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Wendy Bumgardner

Shoe Allergies

By March 13, 2010

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Margaret writes, "I am allergic to substances used in very, very many shoes -- as are an increasing number of people.

"When it first happened to me, I thought I must be crazy.† Bought a new pair of walking shoes, wore them for one hour (with socks) on my treadmill, and afterward the skin on the tops of my toes and feet felt irritated and itchy.† I wore those shoes a total of three one-hour stints, resulting in the tops and soles of my feet feeling chemically burned and incredibly itchy.

"For weeks, whenever my feet got hot, the intense burning and itching returned, making my feet feel like I'd been stung by bees.† (Since that initial acute reaction, I have developed reactions to many of my other shoes that had not previously bothered me to a noticeable degree.)

"Thinking I must be nuts, I Googled "shoe allergy" and found that I am not crazy and I am not alone.† I found a forum of people all discussing shoe allergies and a list of the most common allergens, which include glues, dyes, tanning chemicals, rubber accelerators, etc.

"My dermatologist had a "shoe kit" and tested me for all the most common culprits, but we†didn't†find what substance(s) I am allergic to.† He said he could continue testing with a longer list, but it would be expensive and then there is the problem†that shoe manufacturers†can't usually tell you or guarantee you†what is or is not used in any given shoe, anyway.

"Now,†every single pair of shoes I buy, whether†athletic shoes, dress shoes,†sandals, etc., I have to buy them, wear them around inside for several†hours, and try to determine if my feet are going to react.† Sadly, most shoes do cause a reaction, and†then I have to return them and start over.† Margaret."

I myself have had a wide variety of allergies.† I found several research studies that confirmed that people have allergies to a wide variety of adhesives, rubber chemicals, and leather treatments used in shoes and insoles.† Often, the allergy produces contact dermatitis.† As Margaret points out, this can be painful and distressing.† Ultimately, you have to learn how to avoid the chemical that is causing it.†† Because shoes use a wide variety of possible irritants, it can be very hard to find shoes that don't cause a reaction.† Even if a certain manufacturer and style is OK today, the next pair may come from a different factory using different components.† I can only guess how maddening this is.

Do you suffer from shoe allergies?

March 18, 2010 at 11:27 am
(1) Regina says:

I believe I have; quite a few years ago I was having problems with intense itching and burning of my feet. There was never a rash, hives, or anything visible but I would be fine and then feel a tingling start somewhere on my feet and if I did not freeze and stand completely still my whole foot would break out in that sensation. If I scratched it it would be worse. The only thing I ever found to help was soaking my feet in ice water (obviously not something I wanted to do often). Finally I was put on a prescription allergy medication for seasonal allergies and realized some months later that I was not having the itching foot problem anymore. The funny thing is that until I read this article it never occurred to me that it was an allergy to something in my shoes–I always assumed it was just some freaky happening (my body is like that).

March 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm
(2) Cecile says:

I always have to look for shoes that are real leather or mesh canvas uppers or my feet sweat unbearably and break out in an itchy rash. Do not buy synthetic materials.

April 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm
(3) Jeff says:

Just wondering why, since this is a growing problem, are there no links on any of the pages written on this matter to manufacturers who do not use dermatitis-causing agents in their shoes? I have been suffering for over 27 years (thanks, Mercaptobenzylthiazole and Latex) with shoe allergies and have painstakingly researched companies who do not use these chemicals in their shoes. Why not make it a little easier on all of us and give at least a couple of links to reputable manufacturers? Just asking, that’s all…
Oh, and if you don’t mind spending $150 to $450 for a pair of shoes…Cydwoq (pronounced “sidewalk’) a California-based company uses vegetable dyes which do not contain MBT. I have 4 pairs and have not had many issues from them.

April 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm
(4) walking says:

Jeff, I didn’t link to any purported allergen-free shoes because the list of things that people CAN be allergic to is never-ending. I say that as an allergy-sufferer. If I pointed to a shoe/manufacturer that says they don’t use x,y,z, then by golly they might use natural xx and there will be people out there allergic to natural xx. And just because something is natural doesn’t mean it won’t cause contact dermatitis. The problem isn’t any one chemical or family of chemicals, it is our bodies that are hyper-responsive to anything they contact.

But thanks for sharing that cleverly-named manufacturer. I am all for people pointing others to things that MIGHT help, or that helped them. But I can’t see that there can be one product that will help every sufferer.

April 26, 2010 at 12:27 pm
(5) Joel says:

In the last 5 years, I’ve developed a contact dermatitis from athletic shoes. I’ve had problems with Brooks, New Balance, and Nike. My next step is to try washing a pair to see if it might be dye related. If not, I guess I’ll try canvas?

Any other thoughts?

June 20, 2010 at 10:05 pm
(6) Angie says:

I have recently been experiencing allergic reactions on my feet after wearing canvas shoes, including sperrys. The itch is extremely distracting. I suspect that my reaction to these shoes may have been delayed by a previous perscription containing steroids. Thank god I found this site. I was beginning to think that I was the only one.

November 19, 2010 at 6:08 am
(7) Rita Drake says:

I got a terrible red itchy rash on the back of my heels after wearing cheap canvas shoes with no socks it went on for weeks and ended up I needed antibiotics and a special cream to stop the itch which by now my heels had a bad infection.
My doctor thought the shoes may have been sprayed with some chemical. very painful

January 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm
(8) Janise says:

Suffered with this from 2003 until now. Treated for psoriasis for 7 years. I lost all of the skin off my feet. I moved to a different state and was hospitalized 4 months after I arrived because my feet were so inflamed. The dermatologist who treated did a second biopsy and determined that I am allergic to several chemicals. Found a site posted by Frances J Storrs MD from Oregon Health & Science university. This information was dated January 2004. Several manufactures listed who will make shoes. But this is very expensive. Another sources is “Jellies” he stated in the article that “Jellies” sandals are move of rubber free plastic materials. One source is Melissa Grendha Shoes Corporation (888)887-0808. http://www.melissausa.com
I wonder if there is some kind of support group available. Perhaps if we can ban together we can get the attention of a shoe manufacturer. Need to try and find out howw many of us are out there. If there is a demand for a chemical free shoe someone will make it.

January 12, 2011 at 4:30 pm
(9) WIll says:

Actually, I had the same problem and found out it was the leather tanning materials (chromium) that I was allergic to. These are found in dress shoes and athletic shoes that are made with genuine leather. Found off brand (cheap) all man made dress shoes that I wear everyday and not a problem. As long as there is no genuine leather in the athletic shoes, there is no problem.

January 22, 2011 at 8:52 am
(10) Janise says:

Have had a problem since 2003. My feet got so bad I was hospitalized. Planning to start a blog or web page with links to more information. Tried to get into the Melissa usa web site but I had a problem. There is a place in Michigan that makes a sandal from billboard vinyl. It is called Paper feet. Hope to have blog up and running by March. Have gathered other websites for latex free garments. One thing you may want to try is consistently getting new socks. Seems the socks absorbed chemicals from your shoes at least that was listed in one of the sites. Remember if you have a latex allergy the elastic in your socks is latex.

February 3, 2011 at 11:46 pm
(11) Monica says:

I have an allergy to leather sandals. Clarks etc. After wearing the shoes, my feet break out in blisters like a severe case of poison ivy. They itch terribly on the tops. I have noticed that I can wear shoes manufactured in China, but not in Brazil. I read on an internet blog several years ago that BORN shoes are great for people with shoe allergies. I had several pairs of BORNs prior to finding out about my allergy. I try to buy BORNs whenever possible. It is cheaper to buy BORNs than experiment with other brands. I usually don’t have a problem with shoes when I wear socks.

February 8, 2011 at 3:01 am
(12) Tracy says:

My son is 13 years old and he is struggling with cracked sore bleeding feet. Excluding the heals. The cracks are very deep and look like they need stitches to keep the skin together and he is very much into sports which can be very painful for him. I have had to apply polysporin and stitching tape secured with bandages to keep it all together. Apparently his dad had issues as well but only if he wears shoes that do not have a white sole. After suffering with his cracked, bleeding feet so that he can wear the shoes he wanted, i’m happy to say that today my son has finally had enough suffering and got two new pairs of shoes with white soles for only $40 instead of $130 for one pair with colored soles. He did not have a whole lot to choose from but hoping this will help his feet to heal. After reading about all the other issues that could be the problem other than the dies in the soles of the shoes….i’m praying we got it all under control with just buying shoes with white insoles. My concern is there could be many people out there suffering from dry cracked feet and don’t have a clue it’s the shoes. Of all the sites i looked at for dry cracked feet the websites mostly talked about the all to common cracked heels. I’m actually really thankful that my sons dad and his mother had it all figured out when he was a kid because i bet it could be pretty expensive and time working with doctors to figure out the problem otherwise a lifetime of suffering and perhaps infections. Perhaps this site can be added as a link for Dry Cracked Feet as well as Shoe Allergies for anyone searching dry cracked feet symptoms not thinking they have shoe allergies?

March 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm
(13) Janet says:

I have also been suffering with major foot eczema for years. After patch tests from my Derm it was determined that I am allergic to Thiourea, Carba, and thiuram mix. (Surprisingly there are very few Dermatologists who even think to send you for these tests, they just keep giving you new creams that don’t work). These chemicals are in glues, foams, rubbers etc. I was reacting to my orthotics. I also have this problem on my hands and have found that I react to the rubber grips on gym equipment.
The problem is I can’t seem to find a glue that I can use to glue a leather top onto the plastic orthotic shell. I have been to several orthotic makers no one can help. Does anyone have a suggestion? There must be a product out there somewhere?

If I could just get my orthotics re-made it might save me from coming in contact with my shoes because we all know how impossible it is to find shoes without these chemicals.

BTW, my derm said I have to get all new socks because these chemicals stay in the material after washing.

April 11, 2011 at 10:16 am
(14) James says:

I’ve suffered with contact dermatitus since I was born, I’m now a 26 year old male and it makes life rather difficult. Certain brands cause me to react, for example I cannot wear Nike shoes, ever, they always cause a reaction. I recently owned a pair of Sperry Topsiders that I LOVED. I picked up another pair in a different color and boom, allergic reaction again. It’s very frustrating and limits the type of footwear one can buy or think of buying. I play a lot of football, too, and some cleats cause the reaction and some do not. It’s somewhat random, but I must say that I have owned multiple pairs of Adidas shoes and I have never reacted to them. Perhaps they use different glues/chemicals?

Anyhow, it would be nice if a company could start making stylish, comfortable shoes without dyes or chemicals that cause a reaction. The only time I know I’ll be fine when buying a pair of shoes is when they’re high end leather, they never seem to cause a reaction. Thankfully.

April 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm
(15) Jessica says:

Wow…I didn’t know that this was so common. I have been suffering from contact determatitis on the top of my toes and/or top side of my foot (wherever the strap is touching). I wear a lot of high heels with straps and started to notice how itchy my foot was feelin (the top of my toes especially) after about an hour of taking off my shoes. My feet look like I went hiking barefoot in the mountains. I get these red rashes and then it turns into a little bump like blister. UGH! I am tired of running to the bathtum to soak my feet in cold water! That is the only way I can get instant relief. My husband wants to put gloves on my hands when I go through my itchy spells. Can anyone recommend any type of cream besides Cortisone or Desonide?

