Weekend Link Love – Edition 199

There’s a battle brewing over flip-flops. While Bob Thompson (of the Institute for Preventive Foot Health) makes a mistake when he criticizes the lack of “heel support and structural support… on that little slab of rubber,” he makes a good point that “taking your five toes and grabbing your shoe” is not normal and could lead to problems. Where do you stand?

What’s better than flip-flops?  Zero-drop huaraches for your kids.

Neanderthals used medicinal plants (surely with a prescription only), new fossil evidence indicates.

Speaking of Neanderthals, they sported massively muscled right arms because of their propensity to… scrape bits of flesh off of animal hide to make pretty clothes?

I had a chat with Max and Josh, co-creators of Caveman College, about maintaining a Primal life in college. If you’re a college student trying to make this lifestyle work, you’ll love their blog.

Physical inactivity is deadly. Get up and go for a walk after you read this (and take someone with you).

Arnold blogs. Do you have the Spark?

Lucky cows, huh? I guess red wine really does pair well with red meat.

Recipe Corner

  • Beef rendang, because Indonesian food is woefully underrated and tough to find, so why not make your own?
  • Since good strawberries are easier to find than truly good tomatoes, try this recipe for strawberry salsa.

Time Capsule

One year ago (July 22 – July 28)

Comment of the Week

I’m addicted to spinach. Did funny things to my arm though…:P

You and the Neanderthals both, Nionvox.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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55 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 199”

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  1. First to comment? The problem with flip-flops, atleast for me, is that they tend to break(That’s why they’re cheap) and don’t have that “feeling.” I personally prefer huaraches made by Luna. Also, I need to starting curing the leather from my hunts to get strong arms now!

  2. Massively muscled right arms? Take a look at Roger Federer when he changes his shirt during a match! Maybe Neanderthals played tennis!

  3. Flip-flops are evil. During my 3 months of travel last year I wore almost exclusively flip-flops. After a few weeks *something* went wrong in my foot and I couldn’t walk for nearly a week. Speaking to other travellers/visiting the doctor etc made it pretty obvious flip-flops were the cause. Never wearing them again, at least not for long periods of time.

  4. The next best thing to going barefoot is a pair of flat, thin soled flip-flops.

    Crocks? I f-ing hate those things. Bob Thomson’s a kook.

  5. I live in flip flops now because my whole life (Im 26) I have lived in “good tennis shoes” which have left me with bunions, bunionettes, and boney growths on the tops of my feet! They are not as scary looking as they sound but they are annoying and will one day be unsightly and painful if they get any worse. So I wear flops (Reef brand) ALL the time unless Im barefoot or running in my Vibrams five fingers. My knees dont hurt, my hips dont hurt, and I walk a fast fast 3 mile walk every single day on pavement! This shoe guy is just trying to convert us to buying his “cure all” tennis shoes.

  6. The problem with flip flops is, as the article points out, people are gripping them with their toes. This lends itself to a very abnormal foot-strike and subsequent gait pattern, not to mention potentially tight long toe flexers. The foot can’t make the adjustments it needs to, as the metatarsals and toes are tight (the foot also loses the ability to make these adjustments when wearing padded, supportive shoes, a fact most here are probably already aware of.) Add to this that most people’s feet are accustomed to “good, supportive and padded shoes” (read: weak, vulnerable feet) and flip-flops really can turn out to be a recipe for disaster.

    1. The solution, then, is to find a pair that aren’t so loose that you have to grip them with your toes to keep them on. Flip flops have never caused me problems.

  7. “Neanderthals … sported massively muscled right arms …”

    They also seem to have frequently incurred head injuries — see a blog post from last week from the Smithsonian on that:


    Nobody knows why they had so many head injuries, although the traditional explanation, questioned in a recent paper, is that it was down to hunting accidents.

    Maybe they were hitting each other over the head with their huge right arms. :-p

  8. Was at the beach the other day and surreptitiously got a good look at other people’s feet. Just about every adult over thirty had toenail fungus. Regardless of whether or not close-toed shoes provide good support, how come no one’s raising the alarm about fungal infections? Gross.

  9. Would love to try the huaraches but toe fungus is too gross! Any Primal cures?

    1. Seeing as fungus generally prefers warm, damp, dark, unventilated environments, huaraches. Or better yet barefoot. At the very least anything other than shoes. Barefooting might not cure toe fungus, but it can’t hurt, will probably help, and will prevent it like crazy.

    2. I’ve read oil of oregano applied to infection will neutralize fungus. Haven’t tried it though.

  10. Really good stuff today 🙂 Loved the strawberry salsa site, Thanks

  11. I did my long distance running as a kid in huaraches…didn’t know what they were called though, but my coach made them for me. Maybe I have her to thank for my perfectly natural feet now 🙂

  12. Flip flops are creating some weird hardening between my toes and I think it’s cause I DO use my toes to grab the flip flop. They’re also causing my heels to be filthy.

