• Mon, Aug 6 2007

Wal-Mart Sandals Cause Severe Chemical Burns

lightburn

sideburn

getting worse

- via Neatorama
- via via WVB

A woman suffered what she claims are severe chemical burns after wearing a pair of $2.44 flip flops. She apparently felt tingling and discomfort after the first wear…but continued to wear them on at least 10 more occasions.

Moral of the story: you get what you pay for? Rail against China and Wal-Mart if you must, but my official not-a-dermatologist diagnosis is that this woman likely has an allergy. If your shoes are making your feet bleed, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re better off with natural materials.

Jandals Go Global: History of the Flip Flop

Child Sweatshop Labor: First-Hand Account from India

If you’re a glutton for punishment…

badburn

worstburn

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Brian

    DUHHH! Wear them once or twice maybe I understand, but 10 times…come on who is she the Scarecrow … cue the music …”if I only had a brain…”

  • mark

    The inflamed area seems a little too perfect. Wouldn’t the lines get a little less distinct as they approached the bottom of her foot? Unless, of course, she bought them three sizes too small (which could explain the “chemical burning”).

    I think this may be a fake by anti-Wal-Mart, anti-China activists. Has the woman been positively identified? I read through her page and couldn’t find any postitive ID for her.

    If nothing else, it gives me some new ideas for linkbait posts for my site. I may be shopping for a Wal-Mart jockstrap tomorrow.

  • http://tastybrains.org gillian

    It doesn’t look like a chemical burn. As Mark says, it looks kind of like they were too tight, and the area got inflamed and blistered as a result.

    Either way, she is an idiot. Did she think continuing to wear the offending sandals would make it all better?

    If there’s one thing worth spending money on, it’s good shoes. If you’re going to pay

  • http://crankyfitness.blogspot.com Crabby McSlacker

    I’m with Brian, Mark & Gillian on this–she’s either an idiot or a scammer. Or perhaps a masochist?

    Which doesn’t mean that Walmart might not make nasty flip flops too.

    I’m eagerly awaiting Mark’s jockstrap post!

  • Brian

    Yeah… well make sure you warn people before linking to any of his pictures. His jock strap burns are not on my list of things to see before I die. ;)

  • Sara

    Whether she’s a scammer or not is unknown. But I certainly agree about investing in good shoes.

  • Bart

    Whoa people, simmer down on the conspiracy theories and all-out insensitivity. Apparently you people didn’t actually read her day-by-day synopsis. She didn’t wear them 10 times AFTER all this showed up. It took several days for the effects of the rubber to be noticeable on her skin. When she noticed it was becoming a problem, she quit wearing them. If you did read her page, read it again! If that doesn’t work, get tested for your level of comprehension.

  • deborah

    The story is true,the same thing happened to me , with the same shoes.(ga).I know that you get what you pay for, However, Walmart should have alerted people. They should stand behind what they sell. And also teach their managers good customer relation.l agree with bill China doesn”t care what they ship over here because their kids are in the factories

  • Brenda

    Wierd that you would say they are too small and “rubbed her feet” Because i had the same exact thing happen to me. I thought it was a rash after the first day of wear them. They were a size 7 and i wear a size 6. So they weren’t too small. And after the first day of wearing them they got worse and worse. It has been three weeks and they are still burning, itchy, and now peeling… so thats weird huh…

  • Janet

    I had the same thing happen as well. I wore them for two days and my feet broke out with blisters and redness in the shape of the top of the thong. I quit wearing them thinking it was just rubbing/sweating due to the humidity or whatever. It took three weeks using a Staph antibiotic cream for it to go away. I wore the sandals one more time for a short time after it was cleared up as I didn’t know for sure if it was the shoes. Well I wore them as I stated a short time and you got it, the blisters formed again and back on the antibiotic ointment again. I took the shoes back and got a store gift card. The customer service person refused until I asked to speak with a manger and I told him I was more concerned with making sure that these got returned to the mfg. as well as noted that they caused an issue. He informed me he knew there was an issue with the sandals and would make sure they got returned and dealt with. After hearing all this I will be following up with him to see what they did with them. My daughter still has her two pair and she quit wearing them as they caused sores between her two toes. I figured it was cheap material and yes we got what we paid for, but that doesn’t mean we have to have our skin eaten away because we tried to save money. Stores should know where they are buying from and realize that they have a responsibility to their valued customers.