May 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm
(16) Karen says:

I just started my 5 day patch test and the dermatologist suspects a rubber allergy. I have been suffering with problems on my hands and feet mostly, also previously at the bra line and underwear elastic area. I’ve changed undergarments in the last years and those areas are barely an issue. I’m a shoe collector, of shoes I wear, so if it turns out to be a shoe allergy, I might have trouble. But the doctor says I may be able to use alternate insoles. I should wear orthotics in most shoes and I don’t know if what I’ve been using is aggravating things. My mouse pad at work might be a culprit too. I’m all for banding together and pushing shoe manufacturers to stop using chemicals. I’ll contact my fav shoe makers if my test results point to it to start the conversation.

May 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm
(17) Laurie says:

Thank you everyone. It has been 2 1/2 years, 6 doctors, many, many prescriptions and I am now doing patch testing as one thank you very smart doctor did a biopsy on my foot and figured out it was an allergic reactions. Your comments and thoughts will hopefully let me get to the bottom of it. I have the dry, cracked feet and side of feet that bleed; also my skin gets thick. I have walked around covered in bandaids and antibiotic for years taking Tylenol for the pain. It seems to happen with leather, plastic, and suede shoes. I think I can wear running sneakers and socks. Vanos a strong prescription cream seems to work but it can only be used for a couple of weeks. It does help to clear it up so I can start fresh. Thanks for the tips on the socks, as I never considered they would be ineffective after wear.
I will keep checking this site. It has been amazing and helpful.

May 18, 2011 at 11:43 pm
(18) Melissa says:

this website is great
my daughter has been suffering beyond,on steroids, antibiotics, tons of creams and we finally just found out she has a severe allergy to rubbers, leathers, etc in shoes. I am still waiting for the report to find out exactly what I have to avoid and for now I am totally stumped. I cant find cotton peds for kids, and have no idea which shoes are bad and which are good. RIght now her feet are so infected and inflamed that I cant experiment until it improves.
What have people heard about crocs. Certain styles have no leather and no rubber

May 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm
(19) shumake says:

I have had severe sensitivity to shoe material sense I turned 17,am now 57. Originally the source was potasiumdichromate used in hard finished leather. Disturbing,… many chromate compounds are listed as carcinogenic now. Avoided this for years selecting suede leather, fabric, or white leather. Synthetic leather became popular,same problem,solution — avoid. Then glue, again — avoid. Try to find a pair of shoes now today that does not have one or . I am tired of schlepping around in house slippers. But have little choice, last run in was glue, before raw area could heal developed infection in right leg. Find source let me know.

May 26, 2011 at 11:46 am
(20) Janet says:

After weeks of saying my son has a severe case of athletes foot.. and him spending the last 4 weeks wearing white cotton socks and nike mens slides ( the ones that are so popular with teenagers).. he is still reacting. So today they decided it must be a allergy to the plastic/petrochemical/glue/neoprene in his shoes.
The doctor wants him to wear canvas or leather for the next 4 weeks and then try his other shoes again to see if he reacts.

After looking for shoes without any of those things I swear I am going to make him a pair of soft sole shoes from a pattern I have here. for summer I’m making him a pair of hemp sandals

May 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm
(21) Jennifer says:

After wearing a Sperry show for about two hours, my feet broke out in significant rash. I thought I had originally stepped in poisen Ivey. I had bought two pairs.when I wore second pair, exact same thing happened so I know it came from the Sperry shoe. Strange. I am going to have both pairs tested. Never had something like this happen before. I also noticed That sorry was sponsoring this link.

June 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm
(22) Carole says:

I have the same problem……only in the summer when feet sweat and try to wear sandals….doc seems to think it is the glue….I not sure since I don’t break out in the winter. Doc told me to put deodorant on top of feet and this seems to work but you have to re-apply it several times a day. Deodorant doesn’t work if foot is already broken out.

June 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm
(23) Pam says:

I have had the same problem for over 20 years with my feet. They break out in April, then it goes away in Sept. or October. I am now wearing terry cloth lined house shoes. Does anyone have I link they will share with me, so I can see if I can find some kind of shoe to wear in the summer? I have been to many, many, doctors and dermatologist. No one can figure out the probelm. One doctor did a biosopy (sp) on my feet, and said it is not psorosis. I have tried every cream, and steroid shots and pills, and nothing works. Can someone give me a link to check out?? I will forever be greateful.

June 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm
(24) Joan says:

I too have reacted to Sperry Topsiders much to my surprise- it is just canvas but must be treated with some chemical to preserve longevity due to water exposure? First time I wasn’t sure it was the Sperry – it developed into a very itchy red rash with hives – two days ago I tried again – only had them on a few hours and WOW – it was dramatically worse – inflamed, red and burned – the doctor said it is a chemical burn- that blistered severely – was burning and every step or weight bearing movement caused further blistering and cutting on the top and sides of my feet – antihistamine and cortisone cream is arresting the situation and providing relief but that was scary – would like to know the cause of the allergy

June 25, 2011 at 2:18 pm
(25) John Lane says:

Glad I found this site. have worn Sperry leathers for years, with no problems. purchased the sperry canvas haylyard within 2 hours feet were burning & itching.Removed shoes & cleaned feet well. Six hours later I was in the local hospital emergency room with severe blistering.The emergency room dr. thought I had burned my feet. when I told him about the shoes, he said contact dermitist.prescribed steroids for swelling & inflamation, & salve to avoid infection. Follow up appointment in three days. As I am a diabetic you can imagine the concern not only from my doctors but myself also.A couple thousand dollars spent already,for emergency room,regular Dr. & meds.

July 4, 2011 at 1:08 pm
(26) Nancy says:

I, too, get a severe allergic reaction to the leather in a particular sandal I wear. My very expensive MBT sandals were made in Korea. I only wear one other brand of sandal, Mephisto, and have never had a reaction to them. They are made in Portugal. The cure for my red, itchy, blistery rash is prescription strength corisone cream from my dermatologist. I have put adhesive tape where the leather touches my skin and worn socks with the sandals. This minimizes it, but I still get an itchy rash. Too bad, as it is the only shoe I can walk in pain free due to arthritis.

July 19, 2011 at 12:20 am
(27) snowbuzz says:

Wow, this is the first active thread I’ve found about this!! I have dermatitis on the back half of each foot, as well as several other places on my body. Patch testing showed a severe reaction to potassium dichromate (chrome, in leather tanning, and some dyes), carba mix (rubber accelerator), and nickel. I cannot find a pair of sneakers that don’t mess up my feet; in fact at this point i can only wear flip flops and shoes like mules that only contact the top/front of my foot..otherwise just the rubbing my foot as I walk will make my skin bleed. :(

My doctor gave me a steroid ointment and told me to put it on my rash at night and then wrap the area in plastic wrap while i sleep; that helps somewhat. In case anyone doesn’t know, if you’re allergic to carbamate or chrome make sure to read ingredients on cosmetics, face wash, shampoo etc., particularly green eyeshadow and some black mascaras often contain “chromium oxide greens.”

Good luck to us all! I’m thinking of starting a blog about this stuff; if and when i do i’ll come back and post the link :)

August 6, 2011 at 6:30 am
(28) Chris says:

Got the same thing. Good to hear I am not the only one. For me the worst are sneakers and ski boots in the winter. I have tried just about every running shoe and none is good. Worst seem to be Nike as was mentioned in one of the earlier posts as well. Any ideas? By the way, most deodorants seem to cause similar reactions.

August 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm
(29) Geraldine says:

Hi, reading all your comments makes me feel as though I have another family out there that understands what it’s like to try to live with sore feet. I’ve suffered with eczema and psoriasis on different parts of my body since I was 15yrs old. I am now 57 and just had another dose of patch testing done which has again confirmed I’m allergic to a list of things that I will not bore you with. It all boils down to the fact that for the past 5yrs I’ve been allergic to shoes. I have been advised to find vegan or vegeterian shoes. The sites that I’ve found are mostly in the USA and Italy.You can find the list of them if you google http://thiuramallergy.blogspot.com and the blog is quite useful I found.

August 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm
(30) amel says:

I ALSO developed a horrible painful rash from wearing my new Sperry Topsiders! This is the first time I get an allergic reaction to shoes, but I guess I don’t usually wear leather shoes. One more reason to switch to vegan.

August 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm
(31) Will says:

I also develop a rash on the tops of my feet when I wear my Sperry Top Siders 2-eye mocs (dark leather). While I am wearing the shoes I feel perfectly fine and do not itch, but soon after taking them off the itching starts and then small bumps appear that are almost impossible not to scratch. I found rinsing my feet with hydrogen peroxide, letting them dry, then applying Gold Bond Intense Healing cream works well for me.

August 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm
(32) Patrick says:

I’m very glad to see this site. Every time I have to explain the rash on my feet to people, they look at me strangely. I thought I was the only one. Mine started a few years ago when I wore a pair of Ariat boots constantly. The rash actually started half way up my calf where the top of the boot touched my leg. Then the tops of my feet were affected. Soon, any leather would set it off.

I bought some of those Nike slide-on sandals like Janet mentions in comment #21, and they have done the trick. I wore them for a week without wearing any other shoe, and my feet completely cleared up for the first time in years. So my problem is definitely contained in leather. Unfortunately, I can’t wear them everywhere.

Thanks for posting suggestions on what shoes to look for and stay away from. Very helpful!

August 29, 2011 at 7:05 am
(33) Louise says:

I have been ill for 2 weeks now. The GP thought it was viral or bacterial tonsillitis – my throat is red and sore, my tonsills are exudating (sorry if you are about to have tea!). I feel terribly tired and have developed an itchy, blistery rash. Blood tests now show a severe allergy and the tonsillitis is reactionary.
Drove home from work tonight and changed from my work crocs to shoes I recently brought and by the time I got home I had big blisters on my feet and was itching like mad. My feet are in a right state! I too thought I was a bit mad to think it might be my shoes but after reading this my husband and I are fairly convinced. The rash is generally everywhere but especially on my feet where it started on the ankles and toes.

September 8, 2011 at 4:23 am
(34) Perry says:

I was diagnosed with a chrome and nickel allergy some ten years ago. Nickel is in chocolate (cocoa beans) oysters, asparagus, beans and anything out of a tin. Chrome is used to cure leather. Every summer I think I can get away with wearing leather sandals and each time end up with the rash appearing and me finally scratching myself to a frenzy. I Googled “leather sandals for chrome allergy sufferers” and there are now chrome-free leather shoes and sandals on the market (here’s one that has some nice designs: http://www.snipe.com/en/news?page=1). Or perhaps get your local leather shop or shoe shop to put a fabric lining to your sandals? Until then, it’s back to the old flip flops or Crocs!

September 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm
(35) Anthony says:

It seems like a lot of people on here have had reactions to sperry top siders. I had a reaction to them as well and that is the reason I googled this problem. I had a pair that I wore and they got dirty so I washed them with oxy clean and I thought that was the reason I got a chemical burn. I bought another pair and the first time I wore them I got a chemical burn with a blister. I even wore them with socks. I am now thinking of calling sperry and asking what dies and glues they use so I know what I
Allergic to.

October 2, 2011 at 12:38 am
(36) Rose says:

I’m also glad to know that I’m not the only one. I’ve finally figured out it is a pair of Sperrys that is causing an allergic reaction on the top and sides of my feet. I have a rash, swelling and an itching/burning that is worse than when I had shingles. My doctor couldn’t figure out what had caused it, but after two week I finally got my feet healed and then I wore the Sperrys again and my feet are worse now than they were before. I’m going to need another round of steroids and two weeks of not wearing shoes. I think Sperrys should come with a warning label.