  13. I don’t have much input on flip-flops other than I try not to wear them as much. Thanks for the link to Caveman College! It’s just what I’ve been looking for

  14. can’t stand that rope between my toes – flipflops ALWAYS bugged the heck outta me – gimme a pair of hi-rise converse or bare feet please–

  15. Two summers ago I decided to try huaraches but amazing as it may seem $20 + shipping was too much for my budget. I found a pair of $1 flip-flops with a sole made of 3 layers sandwiched together, snipped off the thongs and pried the top layer off. This layer became my homemade invisible shoe sole: the ties were made with nylon rope from the hardware store (60 cents). They were a little odd looking because the soles were pink, the rope was white, dirty grey after the summer. This year’s pair were made from $3 black flip-flops with round, black, polyester shoe laces used for the lace. They look fantastic, almost elegant. I wear them everywhere and have received many compliments. I walk our gravel road daily in them, garden in them, hose them off and wear them to work! When I can no longer find cheap flip-flops to turn into huaraches, I’ll break down and buy a kit because I won’t spend a summer in anything else!

    1. I did the same thing with old flipflops, only I used old 550 cord and my own knots, all I ever got were dirty looks! I hated them as huaraches, but completely broken down flipflops with tight strings worked the same as barefoot for me. Sadly, everything had stickers, thorns, or needles in my part of the world. Any ideas to make them more protective?

  16. I live in Central America part of the year (winter) and that (flip flops) is pretty much all anyone wears there, tourists and locals alike.

  17. I just thought of something else–do y’all remember “water buffaloes” from the 70s? We ALL used to wear them–flat little leather sandals that had a toe ring hold on them. YOu had to soak them in a bucket of water for a day first and then wear them while they were drying so they molded to your foot shape. Funny! We also ironed our hair with an IRON…..go figure…..

  18. The only time I wear flip-flops is when I need to use a communal shower like when I’m camping or such like. Goes back to my training excavation at the end of my archaeology degree when we had two showers between 30-40 of us, the showers got pretty gross and I hated the thought of being in there barefoot.

    Love that article about neanderthals short right arms. See – experimental archaeology is awesome fun, you get to poke things with sticks!

  19. The flip flops article mentioned that a nail can puncture the rubber soles. Here is my experience with that:

    I was wearing cheap rubber flip flops one day when I stepped on a board with nails sticking out of it (not intentionally of course!). 2 nails went through the sole and into the ball of my foot. My foot swelled up huge and got infected. One week later I was soaking my foot as the doctor told me to, and I noticed the nail wounds were black. I picked at them, and I pulled out two little cylinders of black flip flop sole from the holes. They had been pushed up into my foot and were there for a week before coming out! I was horrified and needless to say was upset that the doctor had not inspected the wounds better. I was on crutches and painkillers for 2 weeks then could walk again.

    It was an extremely painful 2 weeks that I hope to never repeat.

    If you happen to wear flip flops and step on a nail, please avoid what happened to me and make sure that part of the foam rubber sole is not inside your foot!

  20. Shoes are tools. I use them when I need them, and don’t when I do not. As in, only when my feet are actually at risk of damage (glass does not qualify).
    I plan on getting/making a pair of flips or huaraches for when I ‘have to’ have something, anything, between my feet and the ground. This ONLY happens indoors, so the soles will be cloth if I make them. Something I can pocket and forget about.

  21. I don’t wear flip flops anymore, but i do wear flat sandals that fasten around the ankle and go between the toes (kind of like gladiator sandals, but not as high up on the ankle). Get the free feeling without needing to use my toes to grip the sandal to my feet. What do you think of something like that?

  22. Cows raise on wine… sounds delicious! On an interesting note, the Chinese character, that’s also used in Japanese, for “horrible” portrays a cow drinking booze. I wonder if the ancient Chinese knew something we don’t? Like cows make temperamental drunks or something? lol

  23. I live in Hawaii and I wear flip-flops (we call them slippers) all day long. I think if you’re used to conventional shoes, you will have a hard time with flip-flops at first. You HAVE to find ones with a good fit on your foot though. I’ve bought some before that were a little too loose and wearing them would make my feet hurt. You can tell when they are not a good shape for your feet. If you have good slippers your gait won’t change at all and you don’t have to do the toe grip thing. And I don’t buy expensive ones. I buy the Old Navy ones when they go on sale and we have “Rubba Slippas” out here that go on sale at the grocery store which actually fit me really well. The rest of the day I go barefoot. You know what hurts my feet and causes tumbles? Sneakers or high heels.

  24. walk, done. along a beautiful local lake…

    thanks for the indonesian beef recipe, yum!