  • Virginia

    I had a similar experience. I bought some cheap slip on gym shoes from K-Mart to wear while I worked in the yard. After only one use, wearing them for about five hours, I was sitting down to dinner and noticed that my feet were extremely itchy. I took off the shoes and saw that the area where the cloth covered elastic was was inflamed and swollen, following the exact line of the shoes. The area of skin on the rest of the top of my foot down to the toes was covered with red dots, incredible itchy and also somewhat swollen. I stopped wearing the shoes immediately, applied hydrocortisone cream to both feet for over two weeks to somewhat control the itch. Finally the feet are kind of back to normal but I have discoloration in all the affected areas.

  • Kim

    Sorry, but these are chemical burns. I have seen chemical burns before and there was some sort of chemical on the flip-flop that did not agree with her feet.

    Now, the fact that she continued to wear them after the first signs, that’s a different story.

  • Voice of Reason

    Looks like an allergic reaction to the latex straps to me.

  • janelle

    i am going through the same thing right now, not as severe though. when it first started, i thought it was maybe just because it was humid and the rubber rubbing against my feet made my feet irritated. well…..i was wrong

  • Aaron

    dude you are a idiot…..its a burn….get a freakin life…and if it really is a burn like i think it is i hope your new joke is all full of it….then you can put that pic on your myspace…

  • Aaron

    JOCK*

  • Bern

    Well I think it’s a mission our homeland security should look into. 1st the lead paint in our childrens’ toys and now sandals that cause burns. What next??

  • Jaimie

    I actually had a similar reaction to flip flops I bought at Payless. I didn’t take any pictures but my feet had absolutely perfect red marks of where the flip flop thong part was. They then turned into large blisters and my feet were so swollen I couldn’t wear normal shoes for almost two weeks. I wore those flip flops for only six hours at work ONE day. I actually bought them before I went into work and just wore them at my retail job. It started to itch so I took them off for the remainder of my eleven hour shift. Just for the record, MY flip flops were not too tight. I normally wear an 8 1/2 so I bought 9-10 flip flops so it wasn’t tight at all. I went to the doctor and they gave me prednisone and it cleared up after a little while but it really looked very,very similar to these cases. However, like someone said that they think it is a latex allergy, I agree with that because that was the conclusion that my doctor came to without actually doing blood tests. I had never had an allergic reaction to latex but it’s very common to develop allergies to things later in life after not being affected previously. It was a really bad way for me to find out but it could have been worse…

  • Amy

    I received an email warning about these thongs ( flip flops, I am an Aussie we call em thongs here ) I read her page and was mortified by the pictures and her day by day account of what was happening, I alos checked this out on an urban legends site to see if it were true and it comes up as true and I have also looked into it more and found alot of people have suffered as a result of these shoes/thongs, I agree with Bern we have had similar issues here in Australia with the lead paint in childrens toys etc, we have just had a recal on a product called bindeez another childrens toy which has been releasing a deadly chemical from its small peices a chemical called GHB the date rape drug and children have been hospitalised because of this, when will it end its time for some regulations people!!!!!
    I really feel for this women about her feet its awfull and for the others who have suffered also, of course the shop who sold them ( Wal-mart in this instance ) should be held accountable afterall they are selling the product they are the ones putting it out there for you to buy, and then they should hold their supplier accountable for selling it to them. I think its terrible that we have so much doubt these days, this women is obviously genuine, its a pitty some people out there ruin it for those who really do have a problem.

  • paul robie

    I have had this burn on my feet also. Not as severe as the flip flop waman. I purchased a pair of Crocs which were lined and within a couple of days after wearing them, the itch started and I went through the same thing. Crocs are not cheap but come from China. I will never wear anything again that comes from there.

  • Sarah

    I wear unlined Crocs all the time. I have a latex allergy and those shoes doesn’t bother me at all. It’s more likely you are allergic to the lining.

  • miley_c_rox

    those are sick! my cousin weres flip flops like that and shes fine!

  • Rogers

    Now we understand why Sam Walton only bought products made in the U.S.A. This what happens standard are relax in the name of making a profit.

  • Mason Lord

    For all who say this is fake, go look up your facts on Wal-mart and tell me you still support them, via. http://www.walmartmovie.com/facts.php, note the sources at the bottom of each fact.