October 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm
(37) Cheryl says:

Please help…not sure if it is shoes. I started last November with a rash only on my legs below the knees. This lasted all summer, so not socks. My feet were fine and the rash on my legs per a biopsy showed Interface Dermatitis. which was no help at all. After antibiotics and steroids this is better, but my feet (bottoms) are a mess. I was wearing shoes all summer without socks and I noticed the bottom of my feet getting itchy and hot. Any tips to comfort my cracked heals,so I can walk?

October 9, 2011 at 10:04 am
(38) Bart says:

My 14 yr. old son has had the same symptoms for years (cracked, bleeding skin on the top of his feet. We first saw the symptoms when he played soccer and we blamed it on wet socks from playing in the rain too often. We assumed it was athlete’s foot. He now plays tennis at least 4 days a week and the rash became so bad we had to take him to the dermatologist. She recommended a steroid gel and to wear white, cotton socks. She thinks he may be allergic to the dyes and synthetic fabric used on his socks. Personally, I believe it may have to do with the materials used in his Adidas Barricade tennis shoes he’s been wearing since the beginning of the summer (his soccer cleats were Adidas also). I just bought him a pair of Nike tennis shoes to see if there’s any change.

October 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm
(39) mike kendrick says:

Wow, I too feel a sense of relief finding this site! I am 56 years old and this is my 3rd year suffering from some type of allergic reaction to something in my shoes. I thought I was crazy! It has only been a summer months problem so far. I discovered that getting my shoes wet, and wearing them for more than 5 minutes starts the whole thing. Then I’m doomed to months of torture. I’ve tried anything anyone suggests. Found somethings help, but momentarily! Glad to read about needing new socks, due to chemicals staying in them, I already discovered that and colored socks just send my feet into major burn and itch. I have been going shoeless as much as possible. I feel like top of my feet have chemical burn while soles itch intensely. I have noticed the skin on my feet, ankles and lower leg is bright red as well, when I first get out of bed, IF I have slept at all! I am now going to try different experimenting with different shoes, which will be difficult on my budget. I have already tried all leather, canvas and combinations of the two without success. I have found that soaking in warm water with bit of apple cider vinegar,for 5 min, followed by a 5 min soak in warm water with a little baking soda gives relief. BUT it intensifies the itch while soaking!? Also virgin coconut oil helps some too.

October 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm
(40) Cloud says:

I just spent 200.00 on diabetic shoes, now i have a itchy ugly rash top of one foot and along the tops of toes of both feet.
I can’t just return them, as they’re made to my feet. Is there anything that can be done so i can continue wearing them?

last time i had shoes that did this, it was because metal was made on them, and i’m allergic to metals.

but these are diabetic, no metals and yet here i have an itchy rash, and don’t know what to do.

October 25, 2011 at 10:25 am
(41) JC says:

I developed an allergy to shoe glue (PTBP- FR), or otherwise called formaldehyde resin a few months ago. I would get a burning, itching rash on the sole of my feet that would turn to cracked, peeling skin like I had been burned. There is a website that discusses this chemical PTBP-FR and another called potasium chromate that people are reacting to. This website has a list of shoe mfrs to avoid and a list of shoe companies who have indicated they do not use these chemicals. It was a lifesaver for me to find this website. Go to shoeallergies.50webs.com. Hope this helps all of you.

October 25, 2011 at 10:44 am
(42) JC says:

This is a correction to the above comment regarding chemical compound name…it’s potassium dichromate (chrome).

November 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm
(43) Bart says:

So I finally found the cause of my son’s allergic reaction: his rubber sandals! He came back from a weekend retreat and his left foot had flared up again (he’d been applying for the past couple of weeks a steroid cream the doctor had prescribed). He hadn’t worn his tennis shoes or synthetic socks, which had been suspected as being the cause. That left the sandals as the only possible villain. I told him to stop wearing them for a few days to see if his improved and sure enough, the rash disappeared. I can’t believe we completely missed this for almost 5 years!

December 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm
(44) ronnie says:

I never comment on these things, but felt compeeled. I do not have skin allergies, but this past summer purchased 2 pair of Sperrys and had a horrible reaction on my feet. Like one of the other posters, I thought I had poison ivy, but jsut couldn’t get rid of it. After weeks of wearing mostly flip flops and using a steroid cream, it finally cleared up only to come back as soon as I wore my Sperrys again. I think that judging from the number of comments specifically noting Sperrys as the culprit, the company needs to take a good look at their product. I for one will never buy another pair. Anyone need $130 worth of toxic canvas shoes.

December 15, 2011 at 4:48 am
(45) leigh says:

I am so relieved to find out I am not the only one who is crippled by sore feet.My dermo told me today that i probably have a shoe allergy> I am so glad there is a diagnosis as I am tired of trying creams that don’t work. I even bought a cream from the US because someone said it would help my condition.After waiting for three weeks to ship to Australia it was like pouring bleach on my feet! Allergy testing next week will determine what I am allergic to – next step will be finding shoes I can tolerate.I do hope they are stylish and have heels!

January 8, 2012 at 3:46 pm
(46) Amanda says:

Is anyone else out there allergic to colophony (pine resin found in shoe glue)? I was diagnosed about 6 months with this allergy and have been unable to wear shoes without socks ever since. The only shoes I have found that do not contain glue and are completely safe are Sanuks. They are a California show company and they are my savior! My problem remains, however, that I have not found dress shoes to which I do not react. The Sanuks are very casual, so when it comes to weddings, work and other more formal ocassions, I have a big problem! Any ideas?? Thanks everyone :)

January 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm
(47) Sammi says:

In response to (12) Monica’s comment about Born: Born used to be the only brand of dress shoes I could wear for comfort (very narrow heel, foot is overall narrow, but need wide toe box). I purchased Born Davina Aug 2011 in two different colors. After two months they reeked.
I have never had foot odor and none of my other shoes stink.
Just purchased the third color offered thinking the odor in the others was from something happening to my shoes (like kids spilling something on them) without my knowledge. When I took these out of the box my eyes, nose, and throat started to burn and my husband even complained.
Hidden on the inside lip of the box top is a sticker that stated the shoes were processed with chemicals (and may still contain some of the chemicals) that are known carcinogens. I am at a loss for dress shoes.

January 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm
(48) janine weston says:

Calling out to all Shoe Allergy sufferers. Please be a part of my Quest to find an answer…most importantly….find shoes. I’m calling out to sufferers, dermotologists, skin specialists, hospitals, doctors, shoe manufacturers, etc etc

Please visit a new site….just born…


We will find a resolution. We will find the shoes.

Thank you.

February 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm
(49) cathy says:

it’s a relief to know i’m not a freak and have some company. the worst culprit for me are running shoes, and as a runner, i’m not sure what to do. has anyone with shoe allergies had success with a particular brand?

February 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(50) diana says:

Wow — i too have suffered for the past 10 years. Like you all, i have been to 4 dermatologists, 2 allergists, now at an endocrinologist. I have been diagnosed with a shoe allergy (mercaptobenzothaizide and thiurum) the pain is incredible, the discomfort is intense.

I wear two layers of socks with shoes, use Cerave cream, a tar based mineral oil and a steroid ointment called taclonex. This helps alleviate the cry, cracked, cuts .. i only have the problem on the balls of my feet.

I have been told that birkenstocks are the only shoes that do not contain the allergens. i will admit, i do not have a problem when wearing these shoes.

the itch and burning is deep under the skin and intense. like an out of body experience. As an experienced shoe horse — having this problem is cramping my style. I used to have to gauze and wrap my feet in order to walk. I am dreading the summer.

I have also been told that jelly shoes are free from these allergens and will be going to a melissa shoe store on saturday – located in NYC.
but, these are expensive.

i have written to dr. oz and to the doctors — they don’t seem to be interested in this problem. maybe if more people write – we can wake them up.

this is a crazy problem any tips re welcome.

February 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm
(51) diana says:

I left out a couple of things. I live on Benadryl liquid gels. Sometimes having to take 2-3 at a time to relieve the itch.

change your socks a couple of times a day and throw them away after a couple of uses.

also — i have been told piano felt could be used as a pad inside the shoe and this should help. Piano felt is incredibly expensive and sold in large quantity — there is a website for http://www.thefeltpeople.com – they sell 100% wool felt and 100% polyester. My plan is to buy 1-2 yds of each and make pads for my shoes.

also — note that it’s not just the rubber in your shoes that affect you. it’s is rubber items in general. rubber grips, electrical cords, telephone cords (office) hairbrushes, hairbands, rubber arms on chairs (mostly office chairs) rubber backed carpets etc.

i have several pairs of birkenstocks and keep them at the office and in my home to put them on my feet when things get rough. they have become my new slippers.

I have also bought dr. schoolls gel inserts – and i read somewhere you can use dr. scholls foam pads .. though i haven’t tried those.

February 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm
(52) Julia Good says:

To (53) Cathy – I am a runner, too, and was very frustrated with the running shoes situation, but this has been my god-send: la Sportiva. It’s an athletic shoe company in Canada, and if you email them and ask them which of their ladies’ running shoe models are chrome-free, they will tell you. Or if you can just list the ones you’re interested in. Not all of their running and hiking shoes are chromate-free, but a surprisingly high number of them are. I buy them in bulk! Good luck.

March 3, 2012 at 9:30 am


March 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm
(54) Jane says:

Another Sperry Topsider sufferer! Only the canvas ones bother me. I bought a pair that I took to Israel. First time I wore them, no problem; the second time my feet broke out in horrible rashes and blisters. I’d been in the Dead Sea that day and thought it might be a reaction to the salt. I washed the shoes and wore them again and within an hour my feet were broken out in a painful rash. Thinking it was just a problem with those particular shoes I bought a new pair of canvas topsiders, wore them all day today comfortably, but within a few hours of taking them off my bare feet were covered again with rashes and blisters. I won’t make the same mistake the third time!

March 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm
(55) michele says:

I have a 2 1/2 year old who has been suffering with the MBT allergy and many others. I have been looking for some support. She is starting pre school in september and the only shoe I have found are UGG boots. I have no smeaker or any type of shoe. I would be open to all suggestions..My daughter has been sick for over a year. please help.

March 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm
(56) Stacey says:

Sperry Topsiders!!!! They give me a hive-like rash on the tops of my feet and toes every time I try to wear a pair. Originally, I thought it was the dye on the first pair but after just a few hours in the second pair (years later), I got the rash again. I guess I can’t wear that brand of shoes any longer. I do wish that I could pinpoint the thing causing these episodes.

March 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm
(57) toni says:

I paid $200 for a pair of asics and now I have craters in my feet from itching and not a lot of sleep with it and its hard not wearing any shoes in the job I am working in. So it looks like it doesnt matter how much you pay they all must have this chemical in it. I have to wash my socks before I where them because they cause the same reaction but I didnt think that I would have the same reaction from expensive shoes.

March 30, 2012 at 12:43 am
(58) brandon says:

Hello, I seem to have some kind of sensitivity to most shoes I seem to get mentally withdrawn from being sensitive to some of the chemicals found in the shoes, yes it sounds crazy but its so true and it sucks because I can’t buy some of my favorite shoes because I’m so sensitive to them Wtf. I also seem to have an issue with the antimicrobial shoe insoles they seem to do something not good with my mental state. Thanks for your blog thingy. Brandon

April 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm
(59) Gigi says:

Ok, at least I am not alone. I did read that spraying the inside of shoes with an antiperspirant ( like Arrid extra dry) can help.
Thanks everyone for sharing the miseries that I have had with shoes!

