Are Your Shoes Making You Sick?


Around the world, it is customary for many households to require you to remove your shoes upon entering the home, and with good reason! As we find ourselves back to work and back to school, those sparkling new shoes or the kids’ new kicks can quickly become a source of contamination. After a day of contact with the outside world, we may be tracking some nasty bugs back home without realizing it.

Walking outside, our shoes can come into contact with infectious, toxic microbes from fecal matter on the streets or bacteria from public bathrooms. Public restroom floors can contain around two million bacteria per square inch! Additionally, other toxins such as those that are found on tar pavements have been found to be cancer-causing.

Studies throughout the years have supported that shoes may be carrying potentially dangerous organisms.

One such study at the University of Arizona tested both the inside and outside of new shoes after wear for two weeks. What was found were large numbers of bacteria exceeding 421,000 units. These included: E.coli, found in intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis, diarrhea, Klebsiella pneumonia, a source of wound and bloodstream infections and pneumonia, as well as, Serratia ficaria which can cause respiratory tract infections. In addition, C. difficile, an extremely resistant and virulent bug that can cause life-threatening colon infections was also found in a separate Houston study. What was also demonstrated was that the transfer of bacteria from the shoes to tiles and floors was significant.

What does it all mean? Shoes are a major source of dangerous bacteria and toxins in your home.

5 Ways to Combat Shoe Germs

  1. Remove your shoes at the door to help detox your home.
  2. Disinfect floors and shampoo rugs regularly.
  3. Kick off the sneakers and throw them in the washing machine.
  4. Let shoes air out rather than keeping them in a gym bag.
  5. Additionally, when storing your shoes or packing them in a suitcase, use disinfectant wipes, both on the inside and outside of your shoes, including the soles.