As a foot and ankle surgeon, there is not a day in the office when someone does not discuss shoes. Proper protection and comfort are critical for our feet, as they are continuously subjected to high stress and injury with normal daily use. Shoe-wear issues are a constant balancing act between the need of protection and comfort versus style and social expression.
Women, particularly, can struggle with the shoe dilemma. While heeled, fashionable pumps, can seem to be a good fashion choice, the consequences of prolonged wear could make them less desirable. The constant use of heeled and pointed pumps will ultimately contribute heavily toward heel cord contracture, insertional spurs on the back of the heel, toe deformities including bunion and hammer toes; as well as forefoot nerve compression syndromes. Moreover, they can be unstable and subject the wearer to greater risk of ankle sprains and tendon injuries.
Flip-flops on the other hand are comfortable, but non-supportive. They leave the foot largely unprotected against injury. Walking barefoot carries the non-supportive risk to its ultimate, and is particularly dangerous in the diabetic patients with nerve sensibility issues.
Moderation is the key to life, and footwear is no exception. Fashionable, heeled pumps and casual un-supportive flip flops are all appropriate and good in the right setting, but are not to be worn most of the time.
Remember, whatever the shoe you choose, first and foremost it must fit. Uncomfortable shoes by definition do not fit, and will reliably lead to structural and painful problems with the feet.