Temperatures are rising, and a familiar salty scent in the air reminds us that it’s time to take a break and relax at the shore. If your local beaches have reopened you may be ready for a change of scenery, provided you can enjoy the sand and surf at a safe distance from other visitors. Beach activities are good for the joints, too, in that movement keeps them lubricated and mobile.
What’s the best way to walk along the beach? While you’re packing your sunscreen and favorite towels, keep in mind proper footwear to support your feet and ankles as you navigate the sandy terrain.
Flip-flops or Sandals?
When you visit the beach, you want as few hassles as possible. Footwear is definitely an issue, especially when the sand feels as hot as the blazing sun! It’s understandable that you want to slip on a pair of thongs – or flip-flops – because you won’t mind if they get wet or dirty.
While they offer some cushion against hot sand, flip-flops aren’t the best choice for any surface. According to research at Auburn University, flip-flops provide little to no support for wearers with joint pain in the feet, ankles, or knees. Also, it can be difficult to take long strides in them, and they often fall off feet due to their design. Flip-flops may work if you plan to walk to your spot in the sand and sit, but you’ll need something else for a more active day out.
Beach sandals may be an ideal alternative. As you shop for a new pair, be mindful of your needs: arch support, straps that fasten well, and overall comfort. Sandals made with orthopaedic care in mind will vary in price; you may wish to consult with your doctor or physical therapist on finding the right style.
Why Not Go Barefoot?
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with kicking off your shoes once you find your spot on the beach. Whether or not you choose to stay barefoot will depend on your comfort. You may find it’s easier on the feet where the water meets the sand – walking is typically less awkward where the sand is better packed. Watch out for shells and other flotsam that could cause injury.
Also, however you outfit your feet for the beach, don’t forget to apply sunscreen so they won’t get burned.