A woman wearing Converse sneakers puts her feet out the window of a moving car.
Excessive foot pronation increases the stress at the knee and hip joints, which can create problems in the foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

When packing for your summer vacation, be sure to include the right footwear, a podiatrist advises.

“The type of vacation you go on will determine the type of shoe you need,” Dr. Ronald Lepow, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine’s department of orthopedic surgery, in Houston, said in a school news release.

If you’ll be doing a lot of walking, wear shoes with good support and consider where you’ll be going. For example, if you’ll be strolling on uneven cobblestones, the flexibility of your shoes will be more important than if you’re visiting a location with smooth, level walkways.


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“When looking for a sandal, look for one with a contoured foot bed with arch support, as opposed to flat-soled flip-flops,” said John Harris, DPM, FACFAS, a Spectrum Health Medical Group orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon. “In addition, pick a sandal that does not require you to scrunch your toes to hold them on. Perhaps a sandal with a heel strap.”

If you must wear flip-flops, you should limit use to short distances and a short amount of time.

“Parents, be leery of allowing your kids to use flip-flops as their go-to summer shoe gear,” Dr. Harris said, explaining that many of the summer injuries he sees are attributable to flip-flops.

Also, be sure to replace your footwear frequently—it can help ensure a pain-free summer for your feet, knees, hips, legs and back.

If you’re going to the beach, bring flip-flops or clogs, Lepow said. Don’t walk barefoot on hot sand because doing so can cause blisters. Be sure to put sunscreen on your feet, he added.

Athletic shoes can be a good choice for evening walks along the beach, and water shoes can help prevent injuries from stepping on objects or uneven surfaces under the water.

If available, use foot showers to wash off any potential contaminants from your feet, Lepow advised.

At pools, wear shoes or flip-flops when not swimming to protect yourself from athlete’s foot, nail fungus and warts, he said.

And if you’re going hiking, you should wear hiking boots. They are well-insulated and provide good heel, arch and ankle support.

Finally, if you buy new shoes, be sure to break them in a couple of weeks before your trip. Walk around the house in them, bend them and use shoe inserts to stretch them, Lepow suggested.