April 4, 2012 at 7:20 am
(60) Jan says:

My daughter wore a pair of Sperry’s without socks and we thought she got athletes foot fungus. Washed several times and still happens. She just bought another pair and BAM. Same thing! Both pair are canvas. After reading these comments it makes sense. She gets a red rash on tops of toes and feet as well as the sides of her feet. We tried diluted bleach baths, but apple cider vinegar is what eases the itch the best for her. Cortisone lasts for only a few minutes and she can’t stand cold water!

April 4, 2012 at 7:21 am
(61) Shea says:

I also developed the contact dermititas from my canvas Sperry Topsiders and after seeing that so many people had the same issue I searched so see if there had been any litigation (class-action suit). Though I didnt not find anything, I took pictures and will hold on to the pair just in case.

They should be required to enclose a warning on the level/strength of the chemicals and that their shoes should not be worn without socks if that is the case.

Def something fishy going on…..

April 9, 2012 at 9:50 am
(62) Carmen says:

I just bought some perry high tops they fold over and have a flanel type of look to them i love how they look. But i wore them for a couple of days and now I have hives on the back of my heals and tops of my feet, I thought i had got athletes foot from them or smg. But everyday it gets worse I guess i’m alergic to them.

April 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm
(63) Lilian says:

Was surprised by the allergy department of my local teaching hospital when they diagnosed chrome allergy amongst many others. Like one of the earlier postings I had severely cracked heels and balls of my feet and constant itching. With great difficulty I have found vegetarian shoes (plastic) and chrome free leather shoes and my feet are like a baby’s again except when I make the mistake of wearing something with chrome in it and it starts all over again. Apparently chrome can be used in some plastic trainers so I approach all with caution, pleased to see that in Europe at least there are more manufacturers aware of this. Best thing I think we can do is keep asking and make the manufacturers aware there is a growing demand for “cleaner” shoes.

April 15, 2012 at 9:05 pm
(64) katie says:

I found this website that has socks to prevent the dyes from leather to cause allergic reaction. they are in the UK, and you have to do a little digging on the internet to find a distributer…but they are out there.


April 28, 2012 at 6:13 am
(65) Gina says:

I am currently trying to work out what makes my feet tingle/burn/itch in the evening – especially tormenting at bedtime! Could it be my rubber sandals?socks?nylon carpet?allergy to grasses?diet?Vit B deficiency?food allergy? or something more serious? There is never any visible signs of itching, only intense discomfort. So I’m seriously looking at my rubber sandals. Meantime the best remedy I have found is a skin toner containing : lavender, apple cider vinegar, aloe juice, calendular, witch hazel, rose water, manono and matai, also orange, tangerine, sandalwood and lavender essential oils. Secondly lavender body cream seems to soothe the buzzing too. I’m going to try an ACVinegar tonic, also magnesium/calcium capsules which have helped in the past with ‘restless leg syndrome’ and sleep headaches.

April 29, 2012 at 6:14 am
(66) Emily says:

That’s the problem – Sperry Topsiders! I bought them for my husband years back and they are great on him. But not so for me. I thought it was some sort of fungus, or mold from the canvas shoes as it gets quite damp in Hong Kong. I’ve gotten rashes twice from them, but after months of resting, I decided to take the chance again and wore them yesterday. Now I have swollen feet and toes, and nasty blisters… the itch is BAD. Throwing them away this minute after reading all these similar stories, no matter how much I spent on these seemingly good and comfortable shoes. What a shame! Does anyone know of any other brand that is similar to the topsiders in design that does not give a rash?

May 18, 2012 at 3:08 am
(67) Peter J says:


I bought a pair of sperrys about 2 years ago and after a few days of wearing with socks broke out into a deep red rash along the lining of the shoe along with giant blisters that took about a week to go away. I did no research and thought I just bought a pair of funky shoes. Yesterday I purchased another pair of sperry top-siders and after about 2 hours of wear I started to feel the itch and that’s when I came across this blog. I am in insane pain and itching that are relieved through antihistamine cream.

How is this allowed to happen? Anyone out there a lawyer?

May 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm
(68) Spinelli says:

I have the same problem with Sperry’s – an itchy rash on the top of my toes and feet. I thought it was a heat rash at first, but I’ve narrowed it down to the Sperry’s. It’s worse every time I wear them. They’re canvas Topsiders.
I’ve never had an allergic reaction to anything before, not even poison ivy. Nothing seems to help except ice packs. I find this all very bewildering.

May 29, 2012 at 7:18 am
(69) carolyn Corliss says:

I thought I was alone in this. A violent reaction with the loss of skin on the soles of both feet resulted in Septacaemia and hospitalisation for one week. I am considering getting bespoke shoes made since it is impossible to find out what is in the shoes before paying out yet again and having to throw away. It is the gas from the butyl based glues that affect my feet. At the very least they are itchy, tingling and swollen, at worst can break out again,.

How can I look elegant once more??

June 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm
(70) Larry says:

I have recently been diagnosed with allergic to carba-mix that is often found in rubber soles and insoles. So I am switching to Crocs as hopefully a solution. My question, the allergic reactions I have been having show up on my arms, legs and trunk, but not on my feet.

Could the bad reaction still be connected to my shoes even though the skin eruptions are on other areas of my body.

Thanks to anyone that might have an insight on this.

June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm
(71) Lindaem says:

So last season (2011) I ordered 3 pair of keds (white, green, pink). For the first time in my life, after wearing the new pink ones, after about 2 hours the tops of my toes and right up to where the shoe ended on the top of my foot, broke out. It was a bright red irritation that started to develop into a huge blister when I scratched it. The itching was SO bad that I wanted to scratch it hard until it bled – thinking that would stop the itch. Both feet. Had worn keds since back in the day and it had never happened before. A couple of month later I put the green ones on. Same result! This season I went to Nordstrom and saw the cutest SPERRY canvass shoes. Wore them once and no problem. Wore them for the second time last night for a much longer time and guess what? I woke up at 2 am and the tops of my feet were on fire! I scratched until I stopped myself b/c that does no good. I did put Aveeno !% Hydrocortisone Anti-item Cream on them and reapplied 3 times today. They are not itching as much. BOTTOM LINE: I’m allergic to canvass???? Wore the very same brands as a teen and young adult and nothing like this happened. Makes me WONDER if the giant sucking sound (NAFTA) that Ross Perot talked about in ’90 is putting our health at risk. MY BOTTOM LINE: Don’t buy anything that isn’t made in the USA. How do we know those countries aren’t trying to poison us in some way?

June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm
(72) Lindaem says:

Class Action Suit? I’m game. Have taken photos next to the offending shoes. Willing to go to court with perfectly healthy feet and put the canvass Sperry’s and Ked’s on so the jury can see how the rash develops! I’ll join in a Class Action if someone else wants to do the heavy lifting to get it going. lindaem2003@yahoo.com.

June 25, 2012 at 11:37 am
(73) ira von Hombracht says:

I have a plastic allergy that some plastics set off and some do not so it is very frustrating. My feet get itchy welts and scaly spots on the sides and bottom of my left foot only. A dermatologist said it was moccasin foot fungus and gave me steroid creams to treat it. Got no explanation as to why my right foot was not infected. The steroid creams helped for a while but the condition would always come back. Then I noticed that contact with some plastic items would make my hands and feet swell and get red and itchy. Most of my shoes were plastic/rubber sandals or shoes with “man made” insoles. Switched to BORN leather sandals that i got on Ebay to help with the cost. Did some research and found that it is probably the chemicals that are used in making the shoes that mostly come from China. Even shoes that are made in other countries can have materials that are made in China so it is hard to get around it. My shoe repair man says nowadays, shoe manufacturers can say a shoe is leather but can be using a leather composite for the insole which has some synthetic material in it. This is a summer problem because wearing socks and tights in the winter shields my feet from the insoles and they have a chance to clear up. So in the summer, if i have to wear a shoe the has a man-made insole, the moccasin foot condition returns. I am a BeautiControl consultant and one of our products is a seaweed scrub masque. It is designed to draw impurities from your face but i started putting it on my left foot with a sock and leaving it on overnight. It clears up the welts and scaly spots so i do this once a week or so to keep my feet looking nice. As more and more companies use foreign made materials, these types of problems will continue. Even if you by “made in the USA” shoes, there is no guarantee that some part of the shoe material did not come from China and won’t have these irritant chemicals in it.

June 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm
(74) John Skins says:

My feet have been itching and burning the past couple of weeks…I can’t tell if its from the new dress socks, new tennis shoes or new dress shoes I bought (all within the last 3 weeks). I just moved to Colorado and got these new purchases for work, and It’s driving me nuts. I still am not sure if it’s Athlete’s foot or if it’s an allergic reaction. I don’t have a rash and my skin isn’t dried out at all…anyone have any ideas?

June 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm
(75) Deb says:

I too developed a foot reaction after some nice Born sandals irritated the side of my foot. the soles of my feet erupted and my heels. Eventually after years of trial and error, doc discovered I was allergic to carba compounds which includes latex and I believe neoprene (some foot inserts). Test for fungus and other infections were negative. I find that soaking my feet in apple cider vinegar brings relief and some healing. I also use creams under my socks… when the reaction is bad: zinc oxide preparations seem to form a strong barrier to allergans. I have less of a reaction with Ariats and wooden sole shoes and some Uggs. Crocs are OK too depending on one’s sensitivity to latex.. I called the company and they reported that no rubber glue is used on crocs made of one uniform piece of material. so would be latex free Still searching for a rubber free walking or running shoe. I am told PW Minor makes some. Good luck everyone.

July 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm
(76) islanddreams65 says:

I have had the same problem with shoe sensitivity for the last number of yrs. Mine is tingling in the feet and hot feeling. I also developed problem with car interiors due to the foams and plastics. 30 cars to date and react respitory and contact. It is getting harder out there with the increasing chemicals, I wish there was more support because people pick on a person with these problems, which make it even worse to deal with an already difficult situation.

July 24, 2012 at 8:31 am
(77) Natalie Kate Lloyd says:

Hi. I’m so glad I have found this website. I’m not the only one!

I recently bought a pair of those famous basketball canvas trainers. I’ve always worn them before with no problems. This time I bought the all black version.

My heels and underneath of one foot broke out in a slightly swollen red reaction. The skin is smooth and raw. It’s unbearably itchy and burning, stopping me from sleeping. The skin is so raw, that it hurts to touch.
I washed my shoes hoping that some of the dye or some substance would wash out. But the reaction has happened again.

I have tried steroid cream, and all sorts of creams prescribed and off the counter. None worked. The only thing that will calm it is the strongest of allergy tablets. And soaking your feet in water for the mean time.

July 27, 2012 at 10:09 am
(78) Mike says:

I have suffered for 8 years with blisters on the soles of my feet, and the palms of my hands. They would itch, crack, and were quite painful. Finally, my dermatologist did patch testing (T.R.U.E. Test) and found I have allergic contact dermatitis related to rubber accelerants (chemicals used in the manufacturing of rubber). I have found that Crocs do not contain these chemicals, because the soles of the shoes are made from a closed cell foam resin. They have more styles than just the typical clog sandals. I have some that are canvas, and some that are leather. They have been great for me, and really comfortable. Rashes on the tops of feet are typically dye or glue related. I am still trying to find some athletic shoes that do not have rubber soles, but so far have not had luck. I hope this info can help someone else, as I know how this problem can really lower your quality of life.

