Everyone flips for the 'miraculous' FitFlop

Designed for women seeking toned legs without the gym, a humble sandal is now helping those with chronic back pain

At £90 a pair, the latest range of flip-flops might seem an unlikely summer bestseller. But, according to an adviser on biomechanics to UK Athletics, this is not simply beachwear: the FitFlop appears to be capable of performing miracles.

Despite the product being originally designed and marketed as a "vanity shoe" that would help body-conscious women to tone their bottoms and legs, stories of how people crippled with arthritis or back pain are suddenly able to walk again are flooding in, according to the manufacturers.

On Friday, the FitFlop gained influential public support from Oprah Winfrey when she named it as one of her summer favourites on her television talkshow in the US, while other celebrities including Hilary Swank, Heidi Klum, Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel, have a pair. Jade Johnson, the Olympic long jumper who suffers from a painful foot condition, found she gained the same benefit from wearing them as exercises recommended by her physiotherapist.

The FitFlop is said to produce a similar effect to walking barefoot, but with a degree of shock absorption. This makes the muscles work harder, creating the toning effect.

But Dr Phil Graham-Smith, head of the directorate of sport at Salford University and a consultant biomechanist for UK Athletics, also believes they may make the body adjust its walk to ensure the knee is correctly aligned.

"We carried out some independent tests and they came out quite favourably," he said.

Dr Graham-Smith, who works with Britain's jumping athletics team, said Johnson had benefited from wearing FitFlops. "She suffers from plantar fasciitis, which causes pain in the heel. Her physio gives her drills like walking through sand to help strengthen the arch of the foot," he said.

"When she tries these on, she gets the same benefit as walking through sand and prefers using the FitFlops because, of all things, she has an allergy to sand."

Marcia Kilgore, founder of the FitFlop company, admitted they were initially designed for their cosmetic effect on the body.

"They were originally launched as a vanity shoe – you could walk and help tone your legs. But over and over again, we'd hear things like 'I've had a degenerative spine disease, haven't been off morphine, and all I have to do is put on a pair of FitFlops and suddenly I don't feel pain any more'," she said. "A lot of people with severe and chronic back pain have reported a vast improvement, an almost miraculous improvement on putting these things on."

The FitFlop was launched in May last year and has sold more than a million pairs, mostly in the US and UK. The basic style costs £36, but in keeping with this summer's trend, Roman sandal-style versions costing £90 have been introduced.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

    Engineering Design Manager (Mechanical)

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: ENGINEERING ...

    SSIS Developer Required - Leading Media Company

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A world leading media organisation is cu...

    Data Scientist

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz