A girl at Mesa’s Johnson Elementary School tripped while playing basketball last year, falling on her arm and breaking it in two places. The culprit — flip-flops.
"(Flip-flops) break . . . Other kids step on them, (kids) stub their toes," said school nurse Monica Germaine. "They’re just not a school shoe."
While the school already has a "no flip-flop" policy, it is being more strongly enforced because of a wide range of injuries caused by the flimsy sandal.
Other schools are adopting similar policies.
About a third of Chandler Unified School District elementaries, and Yavapai and Laguna elementary schools in Scottsdale also ban flip-flops.
Nationwide, schools from Connecticut to Oregon have outlawed the popular footwear. Most tell students to save flipflops for the beach.
Mesa podiatrist Dr. Jeff Pa- wolwski agrees.
Flip-flops were "not made to run. If (kids) are climbing on equipment, there can be more slips, (they) can get caught in some of the equipment," Pawolwski said.
In addition, the shoes shouldn’t be a "daily shoe," he said.
"There’s no support in the arch. The toe has to grasp onto the shoe, which is not a natural movement," Pawolwski said.
"They should probably only be worn at the pool."
The Web site www.footphysicians.com states that the wear and tear on the foot "causes abnormal strain on the band of tissue that extends from the heel to the base of the toes and results in a condition known as ‘plantar fasciitis’ or heel pain."
But children such as 8-yearold Tianna Carmon, a thirdgrader at Johnson Elementary, say they’re not concerned about getting hurt. She still prefers flip-flops " ‘cuz you can run faster and it doesn’t take as long to put them on."
Some students say they prefer flip-flops because they are more attractive and more comfortable.
"I think they’re cute and I like to wear them a lot," said 8-year-old Paige Lara, also a third-grader at Johnson Elementary.
Johnson Elementary students are encouraged to wear "sandals with back straps" that go around the back of the heel if they still want to wear open-toed shoes. They are required to have tennis shoes for physical education classes.
Isaac Blaine, 8, said he always wears sneakers to Johnson Elementary.
"I don’t wear (flip-flops to school) because at P.E., the flip-flops might come off and break our toe," he said.
In addition to most kids complying, parents have been pretty understanding, principals said.
Once the possible injuries were explained, most were "pretty accepting" of the new flip-flop ban, said Kathleen Root, principal of Laguna Elementary School in Scottsdale.
"When kids are running on the playground, they can slip out of (the flip-flops) so easily," she said. "They’re just not good play shoes."