August 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm
(79) Tanya says:

I have been suffering with a shoe allergy since I was 20 im now 40.I am allergic to Thiuram Mix a chemical in Latex,Rubber, Elastic etc & also Colophony which is in adhesives, glues, make-up,etc It’s a contact dermatitis so im told just to stay away from it.Buying shoes is horrible.I cannot wear any kind of tennis shoe or cloth interior shoe.I have to feel & look at every shoe i buy.Its so depressing. I can find sandals no problem but now looking for a work boot type shoe made of leather.Socks are an issue finding with no elastic, bras, panties you name it i cant wear it so any help will be wonderful.

August 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm
(80) Lavie says:

Sperry…same thing!!! Bought a pair of canvas sperrys on sale and broke out so bad, this had never happened before. Did not want to believe it was the shoes because I love sperry, so I bought another pair of sperry canvas shoes…same thing. When wearing these shoes I break out with blisters on the top of my feet really bad. Some one told me to use vick vapor rub to soothe the burning and itching and it worked, it dried up the blisters. No more sperry for me!

August 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm
(81) Fred says:

It’s evening, my feet are burning, I just took off my Sperry topsider and thwebsites the net. The only relief is that I discovered reding all these posts that I’m not alone. It’s frustrating that it seems that there is nothing to do but…. Throwing away the shoes. We’re so many that I hope Sperry will do something…

August 14, 2012 at 9:38 am
(82) Alison says:

I had a really bad reaction to shoes I had bought this past summer. I wore them for maybe 1 hour with no socks. The next morning I woke up with a terrible red itchy rash and soon developed blisters all over. My doctor said it was allergic contact dermitisis and gave me some cream medicine which made it start to feel better within an hour. I wish I new exactly what caused this so maybe somehow I can figure out what shoes have it and what don’t.

September 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm
(83) James Connery says:

Just as Mike (82), I’ve suffered from an allergy to the rubber accelerators (mercaptobenzothiazole). I’ve used crocs for a few years now and have never had a problem with them. Some of them look like normal shoes and most people don’t even realise they’re crocks. Definitely worth a look for anyone suffering from MBT allergy.

September 4, 2012 at 9:47 pm
(84) Dot Byrne says:

Benn suffering with potassium dichromate and formaldehyde allergy since 2000 its been a nightmare, The only shoes i have any comfort with are Crocs, and in fairness they now are up dating their styles!
Anything man made are fine but if there is any leather in them im in trouble ! Im using Dermovate ointment as if its going out of fashion but thats only thinning the skin more !
Its the nights when i have to go out to the plaster on the house for a scratch thats the worst… PLEASE stop using these products in shoes ! Before it kills someone with an anaphalactic reaction and they not knowing whats happening r why !

September 9, 2012 at 9:49 am
(85) Georgie says:

I have been allergic since 1980. I first noticed that a really nice pair of Clark sandles caused the toes and top of feet to itch like it wouldn’t be scratched! I was only 31 when all this started and I am 62 now so it been a while of suffering and experimenting with footwear. One day a shoe sales man told me about Birkenstock sandals and that is all I can wear that doesnt cause the horrible itch. Yes. I have worn them all year round even when it snows (luckily that doesn’t happen much in Georgia) They are not sexy, but I’d rather not itch. I want folks to know that I have thought a lot about why this is happening, and I keep coming up with Made in China/Korea/Taiwan/Mexico. It seems that since the USA went to cheaper labor to make their shoes we American’s have paid the price and then some…. Other countries do NOT have the same quality control or EPA strict requirements regarding chemical usage as the US does, and that could be the problem. I have just recently discovered that Crocs, and Toms shoes work for me too, so I am starting to get a small shoe wardrobe again for the first time in 30 years. I can’t tell you how sad I was to not be able to wear high heels for all these years which meant that I dressed according to my Birkenstock shoe styles, and looked like a Hippy…lol

BTW… Birkenstocks have a non allergenic CORK footbed, and I only by the ones that have the NON leather uppers and these are called “Papillon” series Birkenstocks. If you currently have a breakout to the shoes you are wearing, go buy some Papillon Birkies, and wear them for a week, apply 1% cortizone creme three times a day, and you will feel relief within 48 hours.

September 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm
(86) Beck says:

This past summer I started running. I brought myself I nice pair of Nike tennis. After a mouth my feet started to break out. My feet ened up truning purple and my roommate took my to the ER. Things are clearing up now, but Im now on the hunt for some new running shoe. I run on pavemnet , trails and do cross training. It sounds to me that finding the right type of shoe is a hit or miss, especilly seeing I dont know what I am allergy to. However, does anyone have any suggestions? Should I replace my shoes or wash them real good?

September 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(87) Leslie says:

I am so relieved to know that I am not the only person that has had this experience. I experienced the red itchy blisters after wearing a pair of flip flops that were made in China and a pair of canvas sneakers also made in China. The itching was intense and almost as bad as a case of poison ivy. The v-shaped red itchy area mimicked the the v-shape of my flip flops and it took almost a month to clear up.

Like other readers, I am very cautious when I purchase casual wear made in China. Recently I went to Payless to buy sneakers for a nephew and the the chemical smell that permeates the store made me sneeze and had my nose running from the minute I entered. I wish the CDC would take a stand with Chinese manufacturers.

September 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm
(88) Veronica says:

I am so glad to have found this site. I have suffered this summer, in particular, after wearing my Skechers sneakers when the weather was hot in July. I don’t know what I was thinking after having an allergic reactions years ago. I had gone to a university hospital and had a patch test which came back that I am allergic to “latex”.
Once the burning and itch starts it just becomes worst–I tried to wear leather sandles (Merrell) and it seemed to make things worse. The soles of my feet looked like they were burned and now the skin has hardened and splits esp. at the base of my toes. The itch is intense. After trying many different steroid creams and even neosporin w/ bandaides nothing seems to heal the skin. One thing that has been helping, lately, is “Bag Balm”. It contains only lanolin and some other soothing ingredients. No harmful creams that thin the skin. It looks like vaseline and really makes the skin feel supple. I don ‘t have this problem in winter. It seems that I can wear any shoe as long as the weather is cold. I think I am on the road to healing but it has been a long painful few months.

October 7, 2012 at 8:58 am
(89) Abigail says:

For christmas one year I received a pair of Sperrys that I was in love with, not the leather ones but they are grey with purple plaid and have purple on the inside. After wearing them the first day I got them, my feet broke out in a bad, itchy, bumpy rash. I really didnt know that do many people had this as well.. I thought I was just weird or something. Me and my mom, because I’m only 13, couldn’t understand what was wrong. Turns out now whenever I wear my Sperrys without socks, I have to suffer the consequences. When I didnt wear socks,I put Cortizone 10 on them and put on socks afterwards it usually went away in a couple days. Without doing this it would get really bad and so I would try to treat it ASAP. (I also tried washing them to see if the dye would weaken, but that failed to work.) (:

October 9, 2012 at 3:02 am
(90) Linda says:

It’s 3:00am and I couldn’t sleep because of my feeting itching so I decided to google this issue to see if there was and information out there on this problem….WOW, what a surprise! Three years ago I wore a pair of brand new veery expensive ostrich mules (all leather) without socks for about 6 hours. By morning my the tops of my feet had turned red like a severe sunburn. Now, any leather boot or shoe will do the same thing even with socks. It will clear up and I can go for months, but a certain shoe whether it’s a sandal, boot or dress shoe that touches the top of my feet will cause the same reaction.

Very irritating, but glad to know I’m not the only one with this problem.

October 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm
(91) cheryl says:

I have MCS. mulitiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. I get sick from just about everything that has a chemical or petroleum product. which is over 2.5 million different products. I have yet to find a shoe that I can wear or even have in my house. I also get breathing problems from footwear. I have to keep everyone elses shoes in a container when they are not being worn. If anyone can find me a shoe I can wear I would be sooooooooooooo happy. Hard to go anywhere in my socks….lol

October 10, 2012 at 11:57 am
(92) Becky says:

After 4 years of suffering with dried, cracked, itching, bleeding skin on my hands and feet, I have been diagnosed with an allergy to Black Rubber Mix which is very difficult. Most shoe manufacturers use this to make soles of shoes last longer. I cannot even have a case on my I-Phone. Definite lifestyle change and very expensive!

October 12, 2012 at 10:58 am
(93) JC says:

EVERYONE here with shoe allergies, there is a helpful website that discusses chemicals used in shoe manufacturing, which can cause skin reactions on feet. It lists shoe brands that are safe from these chemicals and those brands to avoid which use the chemicals. Go to http://www.shoeallergies.50webs.com.

October 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm
(94) lisa G says:

Finally people who know my pain but most of all the sources of my itch…I have had issues with shoes and rashes for 20 years. About 20 years ago a pair of grey leather boots did a huge number on my feet and legs. The reaction was so severe! Now I never know what it is that will flare me up. I had a car with tan leather interior that was fine then upgraded to a grey leather interior…what a mistake every where I touched the car had a rash especially my arms from the door. One hot summer day drove in shorts…my legs were horrible for weeks. Needless to say I traded in the car. Now its jewelry I have always worn..its tearing up my neck..j felt like a freak of nature! I’m glad I’m not alone but this bites!!!!

October 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(95) V Acker says:

After a year of raw, rashy feet, we discovered that my 13-year old son is allergic to MBT & Mercapto Mix, chemicals used in the manufacture of rubber and adhesives, as well as other products. So far, the only shoe manufacturer that has assured me they don’t use these chemicals is Kamik. For boys they sell only sandals and boots, but the sandals are secure and sporty, and sufficient for school gym class. (I guess I should be glad my son’s not really into sports.)

November 6, 2012 at 3:14 am
(96) Dianne says:

After reading all these comments now convinced my itchy maddening rash will never go away. Seems like I’ve tried everything and after having this “allergic” reaction firstly on my hands 4 years ago which then cleared and appeared on my feet 3 years ago. My hands were hideous and looked like crustations and then same thing on my feet which are worse in summer and no matter what shoes I wear they get worse. Hospitalisation because they were so bad and also diagnosed with golden staph. Strong antibiotics helped but now steroid cream makes them worse. Itchy red inflamed feet are driving me crazy and sometimes thin I would be better off if got them amputated. Might have to go live somewhere where never have to wear shoes.

November 15, 2012 at 7:48 am
(97) Teresa says:

Wow! Finally, I realize why shoes, sandals are causing my burning, blistered feet! I wore Okabashi shoes for years w/o a problem. The last batch I purchased cause serious blisters and peeling skin where the strap touches & burned the bottoms of my feet. I just purchased 2 pairs of Clark shoes as I had been wearing TheraSandals for 2 years, year round. I noticed when wearing the Clarks that my feet begin to burn with or without socks within 30-45 minutes. I have to remove my shoes and walk around barefoot for about an hour. They are comfortable shoes for my feet, too. I have arthritis in both feet so I was happy when I finally found these shoes. The shoe brands recommended are expensive, but I have spend 1,000′s of dollars in the last 10 years trying to find comfy shoes. At least Clark has a 30 day guarantee on their shoes, let’s see how good of a guarantee it is:)

November 19, 2012 at 9:02 am
(98) Mack says:

I found the cure for this miserable allergic rash. It’s sold at Tractor Supply Company. The product is Hooflex. It is located in the equine section. I tried every medicine available from the pharmacy and found very little relief. Hooflex will stop the itching in minutes and the rash will completely disappear within a couple of days. It may seem odd that one would turn to horse medicine, but those of you that have experienced this uncontrollable itching and burning will appreciate this product. Step 2 of the cure is to burn the Sperrys. I put on a pair new Sperrys for about twenty minutes two days ago. I realized my mistake when the tingle started. It had been about a year since my last contact with Sperry Topsiders and I assumed that it was an isolated incident. Wrong!! All Sperry Topsiders will cause the same allergic reaction. My feet were bleeding yesterday morning. Thank goodness I had some Hooflex left over from the last incident. The rash is almost gone this morning.

