Are Crocs good or bad for your feet?
It seems as though everyone has a different but equally as strong opinion on the trendy shoes called Crocs: either you love them and own more than a few pairs, or you hate them.
But what does a foot doctor think? Are there benefits to wearing crocs? Or are the haters right? Are Crocs bad for your feet?
Crocs are lightweight, breathable, and offer plenty of room, which makes them good for gyms and public showers, post-pedicure, running outside for a minute, and more. That said, Crocs lack arch support, so exercising, walking for an extended period of time, or working in them is not recommended by foot specialists. The plastic construction may also lead to sweaty, stinky feet and even blisters.
Do you have a pair of Crocs or are you thinking about investing in them? In today's article, you'll learn everything you need to know about Crocs.
What Is So Special About Crocs?
The major appeal of Crocs comes from their ability to be customized according to the wearer's interests, hobbies, favorite characters, and more. Jibbitz are the company's trademarked shoe charms designed to fit perfectly into the holes built into the shoe. With everything from Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter, Marvel Comics, and Pokemon to seasonal charms and even a Margaritaville-themed set of Jibbitz, you can customize your Crocs to look however you want.
Aesthetics aside, there are a lot of reasons why people swear by their Crocs. Gym-goers like Crocs because they are easy to slip on and off before and after their workout so they can keep their gym shoes clean. Crocs are great for those who use public showers, swimming pools, and other places where fungus and bacteria can grow and make it unsafe to be barefoot (more on that later). Those with mobility issues, disabled folks, and elderly people can benefit from the independance these slip-on, slip-off, no-laces shoes offer.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Crocs?
Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase a pair of Crocs:
- Easy to slip on and off
- Lightweight and breathable design keep your feet cool
- Can be worn with or without socks
- Customizable with Jibbitz charms
- Designed to be easy-to-clean
- Relatively affordable
- Little to no support for the arch
- Inadequate heel support that can cause issues with the metatarsals
- Not safe for those with diabetes or neuropathy
- Only recommended for walking short distances
Do Podiatrists Recommend Crocs?
While opinions of different foot specialists are varied, I have mixed feelings. Just like the pros and cons list above states, I like that they can give those with limited independence the ability to put their shoes on by themselves. I'm also partial to the customizable design. Making your footwear fun isn't the norm with other shoe brands, so I appreciate that Crocs focuses on the fun.
The plastic material used to manufacture Crocs is designed to be easy-to-clean, and the holes where the Jibbitz click in allow air to circulate. By keeping the feet dry and aired-out, those who suffer from fungal toenails or athelte's foot may prefer to wear Crocs over other closed-toed shoes. If you frequent pools, gyms, or public showers, Crocs are a great way to protect your feet from fungal infections, bacteria, punctures, splinters, and plantar warts. To take care of your feet at the beach, I recommend wearing water shoes, and Crocs can certainly be used for that purpose. The company offers a line of Crocs water shoes, but the original style would work just fine, too.
Why Don't Podiatrists Recommend Crocs?
First, the shoes may feel cushiony, but they lack overall arch-support. Crocs don't rank very highly on the list of the best shoes to wear with custom orthotics, and even over-the-counter inserts wouldn't fit securly enough to have any of the desired benefits. Additionally, the "sport-mode" strap that can be flipped down across the back of the heel is not adequate. It doesn't support the heel the way a normal shoe would. This causes people to feel like they have to grip they inside of the shoe with their toes as they walk. Doing this can lead to everything from mild pain to full-blown metatarsalgia, bunions, and other foot deformities. Mel Magazine put out an article testing the limits of the informally-titled "sport mode," and the conclusion about running in Crocs can be summed up as: "you could, but why would you want to?"
My advice? Wear the Crocs within reason. Don't wear them for exercise or extended periods of walking. Do wear them to the pool, beach, gym, or just to run outside and get the mail. And definitely decorate them to your heart's desire with all the Jibbitz you can get your hands on.
Your Crocs Probably Aren't Causing Your Heel Pain
There are countless external and internal factors that could be causing your heel pain. If you think you've tried everything and surgery is your only option, look no further. Freeland Foot and Ankle Clinic specializes in non-invasive, non-surgical treatment for heel pain, and we are centrally located in Mid-Michigan, just 20 minutes from Saginaw, Midland, and Bay City. Heel pain is a common issue in the world today, but that doesn't mean it's normal, and you shouldn't have to live with it. Is heel pain cramping your style and interfering with you living your best life? Contact us online or give us a call at 989-695-6788 to set up your consultation today!