  25. I wear flip flops a lot of the time now and if anything they’ve been helpful in alleviating some of the ankle and knee problems I’ve had in the past. Contrary to the article’s recommendation, I prefer the flat kind without any arch support that bend easily. Like a few other people mentioned, as long as the fit is good I don’t have to grip them with my toes or change my gait. Another upside of using flip flops is that they’re easy to take off whenever you’re somewhere that you want to go barefoot.

  26. I wear jandles (flip flops) quite often because they are easy to remove when you want to go barefoot. Having said that, ones that you have to grip with your toes to keep on are not good. They can cause back and hip problems as well as foot problems, as my sister found out. I always thought I should attach a bit of elastic to the straps to go around my heel to help keep them on better like the ones they make for toddlers, but haven’t because I didn’t want to look like a dickhead!! Having just seen the huaraches, maybe I’ll try it after all…

    1. I won’t allow my kids or myself to wear flip flops for the reasons you just cited. Particularly bad for foot development for the kids. I just checked out the Invisible Shoe DIY kit and we’ll order some for X-mas.

      She currently takes her sandal straps and configures them to be more like flip flops. Hopefully with the huaraches she will be thrilled to decorate them how she wishes and will be more likely to wear them properly.

  27. My mom walks around without shoes so much, we call her a blackfoot, lol. Growing up, I wore flipflops almost exclusively during summer break. The only trouble I had was with a pair with extra thick soles if I stepped on an uneven suface, I would kinda trip sideways. Nowadays, I prefer ballet flats. They have minimal padding, but they prevent random stuff from going between my toes.

  28. I like my Unshoes, thank you very much. They are a great alternative to flip flops, and easier to put on then most huaraches. It takes a while to get them because each one is custom made, but boy is it worth it! Check them out:


  29. Well folks I have been wearing GOOD flip flops that FIT well for years and I have ZERO problems with my feet and pain..I can walk MILES over uneven terrain if you TAKE care about foot placement. I also do not grab them with my toes…THEY FIT…so they just come along wirth me as is…toe grabbing is for tricky locations..not in general use as far as walking goes…YOU HAVE TO LEARN AND GET PROPER FIT> …NO problems for PAPA GROK and flip flops….I Also go bare foot a lot and yes my feet Look like it…heavy callouses and dark colored..So what? I’m not here for how pretty my FEET ARE.
    What is written DOES NOT reflect the actuality for everyone..my feet don’t smell like a skunk living in an old tire or a dirty wet suit, and they are allowed to breathe and keep dry naturally..I must say though that WET flip flops can be tricky…ya might slip off of them on a hillside..so off they go for the real sole….LOLOLOL
    GROK ALWAYS…And do for you what works for you>>>

  30. “Physical inactivity is [estimated to be] deadly”

    Fixed my -fixed it-

  31. Gripping your shoes with your toes is a good route to muscle/tendon problems. I know. I just had a beach vacation that left me with foot pain that sidelined me from crossfit for a week.

  32. When I wear flip-flops, my big toe gets tingly and stays that way for the next day or two. I think the part between the toes must be pinching a nerve or something. I prefer something like Sanuk canvas beach shoes – same sole as a flip-flop but no toe thong. I still wear flip-flops when I don’t have to do much walking because they are the only thing that keeps my feet from looking like a couple of dead fish in the summer.

  33. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t grab my flip-flops with my toes. I have a natural gap between my first and second toes into which the stem of the yoke fits quite well. I just walk.

    I LOVE my flip-flops, because they are thin-soled and make me feel barefoot when I’m not allowed to be. And since they’re thin and pack flat, I can slip them off and shove them into my purse when walking from one place to another outside.

  34. I can’t believe I’m the first person to post this, but….

    Regarding those Neanderthals with massively muscled right arms: Do I have to spell it out for you people? Maybe the lady Neanderthals were, ahem, not available for extended periods…. (sorry, that really WAS the first thing that occurred to me….:-( )

  35. YESTERDAY I paid “attention” to how I walk in those flip flops…( mainly for this post because I Flow along and rarely pay attention to much at all…I am such a “what day of the week is it?” person…LOLOL
    it seems I lift my toes and spread them as I go…and then set my entire foot down as a slab,, not much into heal toe walking it seems….I really never pinch my toes around that center piece…I practice my ZEN applied to many things physical…so my body and mind become one with whats under my
    feet very easily…in other words…CHILL OUT and flow along in FLIP FLOPS and they wont hurt you>>>..GROK ALWAYS>>>

  36. I’m sorry, but if you’re gripping your flip flops for them to stay on your feet, then they’re too big for you. They’re supposed to just drag along with your feet without slipping, while you walk as if you were barefoot.

    I love flip flops. I find that walking in them is the closest for me to walking barefoot.