November 23, 2012 at 2:24 am
(99) lmayo says:

Wow. I am not alone. I have had the worse 4 months of my life. I almost gave up in late September. After 3 drs visits 3 emergency room visits it is still barely bearable. In late September my whole body was flaking. My black rug beside my bed would be speckled white with skin flakes. My bed sheets were red from my breaking my skin and bleeding over my entire body. My body was cover by a red fluch under the skin. At the beginning of October I got suspected my leather slippers and threw them away and replaced them with cheap $14 sandles. I amhoping that is the case. I am abandoning slippers altogether and going bare foot hoping the dryness around my feet clears up. The rest of my body isn’t flaking anymore bt the red flushness comes and goes. I am sleeping a little better.My palms are cracked dry too. I am going to continue reading comments. Nice to hear some people have answers. Every friend I have tries to diagnose but they cannot possibly understand the pain and misery involved. Good luck to you. I have saved this site as a favourite.

December 31, 2012 at 6:57 am
(100) Roy Firus says:

One answer is to always buy second hand -used-shoes
.Many of the chemicals have by then already been worn away or evaporated or at least diluted by time and wear.
Always put second hand shoes in a plastic bag and then in the freezer for 24 hours to kill any possible fungal infections such as athelete’s foot etc.
These recomendations have helped many people and save you money as well.

January 13, 2013 at 9:56 am
(101) Debbie says:

We just found out that my daughter is allergic to rubber (neophrene?). She is very much into sports and wears softball and soccer cleats 10 months out of the year. (Finally figured out why her rash would never go away!). Where can we find athletic shoes?? anyone?

January 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm
(102) Susan says:

I am allergic to potassium dichromate and diethyl Thiourea. I cannot wear leathers tanned using chromates, rubber, plastic, neoprene! I am wondering if there is even a shoe or boot out there that I can wear. Help – does anyone know where I can buy footwear in Canada or the US?

February 12, 2013 at 7:17 am
(103) tennis4me says:

Maybe an allergy to colophony/resin is the culprit. I have an allergy to it and it seems to be in almost everything.

It can also be found in products which are used to increase friction, for example in anti-slip agents for floors or for easier gripping (which may account for shoes). See http://apps.kemi.se/flodessok/floden/kemamne_eng/kolofonium_eng.html


I hope this helps!

February 12, 2013 at 6:42 pm
(104) Patty says:

Birkenstocks are allergy free and the leather is tanned with out dichromate organic substances!

February 13, 2013 at 3:12 am
(105) Lilian says:

I thought i should add that Birkenstocks produce a range that is chrome free but not all of them are. Totally agree, everyone needs to find a shoe that works for them, some of the vegan shoes use glues I react to. Fortunately in Europe there are a growing number of manufacturers who are waking up to these problems.

I had no idea why my feet would itch and burn or crack deeply until I went for allergy testing at a teaching hospital (for another allergy). The specialist discovered allergies to chrome, nickel and cobalt amongst others, I ‘ve switched to chrome free shoes and suddenly my feet have radically improved. A big thank you to the allergy department!

February 25, 2013 at 11:09 pm
(106) Steve says:

I have an asymmetrical running gait and different length legs, and a tendency for plantar fasciitis. I went to a sports physical therapist who took measurements and said I did not need custom orthotics but recommended Powerstep insoles in my running shoes for stability and to combat the plantar fas. This greatly alleviated pain in both feet but created a new numbness in my left. So I talked more with him and we came up with a cushion insole in my left shoe and the powerstep insole in my right.. This worked like a charm, technically, and leveled my hips when I ran, now pain-free.

However, over the years I have bought several sets of these and would put retired sets in eventually all of my other dress and casual shoes. I noticed a slow increase in very thin, hard scaly skin (like a fingernail), which crack and bleed painfully but only on my right foot. My callouses would crack and bleed. I thought it might be athlete’s foot and just dealt with it. Last fall, I bought a new pair of Sketchers that seemed to have decent arch support so I did not swap the inserts into them, and I’ve worn these almost daily. In less than a month, my right foot completely healed up. Now I have the inserts in only my running shoes, and my foot is completely normal.

Does this sound like an allergy to Powerstep? http://www.protherapysupplies.com/Shop-by-Brand/PowerStep/PowerStep-Original

March 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm
(107) Krisitn says:

Another Sperry shoe allergy over here!!!! I was so bummed after I wore my new Sperry canvas shoes a few months ago, only hours after wearing them I developed large red rashes on my top feet and sides. Soon later blisters started to developed and soon following that my feet were ELEPHANT FEET! They were so inflamed! I went to the urgent care the following day and they put me on an anti-inflammatory drug and antibiotics. It was the worst experience ever! SPERRY TOP SIDERS ARE EVIL!!!

March 29, 2013 at 9:38 pm
(108) Michelle says:

Hi! I live in the Philippines and I’ve had my allergies since 2010. I think I got it from a flip flop that I bought here and brought to my trip in the States. The soles of my feet became really dry and itchy and I think the cold weather exacerbated it. Since then it was like Pandora’s box was opened and any synthetic shoe I wore would give me the same reaction, sometimes even worse. After seeing a dermatologist and trying out several creams and antihistamines, and experimenting on which shoes give me the least reaction, my feet are a “little” better now. I discovered also that soaking or washing your feet with green tea foot soaks or Johnson’s baby cooling bath (both with sodium laureth sulfate and menthyl lactate) immediately after wearing your shoes prevents that horrible itching spell. Wearing cotton foot socks help a little, as long as you change them within the day or once they get soaked in sweat. Also since Payless opened here in the Phillipines, I’ve bought two pairs of Dexflex shoes both made of suede and lined with some kind of foamy felt material. I noticed that I get very minimal to no reaction to the shoes depending on the length of time I wear them. The same goes for Fitflops thong sandals. Sadly however, i cant wear open styles already since i have ugly “leather burn” marks at the sides of my feet. :(
There’s a lot of Melissa and Grendha shoes here but have never bought one coz they can be quite pricey, but after reading the posts here I guess it’s worth the investment :)
I wish everybody well and I hope you guys find your own remedies!

April 11, 2013 at 1:15 am
(109) Sylvia says:

I am so glad I found these website! I too thought it was just me… I originally thought I was allergic to red leather (that would have been disastrous!) but recently I bought a black pair of leather shoes (same brand) and lo and behold received the same reaction – except much more severe. Steroid cream works wonders for the itches, and then betadine poured one when the blisters break!!!

April 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm
(110) Bonny says:

Im so glad I am not the only one with this crazy allergy. My feet were so bad my derm took a picture to put in a textbook! And it was Sperrys!!! Does anyone else find it funny that so many people have had issues with them??? I guess its the chemicals that they use to treat the germs on the rubber.

April 30, 2013 at 11:16 am
(111) randi says:

i bought a pair of orthoheel sandals from qvc. the tops of my feet started itching and my toes started turning brown. then the tops of my feet turned brown where the sandal top touches it. the itching got so bad i quit wearing shoes and stayed home so i could go barefoot.

i tried antibiotic cream and it just burned. i even tried fungal cream.
i quit wearing them and returned all four pair even tho i loved the feel and fit.

my skin is now shiny and sore.

i assume it’s something in the sandal. is there any sandal i can wear. it gets so hot here in texas that i need open shoes during the summer.

May 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm
(112) Kathy says:

I first realized I had a shoe allergy after I bought a pair of Adidas Fitfoam thong flip-flops/sandals. I thought they’d work for wearing around the house in the summer, since it’s too warm for slippers (I live in Florida). Within a day or two of wearing them, my feet began to break out in red, hot splotches, in line with the straps. I knew it had to be the shoes. It occurred to me that other times in the past, I’d had these same symptoms, but less obvious and less often, with other shoes. I tossed out the Adidas.

I had no more real issues with any of my other pairs of shoes. I wanted to get more thong sandals and I went with Merrills. They seemed fine. Except I wore them a lot, and on a vacation in New Mexico, I noticed my feet breaking out again.

It has been 5 months since I got the Merrill sandals. I can wear them usually without trouble, but if I wear them too long, and get sweaty, the rash appears again. I have Cortisone cream from my dermatologist but it still takes several days for the burning and itching to die down.

My old Asos running shoes now give me problems.

I feel as though ALL of my shoes are suspect, depending on how long I wear them. It seems that once I had that first incident with the Adidas sandals, I was doomed. Incidentally, I also have bought 2 pairs of Sperry Topsider canvas shoes over the last 5 years and never had trouble with them at all!

One thing I am tempted to try is silk socks. Has anyone tried silk socks, or silk sock liners?

May 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm
(113) Betty Brown says:

Have read your comments Just bought some Skechers and easyspirit’s and my feet were red hot on my soles after wearing them. That money spent for nothing. Only have my little canvas shoes from K-Mart to wear and I get them six pair at a time, bring them home and wash them to soften the material. Cost is $6.00 each pair and sometimes half price for the second pair type deal. I usually wait until four or five pair are ready to wash after wearing and do them all together, taking them out to the sunny porch to dry out. These shoes are great. Just hope K-Mart won’t go out of business. Epsom salts also help for I remembered my mom soaking her feet in warm water and 1/2 cup of same.

June 1, 2013 at 7:28 pm
(114) Lisa G. says:

So I posted a while ago that I had serious reactions to grey boots and had to trade in my car which had leather interior that was grey. TI was finally encouraged by this blog to go to an allergist. She had a testing kit that was standard but switched to a broader kit. Lucky for me, the newer larger kit was VERY Revealing. I found out that I am allergic to DISPERSE BLUE 106, a dye in fabric and textiles in dark colors. I dont know if that had anything to do with the boots or car but there is also an allerty to P-TERT BUTYLPHENOL FORMALDEHYDE RESIN- it is used to manfacture and repair shoes, especially shoes and composites made of rubber. at home it can be in glued rubber and leather goods such as shoes, handbags, watchbands, hats and belts. I get the exact imprint of the item that I wear…Only metal watches for me. This is only in some hospial items: hence the rashes from electroe monitoring and medical tape. these include Adhesives in 3M Micropore tape, Leather and rubber adhsive in the shoe and upholstery industry, in 3M Red Dot 2239 Moitoring Electrodes, the 2248 electrodes do NOT contain the allergin. So then, the medicines that they gave me to cure the rash only made it worse. Additional allergies were: TIXCORTOL PIVALATE, used in medical creams, lotions or powders. It can be an anti inflamitory agent and is found in ear drops and eyedrops. It is even in hydrocortosone. This is just FUN FUN FUN!!!!

June 1, 2013 at 7:39 pm
(115) Lisa G. says:

Allergy testing results: DISPERSE BLUE 106- a dye found in dark colored texitles. P=TERT BUTYLPHENOL FORMALDEHYDE RESIN: used to manufacture and repair shoes espeically those made with rubber. It can be in handbags, watch straps, belts adn hats.. My feet get red and blistery in the exact print of the shoe, strap, etc..THIS STINKS. I need allergy free summer sandals..HELP!!!!!!!!!!!

June 8, 2013 at 11:12 pm
(116) Bob says:

Sperry! I wore the same model of moc for 35 years, and suddenly a new pair cause blisters, burning and itching. The old pair caused no problem. I believe something has changed in the processing or dying of the leather. Other brands bother but not as much. Even vegetable tanned leather is a slight problem.