  • Monica cox

    Paul Robbie. My mother was in the hospital for 2 weeks with a major staph infection that started in her foot. She had been hanging Christmas Decorations and bringing in the Christmas tree while wearing her beloved “University of Florida Gator Cros”! It started as a bad burn and festered into a 20 ccs of gross green puss. The infection went to the bone and she almost lost her foot. Hot me up on email if you have the same situation..
    Monica
    Tampa,Fl

  • Linda

    I have been suffering from an allergic reaction to my crocs, not lined ones, for several months. The rash started slowly but over time has become unbearable. The top of one foot is a large open sore. First the little red dots, itching, scratching, blisters, and open weeping sore after all the skin is gone. Sorry for the graphic details. I have found several websites that say this is a form of contact dermatitis…www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/paratertiarybutylphenolformaldehyde-allergy.html

  • Aurélie

    Hello Sara,

    Can I use your photos for medical formation?
    Thank you for your reply!

  • latrece holloway

    I just bought a pair of wal-mart sandals a week ago I have very big blisters on my feet and the burn also it is very real and I think something should be done about it.
    L Holloway (M0) 07/08

  • latrece holloway

    Aur’elie I have pictures if you would like to see them please e-mail me @ wlatrece24@aol.com

  • Carole

    Wow, I bought two pair of shoes from Wal-mart a few months ago and have the same problem. It started with a rash, then turned redish purple, now each toe is blistered. I ‘ve been to the doctor 3 times and I am on all kinds of meds. I never thought about the shoes and the doctor did ask if I bought new shoes. When I told him about the sandals he told me to stop wearing them. My problem is on all toes and is very painful. I gave the shoes to the good-will .

  • joe

    I have recently purchased a pair of Nike shoe made in Vietnam that leave a burning feeling in my feet and up my legs. It took me several diffrent days wearing them before I figured out that the shoes were causing the problem. I took them back and the store would not take them back because this was not a defect they could see. I was going to contact Nike if I could find others with this unbelievable story.

  • Kalisa

    I have the same reaction on my feet right now from wearing crocs. I have tried they several times this summer with the same reaction everytime. My feet start to itch then it is like they are burned and they get crusty, crack, peel and scab. It is very painful and uncomfortable. I also get the reaction with flip flops. It just dawned on me in the last few days that perhaps I was having some sort of reaction to the plastics. Chemical burns make a lot of sense. They should come with a warning. I will be getting rid of mine. Wish I had the money back that I put into them!!

  • Kalisa

    Also…to the people that say her reaction worsened because she kept wearing them…my feet continued to get worse after I quit wearing them!! It is like it keeps burning you for a while and it takes forever to go away! I have tried to wear mine a few times this summer with the same reaction before I finally figured out what was bothering me and each time the reaction is worse and takes longer to leave. Not a gain for me!!!

  • teashall
  • sara

    I think this whole thing is out of control. Wal-Mart has tons of customers, because we value the good products at lower prices. I even buy my groceries there because it is the cheapest. Just because I am spending less money at a huge chain, doesn’t mean I want my skin to fall off for it or blister or get any health problems for that matter. Walmart does get lots of things from China because its cheap, as do many companies. maybe that small price we pay at wal-mart comes at a higher cost than we really know. We are only supporting China in keeping kids and people in poor working conditions by buying their products, but we are left with no choice, because our own economy sucks and no one can afford anything.

  • RoseCafe

    Guys, this is the complete truth – it’s not political; the Chinese people are just people like us.
    The problem is chemical burns from the Crocs material. Buyer beware.
    Those burns took months to heal. My toes are still not completely healed.
    I have written multiple times to Crocs with no response – no responsibility.
    This is true.
    Rose

  • Tina

    I’m obviously a slow learner, but finally realized that the problems I was having with my feet were from Crocs. I actually thought it was eczema at first, as I do tend to have that as well. The Crocs give me itching, then large water blisters that are painful and take forever to go away.

  • Bonnie

    My Mom has bad chemical burns on her feet right now from Black slip on canvas shoes. She wore them for less than 3 hours. At first her feet just felt kind of funny and were funny colored. She took the shoes off and put on a different kind. The burns got worse. The burns follow exactly where the black shoes contacted her feet. They ended up being 3rd degree burns. She has been going to the doctor for 26 days so far. She bought the shoes back in the spring but didn’t wear them until July 9th. She thinks she got the shoes at K-mart but of course she lost the receipt. Has anyone heard of burns from similar shoes?

  • Nona Roach

    I am the grandmother in the KOTV 6 Tulsa story about my granddaughter having chemical burns from her Wal Mart shoes. If you would like to see HER very graphic burns I will email them to you. Unfortunately her shoes were Danskins which I thought was a reliable brand. We had to make 3 trips to the Hillcrest Burn Center to heal them up and she still has problems and that was in March. These shoes had a hang tag that said Congratulations you have gone GREEN, these insoles are made of recycled material, 70% plastic bottles and the other 30% is “POST INDUSTRIAL MATERIAL”. Would you like to venture a guess as to what toxic waste that was? Beware, when I was taking pics of the shoes still on the rack at area Wal Mart Stores the clerk told me that every time they got shoes in from China that her eyes and nose would water the whole time she was handling them. Also, my Mom is diabetic and gues where her SPECIAL diabetic shoes were made? Picture those burns on a diabetic.

