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Many people overlook their feet when pulling together their beachwear and swim gear. But when it comes to walking on the beach, you never know what you're going to come across. Not only can shells and rocks have sharp edges, but it is an unfortunate fact that some people leave behind litter that can be dangerous for the unexpecting beachcomber. For walking along the beach, particularly the soft sand areas, it is a good idea to wear an old pair of shoes, such as a solid pair of shoes or sandals. Rubber thongs/flip flops are also alright, but note that they might not offer much protection against glass or a discarded syringe. Shoes are also preferable to flip flops because they will help prevent your flicking sand on yourself and others as you walk. If nothing else, wearing shoes on the beach will protect the bottom of your feet from scalding sand on hot summer days, and the top of your feet from burning sunlight.
Water shoes are like five dollars and really durable. I have a pair matching my favorite suit and I require it of anyone planning on accompanying me on a trip. Also, remember that while those neon plastic-vinyl-whatever-they-are flip flops will get wet, and that'll rub your skin raw, and the straps snap easily. So, really, investing in a good pair of water-shoes is a good idea, it's easy to swim in them and cost less than ruining your trip to beach with all the blisters or having to replace your pretty flip-flops.