June 9, 2013 at 2:09 pm
(117) Mariah says:

Sperry’s and keds are what do it for me so far. Just recently I bought a pair of cute maryjane keds and to my surprise I got the same allergic reaction to them as I did to a pair of sperry’s 3 years ago. I took a Claritin to reduce the itching and have been icing my feet. I have found that cold air blowing directly at my feet works quite well! Still need to get some creme though :l

June 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm
(118) Sandy says:

I recently purchased a pair of BOC sandals and they cause the top of my feet where the leather is to break out in a rash, burn and itch. It is terrible I have never had this problem before. They were the most expensive sandals I have ever purchased. Not happy at all. It must be something new for BOC because I have faithfully worn that brand.

July 2, 2013 at 4:46 am
(119) Mark Towell says:

I also have this issue. It was first with a pair of off-brand Work boots, but switched to another brand, and I was fine. Also had an older pair os Nike, and they were fine. But I JUST bought another pair of Nike 3 days ago….and BAM. Took them off, and little bumps everywhere. Unbearable itching and burning. So tired of this. One thing I havent heard anyone tryng is washing them. Think a couple of good hot runs through the washing machine might dilute some chemicals?

July 3, 2013 at 9:54 am
(120) BethesdaSD says:

Ah, so it’s a chemical burn from my Sperry Topsiders – got it from two canvas pairs, a blue plaid and a pink seersucker plaid. Hoping the allergen that caused the rash would have weakened after washing and several months of airing-out, I tried wearing them again without socks and was soon back to ice packs and hydrocortisone cream. I just tried Gold Bond cream and itís proven to be the best pain reliever cream. My Sperry red, white, and blue leather deck shoes and another pair of solid blue canvas lace-up shoes donít cause burns.

July 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm
(121) Bryan says:

It all started with pair of synthetic hiking boots starting as a small irritating rash on one foot and growing to the same extremes that many on this blog have so accurately described.
I did find a cream that helps significantly. It’s called “Quinaderm” and you will not find it at any drugstore in the US. You can find it on Amazon, though, and it’s not that expensive (like 7 bucks a tube).
It claims to be for acne, but the activie ingredient actually heals my feet over time. My feet will still itch a bit, but as long as I don’t scratch, they’ll heal. Keep a fresh supply of clean (new) socks, throw out any shoe that causes a severe reaction. Sorry, there’s no saving them. Good luck and God Bless!

July 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm
(122) Tamika J. says:

So I a few weeks back I wore a pair of canvas Sperry’s that had been in my closet for almost a year. By the end of the day, my feet were on FIRE! By the next day both feet were swollen and red, with blisters. I started on an antibiotic and some type of cream. Two days ago, like a fool, I wore them again. The result wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time but still a red, itchy mess. I will NEVER wear a Sperry shoe again.

July 5, 2013 at 10:52 am
(123) Robert says:

I’ve been wearing Sperry leather topsiders for years without issue but I bought two pairs of canvas Sperrys and react badly to both pairs. As described elsewhere, painful itching that will not stop, swollen red patches on the tops of my feet where they touch the canvas. I have actually gotten blisters from them after a second wearing.

July 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm
(124) Paddyfoot says:

I have the same problem with itchy feet with red pimples that when dried up just flakes and looks terrible. However my condition starts every spring and last through fall until I start wearing boots again. My Dermatologist says its dermatitis. It has gotten so bad this spring that he recommended I soak my feet in a bleach solution, put me on tapered doses of steroids for 5 days, one cream once a day and another cream twice a day.
The skin on my feet are hypo pigmented. (this happened prior to start using the bleach solution), which my Dermatologist says is a reactions to he dyes in foreign made sandals .
If you found something that works, please share.

July 14, 2013 at 9:48 am
(125) t. says:

it started a few yesrs ago. no one knew what it was.
then wore sperrys. i was so happy i got a pair.
figured it was probably the shoes.
now im 25 and all of a sudden allergic to… thiuram mix?
then it took over 10 months for a test to be done.
i am a shoe freak.
now i have to be careful with all the shoes i wear and cant own any i like.
ive contacted so many companies with none getting back to me on what they use.
does anyone know if toms are ok?
i know vans sure arent. and almost any nice shoe out there.

July 31, 2013 at 8:27 pm
(126) Ashleigh says:

This allergy started for me 2 years ago. I would wear certain shoes in the summer and get small, red, blisters that were extremely itchy. I was told it was athletes foot and kept treating it with no results. I got a patch test done and am allergic to Para-Tertiary-Butylphenol Formaldehyde Resin (PTBFR) which is used in adhesives and glues, particularly in shoes. I haven’t been able to find shoes that doesn’t give me this rash- some companies are better than others. I really look at the inside of the shoe for glue around the seams and edges. I wear flip flops and flats with sockettes. Not idea but definitely not worth the annoyance.

The hospital I got the patch test done at told me you can get tailor-made shoes free of this resin at Laboratoiere et Clinque Pierre Marchildon, 1269 Bernard St West, Montreak QC H2V 1V8 #274-2411.

August 7, 2013 at 9:19 am
(127) Shelley says:

I, too, suffered a horrible reaction after wearing, what I suspected, were some new Sperry Topsiders. The tops and sides of my feet became red and itchy, and then worsened with swelling and blisters. Eventually, the blisters crusted, the skin turned deep red and leathery, and then peeled in deep layers. I received steroid creams, and ultimately two different shots to address the reaction. I tested positive for an allergy to thiuram, which is a rubber accelerator, and can be found in many articles, including shoes. After reading these comments, however, about Sperry shoes in particular, I’m wondering if there’s not some other chemical used in the canvas Sperry shoes that wasn’t included in the test panel. Months later, I tried to again wear a pair of canvas Sperry shoes; after only 1 hour, I began to experience the same allergic reaction to the shoes. The manufacturer ought to address this problem. Who knows what they are putting into their shoes?

August 20, 2013 at 4:17 am
(128) Florence Diapo says:

During the last five months my feet is so itchy,blisters,open red sores,painful ,burning at the same time itchy like crazy when you itch it fells good then another blisters comes out and I was just told that I am Diabetic so I thought this is diabetic problem.The last 4 weeks I am in hell my feet was running a high temperature,My dermatologist sent me to the Allergist and he did the Patch test and I am allergic to Potassium Dichromate. I am already have a Severe Latex Allergy when expose I develop anaphylactic reaction I got it from working as a Operating Room Nurse for 30 yrs.The hospital were I work I was fired and I see my life went down the drain to the sewer on top of that I have two small kids and I lost my job and nobody will hire me because I was high risk that was since 1997 until today.Then now I am allergic to this stupid Potassium Dichromate I have no idea where I got it and in the last few days everytime I sit in my leather sofa I am itchy and my chest is very thight like I have a hard time breathing.I develop anaphylactic reaction when I was being tested with the Patch Test.I can not bring myself to run my business online and I am so depress I really do not like this problem.I really fell hopeless and sad because other than Latex I have this new problem which I found that it is in everything we use every day.I lost evverything in Latex allergy it means literally that include my profession and self esteem,evicted,homeless,repossesions,and every thing that comes when you have no money.
I have found out that when you are alllergic to Potassium Dichromate you need to avoid this:
Alloys of metallurgy
Anticorrosive in antifreeze,oils,and paints.
Blue prints
Catgut sutures

August 20, 2013 at 4:27 am
(129) Florence Diapo says:

More chemicals to avoid:
Chrome plating
Chrome steel
Chromium picolinate
Copy papert
Dental implants
Electric batteries
Engraving and lithography
Eye shadow
Floor wax
Foundries(added to sand for bricks)
Green dyes
Mik testing
Pacemaker wires
Paint(esp. green,orange,yellow)
Photography (color developing)
Pool table felt
Safety matches
Shoe polish
Stainless steel
Tanning of leather
Textile dyes(military green)
Tv manufacturing
Vitamin supplements
Wood preservative
Hope this will help.

August 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm
(130) Sperry canvas shoe problem says:

Also had major reaction to canvas sperry shoes. Exact same symptoms as others with shoe. Massive hives and pain. Doctor though it was the glue- not some allergy that is reasonable. Called and wrote sperry and asked them to look into glue used in particular factory. No follow up information. I never had allergic reaction to shoes before. Pain continues today from time to time after treatment. Seems unreasonable to blame individual’s allergies as reason for problem. It wouldn’t be so bad if the pain didn’t remain after you stop wearing the shoes. To me, it seems like the canvas shoes start some kind of longer term reaction/condition that will impact people’s day to day lives. And why are these allergies discovered only after you wear the sperry shoe.. Or why do we all see the same hives and long term change in numbness and pain. More research needed on glue used by academics.

August 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm
(131) Sperry Must Pay! says:

Sperry knows the situation is not a good one for them. I called today to complain because my feet after wearing my shoes for the first time caused a horrific burn on the top of my feet and toes, along with an intense itchiness.
The woman from Sperry that I spoke with and who agreed to reimburse me immediately even said she had the same issue with a pair of her Sperry shoes. While I know Sperry should have to pay us all back more than the value of the shoe I just wanted everyone to know they will reimburse you for the value of your shoes with no push back so please do not at the very least throw your shoes away. Make the call and get your money back. Lastly if anyone does take legal action please let everyone on here know. I have visited a doctor and will do so again the last daymy burn is noticeable or still give me pain. On top of this I will be keeping a daily photo journal to show the severity and length of the burn.

September 6, 2013 at 9:51 am
(132) Tammy ward says:

My daughter who 12 has just been diagnosed with mbt and mecapto mix which is.rubber allergy, it’s so distressing especially forget has she.wants to wear all designer shoes, does anyone recommend and shoes or sites please,

September 16, 2013 at 11:56 am
(133) bahama boat blisters says:

I have a painful blister outbreak after wearing a pair of Sperry’s shoes it happened three times. I recently went to a doctor and was told it was contact dermatitis , which is no surprise the question is “with what, It is so painful and itchy the blisters are very deep and bloody looking there was a red rash surrounding my feet just like I had traced my shoe onto my foot with a marker , the first time last year I got it I thought I got poison Ivy and washed my shoes, a got it again so I threw them away ,then I just bought a new pair last week I wore them to church for about an hour I didn’t feel any discomfort till I took them off and my feet started to swell, right then I knew what was up with Sperry’s Bahamas boat shoe , I have pictures,. I use to wear Sperry shoes without socks all the time and never had issues ,I Want to know what chemicals they are using now why wont they post there MSDS information on there website , there not the same anymore. I took some children’s Benadryl to help me out until I got to the doctors office it seemed to help with the itch the doctor prescribed me, Prednisone , Benadryl & Zantac 150 it been a week today and my blisters are now mostly gigantic scabs on my feet and they throb its very uncomfortable to walk around or wear a shoe . from my experience with it , its much better to go to the doctor and get a good H-1 H-2 allergy medication for the itching than try wait it out although the first two times I got it I thought it was poison ivy and used a lot of stuff to treat for that ,.. I was up a lot, washing my feet in cold water at night because the itch . I’ve never been allergic to anything in my life , I work on the water, a Captain , I come in contact with ropes canvas and never ever experienced anything like this .