  • Michigan Rose

    Sick is right, yet a bad batch is a bad batch, how many other bad batches must we endure before it stops?

  • Ryan

    I run a chain of shoe stores and we had 2 similar cases of this occuring with 2 different styles of sandals which both manufactured in China. We sent both pairs to a lab for analysis to ascertain if there were any toxic substances such as lead etc in the shoes, this came up as negative. On both styles, +-600-800 pairs were sold with only one case being reported on each style. We then went to several podiatrist’s to get their opinions.
    We were told that to the best of their knowledge it was an allergic reaction to a compound found either in the latex or PU of the shoe/sandal. My advise would be that if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergic reactions etc to stick to natural leather lined foowear.
    As for whose fault this is…the fact that she had an allergic reaction to Walmarts slops means that it technically is not their fault, BUT they should have gone out of their way to find out what caused the problem, more likely they took a step back as if they helped the customer some might construe it as admitting fault.

  • cheap jerseys

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future. I think it will be also nice if you add “send to email” tool so people can forward the articles to their friends easily.

    O(∩_∩)O~

  • Jessica

    I have thrown out my pair of black Wal – Mart bought flip flop sandals I bought this Summer for 12.98 (USD) because both my feet were burnt similarly only on the bottoms of my feet near my toes. It has been a long, painful and scary Summer. I bought the sandal flip flops in May and threw them away in new condition in early June because of the burns. My sores are almost healed now but all summer was a painful one especially when attempting to walk. When I first got the burns they were so bad I thought I was going to lose my toes! It was touch and go for about 6 weeks. I will never purchase clothing or shoes from Wal – Mart ever again!!!

  • Peggy C.

    I normally do not buy shoes second-hand, but found a pair of (apparently) unworn and comfortable shoes at a garage sale. They were Earth Spirit shoes with Gelron 2000 stamped inside., a leather clog. I know have what looks like a chemical burn on the top of my the big toe of both feet and the outer sides of my feet. Extreme itching and painful. There must be some product being used where Wal Mart shoes/sandals were made that would not pass safety standards here.

  • Huck A.

    I’ve had the most healthy feet of anyone I know, working construction all day on my feet and backpacking hundreds of miles over years without even a corn UNTIL

    2 years ago I was in a hurry and picked up a spare pair of tennis shoes
    at Wal Mart. I almost never shop there but the shoes felt OK, so I
    went for it. The family and I were on a trip so I decided to try the new
    sneakers awhile. I wore them to a theme park several hours and when we got back to the room I noticed my feet bottoms stinging and burning.

    I removed the shoes and socks and saw something I had never seen before on my soles. Where they were always pink, smooth and healthy, even after hiking or working all day, my feet were WHITE – the entire soles, and the skin was like it was burned – like a blister covering the
    entire sole of both feet.

    I immediately soaked my feet, changed socks and when we went out
    again that evening I put on my old shoes. When I returned after several hours of shopping I checked my feet and they were back to
    normal.

    I started to check labels on the box the Wal Mart shoes came in, and
    found a small round tag. It read:
    “Insoles made of recycled industrial waste products.” Good God!
    Wal Mart & Communist China are POISONING Americans through
    the bottoms of their feet! I returned the shoes when I got home and
    while in line I spoke to another guy returning a pair of sandals.
    He said “I should have known better. I can’t wear any shoes from
    Wal Mart.”

    Get the word out! We’re being poisoned with industrial waste in
    Chinese shoes!

  • Sara

    I got a terrible chemical burn from Tory Burch sandals bought at Neiman Marcus. I had no idea they were made in China. My feet are so damaged that I don’t think they will ever be the same again. I contacted Neiman Marcus and they only offered to give me a refund. I have called Tory Burch several times but nothing yet. I am keeping the sandals in a zip lock bag and wish I could find someone that would help me fight this case. There needs to be regulations regarding labeling and we need big names like Tory Burch and Neiman Marcus to stop selling toxic shoes made from sweat shops in China. We need to stop importing from China! You never know what they put in products…baby food, dog food & treats and now shoes. What’s next??

