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Fitness & Exercise

The FitFlop Craze: Fashion or Fitness?

Experts give their take on the FitFlop -- a shoe that aims for muscle toning and comfort.
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FitFlops: What the Experts Say

While FitFlops certainly have their fans, not everyone is sold on their perks.

"The intentions are good, but these shoes are not all they are cracked up to be," says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise in San Diego.

"It has a nice thick shock-absorbing heel that tends to prevent overpronating, which in theory is a good thing," he says. In people who overpronate, the foot continues to roll in when it should be pushing off, twisting the foot, shin, and knee -- and causing pain.

But, he says, "I would rather take someone who is overpronating and train or teach them how to position their foot or recommend orthotics," he says. "FitFlops are a temporary solution. What happens when you take them off?"

Comana's bottom line? "FitFlops are a comfortable shoe to stand or walk in, so go ahead and use them," he says. "If you feel that when you stand in the shoe, the glutes and calf muscles are firing more, wear the shoe but don't overuse them."

Cary M. Golub, DPM, a podiatrist in private practice in Long Beach, N.Y., thinks FitFlop shoes have their proper place in certain people's shoe collections. But "they are not meant for everybody, especially the person with flat feet," says Golub. "For these people, it's like sticking a rock in the arch, which pushes the arch up, creating calf pain," he says, adding that he has seen several patients reporting such complaints.

For people who can wear FitFlops, "I recommend breaking them in by wearing them for an hour a day and increasing it by an hour each day," he says.

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Reviewed on August 13, 2008

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