Can you get arch support from flip-flops?
Posted: Mar 27, 2021
Flat feet are a common problem and are often not necessarily an issue. It can increase the risk for other problems developing and may become symptomatic on its own. For this reason, flat feet is often treated to help these problems and in some cases to prevent problems from helping. The most common treatment for flat feet are foot orthotics or supports. These can be either of the mass-produced prefabricated type that is chosen to match the shape and needs of the foot or they are of the custom-made variety that is manufactured from a model of the foot and is precise for the needs of that person. The research shows that the outcome between the custom made and pre-made type of foot orthotics is generally about the same. However, in practice, what is best for each individual will vary. Often the use of foot orthotics may be combined with the use of exercises.
There are alternatives and many ask if the arch support that is built in flip flops, like the Archies brand from Australia can be used as an alternative to foot orthotics. In Australia, they call flip flop, thongs. The Archies brand have an arch that is built into them that is approximately the same height and shape of the commercially available arch supports that you can buy over the counter in stores. Given that they are so similar, then they probably could be used interchangeably. Minor cases of flat foot are usually managed with the over the counter arch supports, so they probably could be managed with flip-flops like the Archies instead.
The problem that may arise is if the flat foot is particularly serious and more substantial support is needed to manage it, particularly if it is painful. In these cases the over the counter arch supports or the Archies will not be sufficient and a custom made foot orthoses may be needed. You really need to talk to your health professional about the options in these cases. Having said that, they are still useful as a lifestyle choice when you do need foot orthotics. Because of footwear choices are important when you do need to use foot supports or foot orthotics, your choice as to the range of footwear can be limited. Using the flip flops like the Archies with the arch support, especially in the warmer climates when you do not want to wear shoes can be a good option. Alternately between using the foot orthotics in supporting shoes and the Archies can make practical sense and be useful. As always, check in with your treating health professional as to the best options here before doing too much activity in one or the other.
At our clinic in Melbourne, Australia we are probably one of the largest stockist of Archies in the country. They are selling very well. Pretty much everyone that tries on a pair in the clinic, butythem. On my Podiatry Soapbox blog, I have even produced a video on how I modify the Archies to give them even more support in those who need it.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.