Your Flip Flops Will Kill You


Don't trust 'em. These things are dangerous.

They come in all different colors, styles, and sizes. They’re a part of our daily uniform during the summertime (Editor’s Note: And if you’re me, they stay in rotation until the snow begins to fall); we wear them to the beach, to work, or when we’re just hangin’ out in the house. Some people may hate on flip flops, but they are truly god’s gift to mankind (after Channing Tatum and Coldstone Creamery, of course).

A gift that can kill us all, according to a new study by TODAY.
Seriously, after reading this you might wanna think twice before flippy flopping around town.

After testing some footwear, health scientists discovered that there were more than – are you ready for this – 18,000 bacteria on just one pair of flip-flops. Did you just look at your feet in disgust? Yeah, me too. But what is even more disturbing than the number of bacteria on your favorite footwear is the type of bacteria that consumes them. We’re talkin’ bacteria from fecal matter (that’s poo, ladies!), skin and respiratory germs, even bacteria that causes yeast infections and diaper rash. Oh, and the scariest? The potentially lethal germ, Staphylocaccus aurerus (AKA staph infection).

Dr. Philip M Tierno, director or NYU’s Langone Medical Center, said that these bacteria “can give you a serious infection like a boil, or more serious, it could possess toxins.  They can make you very sick or kill you.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa; slow down there, Dr. Tierno. Does this mean I should fear my Havaianas more than I fear those creepy flasher guys that hide in parks when I go running?

Well yes and no.  The dirty grounds that we walk on (think about it: city streets, public bathrooms, etc.) contain a whole lotta nasty-I-don’t-even-wanna-knows on them, and since our feet are completely exposed when wearing flip flops, our skin is obviously coming in contact with ’em. And sometimes those germs are lethal. So, what do we do about this?

Instead of ruining a cute summer dress with a not-so-cute pair of sneakers, just be wary and protect yourself:

– Avoid touching your flip-flops and your unwashed feet
– Wash your hands often
– Remove your shoes when you are in your home.
– Limit your use of flip-flops if you can.  I know it’s devastating, but try and save them for the beach and the pool, and wear more protective sandals for your daily wear.
– Toss those flips after a year. Yes, even those Rainbows.

Considering that flip-flops aren’t the best for walking anyway (they give you zero support and can injure your feet and calves) this new bacteria news might not be something to ignore.  Hey, if nothing else, it’s a good excuse to go shoe shopping, right?



  1. Cecil says:

    You'll take my flipflops from my cold dead feet. Literally.

  2. Beau says:

    Me and my friends refuse to date girls that only wear flip flops. Girls who only wear flip flops shuffle around and often have the worst posture. It looks really unattractive. Flip flops once in a while are ok but all the time suck!

  3. Jenna says:

    There aren't any more germs on flip-flops than on any other shoe. The ground is a dirty place, and the soles of your tennis shoes will pick up just as many (especially if you're walking around NYC, where the flip-flops in this study were tested).

    The fear stems from having your feet uncovered, but as long as you don't have any open cuts and you're washing your feet (you do shower, yes?) then it's nothing to freak out about. I refuse to become OCD about this. Besides, most flip-flops are really easy to clean with antibacterial soap.

  4. the violator says:

    i hate flip flops. ugliest damn piece of footwear ever invented. nothing says lazy slob like a pair of flip flops.

    i can tolerate them for at the beach or around the pool but elsewhere- they scream 'hey yall, i just got outta mah trailer an couldn't find any real shoes to wear but, here i am'.

    i don't understand how anyone can find these awful abominations comfortable. and for jenna- you are incorrect if you think wearing them is no more dangerous than wearing real shoes.this study merely proved it. sadly, this author sounds like 99% of the girls here at i.u. when it comes to wearing those horrible things til winter.

    flip flops blow dog!!

  5. Sophie says:

    Not wearing flip-flops (or thongs :P) in summer Australia would be tough. Everyone does. I went 6 weeks one summer without wearing normal shoes; as I find them much more comfortable and practical than strappy sandals and runners! Everyone needs to get over their fear of germs, don't people wash their feet? Isn't this why we have skin?

    I for one will walk with my back straight, each step clearly defined, wearing my metallic purple Havaianas, away from this article without giving it a second thought.

  6. bear and dovie says:

    ok no more flp flop instead sandals all the way!!!! i only wear it doing yard work .

  7. Brit says:

    "There aren’t any more germs on flip-flops than on any other shoe….The fear stems from having your feet uncovered"

    I don't think that's really true.. other shoes cover the bottom of your feet completely. When you're walking in flip flops they temporarily leave your feet, allowing the bacteria and dirt to attach themselves to the bottom of your feet, which wouldn't happen if you're wearing flats or something else.

    I just doubt you're going to really die from them, as long as you have decent hygienic care, I think we will all be okay. Besides, how have we lived so long without problems from them?

  8. Casey says:

    I live in Florida and work for Abercrombie and Fitch where we are required to wear flip flops as part of our uniform, So I wear flip flops every day all year round. And guess what, I'm not dead! Seriously, this is just another ridiculous study that the government wasted our tax money on.

    And Beau, that is so shallow.

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  11. julie says:

    i saw a news report on this and the bacteria on the flip flops can only get in your blood stream if you have an open wound on your foot… i will never give up my flip flops!

  12. GL says:

    Okay, I used to be one of those flip flop aholics, and most of my friends are. But now I really HATE THEM. I realized that they are not really proper footwear and sort of ruin outfits with their sloppiness. I have two pairs from old navy for the sole purpose of camping water shoes and beach shoes. I don't think they should be worn outside of those scenarios and ESPECIALLY not in winter. Bleh.

  13. Owenx says:

    Applies to crocs too lol.

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