Fit Flops Sneak Into Winter

November 30, 2010 by  
Filed under featured, Fitness & Sport, Health

You may have noticed, as I did over the summer, an increasing number of women striding out in flip flops – except they weren’t. Unlike conventional flips there is a new development called a Fit Flop which has been biomechanically engineered to help tone and tighten your leg muscles while you walk.
Also, more importantly to me, they absorb more shock than a normal shoe so you feel less ache in your hips and knees, help realign ground force reaction closer to your joints and reduce foot pressure.

Studies at the Centre for Human Performance at London South Bank University showed that normal walking in FitFlop sandal can help with all those which is presumably why they were such a big hit over the summer, but striding out in bare feet in winter just doesn’t do it.

With this in mind the company has developed a range of boots and a sneaker called the FF Supertone™ described as a muscle-toning, energizing and shock-absorbing. This apparently took a year in engineering to develop with something they rather endearingly call Microwobbleboard™ technology so you get all the benefits of the FitFlop with the all-weather wearability of a classically-shaped leather sneaker.
It looks smart enough that no one knows you are getting a workout, but the idea of incorporating the word wobble into something to tone you up doesn’t strike me as immediately reassuring but presumably they know what they are doing.

Given the approval of by the American Podiatric Medical Association, the Microwobbleboard™ technology was independently tested at Salford University in Manchester and now you can stride out in all weathers and get the full benefit.

If you can’t find FitFlops near you, then visit their website at

Flip Flops and Osteoarthritis

March 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


If you suffer from osteoarthritis in your knees then there may be no need to spend a lot of money on expensive specialist shoes. A study by Rush University Medical Center has found that flip-flops and sneakers with flexible soles are easier on the knees than clogs or even special walking shoes.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a significant source of disability and impaired quality of life. A higher-than-normal load on the knees during walking is a hallmark of the disease, associated with both the severity of osteoarthritis and its progression.

Dr. Najia Shakoor, a rheumatologist at Rush and the primary author of the study, said “Traditionally, footwear has been engineered to provide maximum support and comfort for the foot, with little attention paid to the biomechanical effects on the rest of the leg but the shoes we wear have a substantial impact on the load on the knee joints, particularly when we walk.” They analyzed the gait of patients with symptoms of osteoarthritis while they walked barefoot and with four popular shoe types: Dansko clogs, which are often worn by those who have to be on their feet much of the day; stability shoes; Puma sneakers; and flip-flops.

The loads on the knee joints differed significantly depending on the footwear. For the clogs and stability shoes, the loads on the knee joints were up to 15 percent greater than with the flat walking shoes, flip-flops or barefoot walking. Knee loading was roughly the same whether the subject wore flips-flops or walked barefoot.

Several aspects of footwear affect the joint loading: heel height and stiffness of the sole being the most important. Earlier studies have shown that barefoot walking is associated with lower knee loads than walking with conventional footwear. Flip-flops and sneakers are flat, flexible and lightweight and seem to mimic the mechanics of walking with bare feet.

Clogs and stability shoes that are usually suggested to provide appropriate cushioning and support were shown to actually increase the loading on the knee joints, as opposed to shoes with less ‘support,’ flatter heels and more flexibility. But, bear in mind that flip flops could contribute to falls because of their loose-fitting design so maybe seek out some fancy sneakers instead.