrong type of sandals can cause various foot and lower body pains. Understanding these common types of pain will help you identify the underlying issues caused by unsuitable sandals and flip-flops.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a common condition characterized by inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes. Wearing sandals with inadequate arch support and cushioning strains the plantar fascia, triggering the condition. Affected individuals tend to experience sharp heel pain, particularly first thing in the morning or after long periods of standing or sitting.


Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe as a direct result of inward pressure towards the second toe. They can be exacerbated by wearing sandals with narrow or tight toe boxes, which put pressure on the joint and cause pain, swelling, and deformity.

Morton's Neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a painful condition that affects the nerves between the toes, often the third and fourth toes. Wearing sandals with tight toe boxes or high heels can compress the nerves and lead to sharp, shooting pain, tingling, or numbness in the affected area.

Corns & Calluses

Corns and calluses are thickened areas of skin that form over time because of friction or pressure. Ill-fitting sandals or those with rough or uneven surfaces can cause these painful skin conditions, particularly on the toes or soles of the feet.

Back & Leg Pain

Sandals are meant to support your entire body, not just your feet. Sandals that lack proper arch support, cushioning, or shock absorption can affect your gait (the way you walk) and lead to spine and joint misalignment. Though not immediately, your sandals may leave you in quite a bit of lower back, knee, and hip pain.

Knee Pain

Wearing sandals without any heel cushioning transfers the stress of walking directly to your knees, leading to pain and discomfort. Similarly, most sandas, especially cheap ones, lack any amount of arch support. If you walk a few miles, you’ll notice that your knees begin to compensate for this.

Now that you’re aware of just how much damage sandals can do, let’s take a look at which styles to avoid.

7 Types of Sandals that Will Hurt Your Feet

When it comes to sandals, not all styles are created equal in terms of optimal foot support and comfort. Here are seven specific types of sandals that you should be cautious of:

1. Flat Flip-Flops

Flat flip-flops are a quick, easy footwear choice for beach outings, but they rarely offer enough arch support or cushioning. The lack of proper support can strain the plantar fascia and lead to heel pain, as well as contribute to issues like overpronation and arch collapse.

2. Thin-Soled Sandals

Most cheap sandals are made of flimsy materials that offer little protection from uneven surfaces or sharp objects on the ground. This can lead to discomfort, foot fatigue, and an increased risk of injuries such as bruising, punctures, or cuts if you’re not careful.

3. Thong Sandals

Thong sandals, which are flip-flops with a single strap between the toes, can cause problems due to the constant gripping action required to keep them on. This can lead to toe deformities, such as hammertoes, and strain the muscles and tendons in the feet.

4. Slide Sandals

Slide sandals, characterized by a single strap across the top of the foot, aren’t typically adjustable. If the shoe (or in this case, sandal) doesn’t fit, the top of your feet will rub against the strap, causing blisters and discomfort. Additionally, the lack of stability as your foot attempts to stay on the footbed can lead to ankle injuries and foot fatigue.

5. Flat Gladiator Sandals

While fashionable, flat gladiator sandals typically offer minimal arch support and cushioning. The straps that crisscross the foot can also create pressure points and cause irritation or rubbing, leading to blisters and discomfort.

6. Soleless or Minimalist Sandals

Soleless or minimalist sandals, which have thin or no soles, provide little to no cushioning or shock absorption. This can lead to increased impact on the feet and joints, resulting in foot fatigue, pain, and potential injuries.

7. Sandals with Poor Strapping

Sandals with poor strapping, such as those with thin or uncomfortable straps, can cause friction, rubbing, and irritation on the skin. This can lead to blisters, calluses, and discomfort, making them unsuitable for extended wear.

It's important to note that while these types of sandals can contribute to foot pain, not all sandals within these categories will have the same negative impact. Some brands and designs may offer better support and cushioning than others. It's crucial to prioritize finding sandals that provide adequate arch support, cushioning, and a proper fit to minimize the risk of discomfort and foot-related issues.

By being aware of the potential pitfalls of these types of sandals, you can make more informed choices when it comes to selecting footwear that promotes both style and foot health. Your feet will thank you for it!