The thought of wearing flip-flops or other footwear at the pool seems odd. Usually I just stuff my shoes in a locker with the rest of my street clothes when I've gone swimming. Or if I'm at a hotel pool, maybe I'll wear my gym shoes to the pool and just take 'em off by the chair or lounger I'm going to lay my towel on. However, one expert says, it's better to wear some type of footwear around the pool than going barefoot. Here's why.

Gabriel Miller, the shoe expert at Gatsby Shoes says you should never walk around a pool area without footwear. Why? Pool decks can be a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungi due to the warm moist environment. This is according to an article in the Mirror.

The Mirror article quotes Miller, "Walking barefoot exposes you to pathogens like plantar warts, athlete's foot, and ringworm, which thrive in these conditions. These organisms can easily invade small cuts or abrasions on unprotected feet, leading to uncomfortable and sometimes serious infections."

Additionally, Miller mentions that footwear may protect the wearer from slipping and falling on slick pool decks, and also protects the feet when a pool deck has broken tiles or rough surfaces that may leave micro-abrasions on the feet. Those micro-abrasions make it easier for pathogens that cause plantar warts, athlete's foot or ringworm to enter the body.

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I get it, it's certainly more hygienic to wear footwear around the pool and who wants to come back from the pool with athlete's foot, ringworm, or plantar warts? Yet, I'm a child of the 80s. I not only spent time swimming at public pools and generally didn't pick anything nasty up, but I also swam in Lake Michigan and ran around on Chicago's beaches. Back then they weren't half as clean as they are today and survived.

So while it's probably a good idea to wear a pair of flip-flops around the pool, I might just be a rebel and go barefoot. I won't run at the pool though, I'm not that big a rebel, and the thought of breaking a toe on a cement pool deck just sounds painful.

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