Sandals fail to provide the necessary protection and support when exercising.
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The footwear you choose when working out is meant to provide your feet with proper support and also offer protection. Wearing appropriate footwear can help improve your physical performance and reduce the risk of injury. The way that sandals are designed, however, prevents them from offering the adequate amount of support or protection necessary when exercising. As a result, they're commonly not allowed to be worn when working out in gyms.
According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, the shoes you're wearing during exercise should provide you with good shock absorption. The cushioning that athletic shoes provide help to absorb impact stress. They effectively limit the impact transmitted to your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back. As a result, your joints are better protected and your chances of injury from impact stress decreases. Sandals, however, have too thin of cushioning and thus are not designed for absorbing impact that's placed on your feet when you're exercising.
Protecting the Feet
When exercising, it's important to keep your feet covered in order to keep them protected. When you're working out outside, such as when walking or running, the top or heels of your exposed feet could make contact with rocks, sticks or other items. In addition, something sharp has a greater chance of poking through the bottom of sandals than athletic shoes. When you're inside and lifting weights, you risk dropping weighted implements onto your feet. Sandals will leave your feet vulnerable, while athletic shoes that cover your feet will offer a greater degree of protection.
Fitness facilities and gyms often include not wearing open-toed sandals on their list of rules and regulations. While you're allowed to wear them in the locker room and shower area, you're not allowed to wear sandals, flip-flops, aqua socks or to be in bare feet when in the cardio or weight training areas. This rule is meant to limit the risk of injury of members and the liability risk of the fitness facility.
There have been a number of fitness sandals that have been released on the market. These sandals are designed to be worn when working out. According to "BBC News Magazine," these fitness sandals are constructed so that the foot is slightly destabilized and the muscles in the legs have to work harder. They're more shock-absorbent than regular flip-flops, however. Exercise sandals may be appropriate for cardio activities, but still don't offer the protection necessary when lifting heavy weighted implements.