  • Matthew B

    Hi guys – I have had the same problem with flip flops made in China and with a pair of Sperry Topsider slip on sneakers. The research I did into this unveiled that it is a rare skin allergy to a chemical found in cheap plastics – I have it along with something like 1 or 2 percent of the population. There’s nothing sneaky about the Chinese, it’s just that they use a much cheaper plastic that makes this more likely. I’ve heard people who have this allergy cannot go near Croc’s.

    My burns were not as severe as this because they itched so bad I immediately took the shoes off, but I was left with a week or so of healing and anti-itch medications and that obvious flip-flop shaped burn.

    Safe to buy are flip flops from Brazil like Flojos and Havaianas. Also for slip on sneakers, try Vans because they seem to not cause the problem I had with the Sperry’s.

    Since Wal-Mart products are the cheapest available, I wouldn’t touch anything there.

  • Miranda

    Matthew B,

    The same exact thing happened to me with a pair of sperry’s. I had no idea what happened and the doctor said it looks like 2nd degree chemical burns. Do you know anymore information about the skin allergy?

  • Reva-lution

    Why would you GIVE the shoes to an unsuspecting person, after you have discovered a problem that causes such pain? Wow, do you hate low-income people or bargain shoppers that much? I would either return the shoes or destroy them.

  • rat killer

    I bought a pair of earth spirit sandals from walmart for $19.98 and the first time I wore them they burnt the top of my feet like a severe sunburn, blisters and all. I loved the shoes in every other respect, so after several months I decided that I would clean the vinyl lining really good and hope that there was a chemical residue that could be washed off so I could wear them. After a 4 hour period, I removed them when I couldn’t take it any longer, my feet were damaged even worse than before. I am certain I will always have the scarring after this. What kind of material can cause this burn? I wish I had money for a lawsuit, at least testing so the word could be put out there. The shoes only burned a triangle shaped area, where the center piece had been stamped with the info in black ink. The sides did not seem to cause any reaction, although the material looked the same. I am not one for more laws or regulations, but surely some responsibility is to be had on Wal-mart’s part or the manufacturer’s. This is serious pain and needless suffering!!

  • Wendy Lestina

    Bought a pair of Sperry Topsiders at a Stride Rite in Petaluma, CA, wore them once, a week ago. Woke up the next morning with what looked like terrible poison oak/ivy all over the tops and sides (maybe that’s why they named the shoes that) of my feet. Tried to take care of it myself. Got much worse, day by day, until yesterday, when I couldn’t walk due to the swelling and the pain. Dr. gave me cortisone shot, prednazone prescrip and told me to take at least five days of work (I’m self-employed, this isn’t an advantage) … with my feet up. Petroleum all over the feet (don’t use neosporin!) … Keds customer relations woman says to send them back, theyll send a check for the cost, and when I cash the check, their liability ends. Uh, huh — oh, and that it’s a latex allergy. I’ve been wearing latex bras for years without a single episode. I have no allergies to anything else. This is a known problem, and it’s a dangerous one because of the risk of secondary (e.g., staph) infections. Contact dermatitis with high-risk of secondary infection lasting 2-4 weeks at a minimum. I don’t intend to let this go.

  • sarah

    What did you do to heal the burns? I have a chemical burn from something else and it has been spreading (I think it turned into an allergic reaction to many things including tomato plants:( My dermatologist wasn’t helpful at all – just wanted to give me the typical cortisone cream which I won’t use. Meanwhile, it’s getting WORSE, not better — super bright red cracking peeling hand that hurts and itches like mad! I’m going to someone who does muscle testing for allergies and hope he will help me. Aloe doesn’t help, Florasone doesn’t help, Aveenu doesn’t help, nothing is helping and it keeps getting worse. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!!!!! Thanks.

    • Tim

      Use what the doctor perscribed hes a doctor for a reason.

  • Christina

    I believe it. This happened to me with Sperrys as well. I had to get a script for Prednisone and walk around in house slippers for a couple weeks.

  • RoseCafe

    You are so right Kim. I had to throw away 3 pairs of Crocs – I got the same chemical burns which are very slow to heal – very painful.
    they are lightweight & so comfortable, I wore them again and the burns were worse the 3rd time. No more Crocs for me! – Rose

  • Bron
  • Nona Roach

    Are they Made In China and smell like chemicals? Tylee’s got worse after they stunk so bad that I thought I would wash them. Water seemed to activate the chemical although they looked almost like swim shoes! Of course Wal Mart immediately took them off the shelf in their Owasso store but left them on everywhere else!