"It's not that they wear them," Oswell said. "They overwear them."
But Curin said researchers, who typically refer in their studies to cheap rubber flip-flops that can be purchased at discount stores, must realize not all flip-flops are created equally.
"They seem to miss that whole other part of the industry that is creating really good footwear with innovation and technology," he said.
Curin said oftentimes it's such sandals that alleviate problems, not cause them.
"I know a lot of people, both customers of our shop, friends and family, and people in the industry that wear flip-flops because they have problems," he said. "It's more comfortable, easier to put on and off, and there's breathability."
Rather than buying a $2 pair of rubber flip-flops at the drugstore, Curin suggests spending the extra money on a pair with deep heel cups, high arch support and comfortable toe support, such as those from OluKai and Reef.
Oswell agrees that there times when wearing flip-flops can be beneficial. In the health club locker room or at the community pool, flip-flops can protect feet against fungi and wart-causing viruses that can be acquired by walking around barefoot.
The simple sandals can also shield feet against the beach's hot sand, which might otherwise cause skin to burn and blister on your walk to the water.
But flip-flop use should be limited, experts say. Oswell's go-to shoe for everyday wear is a pair of tennis shoes.
"The number one best shoe for everybody is a good athletic shoe --- something that laces up and has good structure to it," Oswell said.
Thompson said people should always wear padded, acrylic-blend socks, which wick moisture away from the foot, under properly fitted shoes that have plenty of toe room and support.
Crocs, which have some structure, cushion and breathability, can be an easy alternative to flip-flops, while sandals with a substantial foot bed and softer and broader straps are also a better option, Oswell said.
For people who insist on indulging in flip-flops' cool convenience, Thompson's asks them to avoid uneven surfaces and wash feet thoroughly after the sandals come off.
"I tell people I'm not going to change your lifestyle; I just want you to know what the concerns are," he said.