Australian researchers are flip-flopping on the issue that the cheap and cheerful thongs could be better for children than closed-in shoes.
Alex Chard, a researcher at the university, says with his study he'll challenge the "broad public misconceptions of the health effects of wearing thongs".
AdvertisementChard and his research team are seeking volunteers aged between seven and 13 for a comparison of children's foot motion while they are barefoot and while they are wearing thongs or traditional school shoes.
According to Chard, experts often discourage the wearing of thongs but there's no hard evidence that they are harmful, reports The Daily Telegraph.
"Experts are starting to accept that the best shoe should mimic barefoot conditions," Chard said in a statement.
"The latest research has found that there is more motion within the arch of the foot than previously thought.
"It might be the case that flexible things can actually assist in developing the 16 muscles within each foot, helping Australian children to improve their sporting prowess," he added.
In the study, researchers from the university's foot and ankle research unit will use computer animation techniques to analyze the way children's feet and legs move while they are running, walking or stepping sideways.
The research will be conducted at the university's Lidcombe campus in western Sydney.