October 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm
(134) Florence Diapo says:

I have consulted a lawyer about this POTASSIUM DICHROMATE ALLERGY if their are cases out there and he claim that no.I would like to ask everybody that has left a comment on shoe allergies if You All are willing to go with me.If you are willing and you have pictures of your feet and the evidence that this is har on you please send me a e-mail at fdiapo@gmail.com.
My life has already change tremendously because of the LATEX ALLERGY and now I am also Allergic to POTASSIUM DICHROMATE which is use in leather and almost everything we use in daily lives.Today I went to church and my feet has blisters while I was in church using a sandal mad of cork.I realize that the shoe is made of leather and glued by glue so the whole evening I was mesirable.
The shoes that we need to buy are either made in Brazil hand done and vegetable leather,France,Germany,Italy.This is wering the life out of me.So please if you are interested of consulting the lawyer I spoke with
please send me your e-mail and name so we can talk first and go from their.I could not even buy a house because everything they use I am allergic to it either they have latex or potasium dichromate.Hope to hear from you soon.

October 14, 2013 at 8:55 am
(135) Mark says:

Another Sperry TopSider victim here.

Growing up around boats and the water Sperry TopSiders were always the shoes I wore, and never with socks. I’ve worn these shoes for over 40 years with no issues until this year.

I bought three new pairs around March 2013 and every one of them caused my feet to break out in a painful rash that just refused to go away. I have no other allergies to speak of and this affliction on my feet is most certainly caused by Sperry shoes.

I would advise anyone asking not to buy these things anymore….

October 26, 2013 at 9:14 am
(136) Nancy68 says:

I am another Sperry victim. i bought canvas sequin sperry topsiders in august And they seemed fine. Then I had a small scratch on one foot which started to spread into rash, then moved to the other foot (after I wore the sperries without socks). I had to stop wearing shoes and the rash kept getting worse, went to the doctor, they had no idea because at that point it looked like a burn but was on one foot in the shape of part of the shoe and the other foot was just a regular rash. I still wore no shoes and used ointment but the rash kept coming and ended up symmetrical on each foot. Still wore no shoes so didnít correlate the Sperry. The intense itching finally stopped and I went to my regular doctor who was shocked and thought it looked like I dipped my toes and tops of my feet in acid. She sent me to the dermatologist and he said Iím allergic to a pair of shoes and I need to figure out which ones. Iíve already had allergy testing so I didnít bother with it. came home and put on my Sperryís and yep, they match the design of the purple rash all over my feet. The only part that was okay was the tongue area which was more padded so it has something to do with the sequins and glue maybe and I needed more of a barrier to them. NO MORE SPERRY SHOES FOR ME!!

October 26, 2013 at 3:51 pm
(137) nancy68 says:

update, I called the customer service line and i did receive back a lengthy email which they must have had to draft up because of all the complaints. they have offered to send a replacement pair of leather shoes. they request pictures of your rash and the shoes etc. this is the first time I’ve had a problem with Sperry shoes and still have a pair of canvas sneakers that have been fine.

November 6, 2013 at 5:57 am
(138) Judy sercombe says:


What a relief to find this website. I have been off my feet for at least 75% of the day over the last 2 weeks due to a severe dermatitis on both heels since wearing leather shoes sold to me by a well know shoe manufacturers in the UK. Like other sufferers I have had intense burning in both my heels, excoriated skin and severe pain that I never want to experience. I am also a diabetic and this issue has left me very vulnerable to infection and the potential consequences. However the comments that I have read this morning have been very helpful particularly regarding allergy testing and vegetarian shoes. Being in a job that involves me being on my feet all day has caused great concerns about what I will put on my feet in the future! Best wishes to everyone and I think it’s very important that we raise our concerns nationally and internationally.

November 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm
(139) Sandy says:

So, I hope to provide some input here being that I recently found out that most of the plastic and rubber materials that are used in China to make shoes are highly toxic. At first I thought it was an allergy, but my doctor explained that it is not an allergy b/c we can’t be desensitized to it. With 99% of the shoes we wear come from China these days, many people are showing symptoms. For some it is dermatitis. For others there are stranger unexplained symptoms like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, both syndromes are a result of the immune system breaking down. Interestingly, it is against the law in the U.S. to use these toxic materials in manufacturing shoes. So, most of the U.S. made shoes and leather soled shoes do not create these issues. I’ll just leave this much info for now.

November 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm
(140) Sher says:

I purchased a leather couch in September 2013. When it started getting cold and the furnace started running is when I noticed my problem started itching from head to toe rash would move around on my body I started researching online and found that they treat leather in china with dmf that’s the little crystal pkts found in leather shoe box that I throw away with the box but in leather furniture they build the furniture with this product right inside so you cant remove it and what it does is impregnates the leather when you sit on the furniture the warmth from your body causes the chemical to react they have banned the use of dimethyl fumarate or dmf in any products in the UK the US and Australia are the only countries that allow the use of this chemical in these products it is used to kill mould when the merchandise is in storage and shipping. There has been over 1000 law suits in the UK. I really think some of your problems might be this believe you me I don’t want it to be my 4000.00 dollar couch but I am 95% sure it is this a good website DermaNet NZ

December 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm
(141) Jamie says:

After suffering for years with problems with my feet which only started when i was about 35, i finally gave up on the doctor telling me it was eczema and using the creams they kept telling me to use. After a quite bad bout which left me out of work for 6 weeks i said enough is enough send me to a specialist so i can get this sorted once and for all. After wearing loads of patches for a week I found out that not only am i now allergic to most Plastics and rubbers but i am also allergic to some of the ingredients in the cream that the doctors kept telling me to use. My Only suggestion to everyone with a skin condition is please see a skin specialists as doctors are not trained in this area and will almost always say Eczema or Dermatitus.

January 1, 2014 at 3:19 am
(142) Pam says:

I have been amazed by how many people there are with multiple chemical allergies out there and no help. It is beyond belief. I have had patch testing and reacted to most of the rubber chemicals and balsam of Peru! I was told by my specialist to contact shoe manufacturers which I did both here and abroad but most do not want to commit themselves. I wear wooden clogs black only as any other colour causes an outbreak to enable me to get around but restrictive for many activities would love comfy walking shoes!

January 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm
(143) Marie says:

I have been dealing with this problem for 40+ years. When I was a child my feet were so badly broken out they would put me in the hospital. They told my mother to put me in only white shoes. So, I wore the old white tennis shoes everyone used to wear. They still broke me out (canvas). I spent most of my childhood bare footed except at school. As I grew older I was very careful what I bought. I am still not sure what breaks me out. I know I can’t wear canvas, I can’t wear colors. Some shoes break me out within an hour and some it takes a few days. I finally went several years with barely having any break outs but, recently my job insisted I couldn’t wear my tennis shoes (White sketchers which are usually ok – the leather look) So, I went 6 months wearing different shoes every day (I bought 6 new pair of various shoes). It was like I woke up a sleeping giant. Now I’m so broke out I can’t get my foot to heal. Even my white Sketchers seem like they are irritating me. I have never been able to tell what it is. Tennis shoes, sandles, boots, heels, cheap and expensive – I never know what it is that is breaking me out. I had never heard of anyone else with this problem.

February 14, 2014 at 7:24 am
(144) Amanda says:

Oh Dear!
I have the same problems. They started in 1990/1992 and I suddenly became allergic to just about every pair of shoes I bought with coloured leather insides. Black, Orange, Red, Green, Dark Brown, Pink – the rash would be EXACTLY the same as the shoe and would then be incredibly itchy, burn, blister and weep and bleed. Once the blisters were so big and deep the doctor thought I had been marathon running (haha nearly fell of the chair at that one). It takes weeks to heal.

I have allergies and sensitivities and have had them tested. In an extensive skin patch test – one which stood out was a delayed and fierce reaction to formaldehyde. Burning, blistering and itching several hours after application as if it soaked in with sweat and burned deep and then came up.
I think that all leather used that comes from China has formaldehyde in it – Italian, Spanish, German and French shoes are better – but so much more expensive. $380 German shoes are best – unfortunately. I also found a brand called Naot from Israel and bought two of theirs in a sale..
I think much of the shoe leather after 1990/1992 is being treated with formaldehyde and with some other chemicals as fixatives for dyes and/or pesticides. The reacting chemical might also be a pesticide ( yes, I’m moderately to highly reactive to those too) to help preserve the leathers during transit and storage.
I suspect they are not listed and are probably not very good for you.

Assistants in shoe shops give you blank stares when you ask for shoes without coloured dyes in the linings. If they had blistered burning feet wrapped in gauze running a temp for two days and vomiting for 24 hours- they would think again!
Head Offices are useless too, its about time we knew what was in shoe dyes, we have so many sweat glands in our feet that they absorb incredibly efficiently -goodness knows what they absorb from shoe dye.

February 20, 2014 at 8:21 am
(145) ben says:

I am VERY VERY surprised to see all of the comments here.
Doesn’t any of you know the brands Think! or Hartjes from Austria?
I have an allergy against chrome en substances in the glue they use in confection shoes already for over 15 years.
These 2 brands i mentioned are a huge release for anyone with allergies against shoes. When it first started on my body it went up from my feet till my neck! I went to my home doc who send me straight on to the dermatologist that same day.
I had 5 docs around me who couldn’t determine what the hell was going on with me. It was found out during the test with sticking an enormous patch on my back with all the little cups filled with materials known to cause allergies.
It was found that i was severely allergic to the glue.
I am wearing these brands already many years by now and was looking around all these years for other brands that might be usable for me. So today i decided for myself to check further in the world than only around the Netherlands, Germany or other countries in Europe.
But i only read here that people are desperate for some usable shoes already for many years in some cases.
I hope you will read this message because it will really help you out to get rid of this hell! I know to well how frustrating it is!
The shoes are available for mostly around 150 up to little more than 200 euros. Sometimes they are on sale also though.
The biggest problem with these shoes is that they are mostly made for women. There are not too many types for men. Which sucks a little.

February 24, 2014 at 1:01 am
(146) Renee says:

Bought Sperry’s topsiders a few months ago. Same thing happened to me after about two hours of wearing them. Itching, Burning. Blisters on
top of both feet. Just tried my new Keds canvas shoes today. Same
exact thing happened. I’m miserable and can’t get any relief.

March 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm
(147) Jen says:

Finally, I found the answer to why my feet burns and itches after I wear certain shoes. After many trips to the doctor and only finding temporary relief with prescription medication, for what I was told is contact dermatitis and athlete foot fungus. My doctor advise me wear leather shoes only and I got some relief from the itching and burning but ended up with stinky feet. In my desperation to find a solution to my problem, I reached for natural cures for dermatitis and found two products that help me tremendously over the last few weeks. On Amazon I found Foot Soap, which helps to keep my feet moisturized and causes less itching. The other product I found comes from a company name Chargin Valley that sells Tamanu Oil Salve, which healed my damaged skin caused by the burn and itching.

I will purchase a pair of the Derma Silk socks from the recommended site by #68 and hope my feet looks normal again.

March 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm
(148) Nechelle says:


I have been dealing withthe same issue with a pair of Sperry’s. I have an attorney who I am working with. My feet started off buring and itching with little watery bumps and not the top of my feet are discolored. Sperry know whats going on, I contcted them and they sent me a $75 check. Absolutely absurd.

March 27, 2014 at 7:52 am
(149) jerry keogh says:

I’m a 55 year old male with a similar problem to that of Margarets, when I wear shoes with any kind of rubber even the name tag on the inside of the tongue of the shoe irritates my feet. The irritation starts with a tingling sensation of the toes after about fifteen minutes a numbness of the toes but no rash at all. The only two types of shoe i can wear is all leather which come with a rubber piece on the heel this has to be removed and a leather piece put in its place even the glue they use on the leather irritates my feet .My Dermatologist did an allergy test back test and found that I was allergic to the rubber accelerator called “DIMETHYLTHIOUREA” my questions are
1. Has anyone heard of this name
2. Where can I get runners without this chemical in it.
3. I love fishing and boating where can I get boots without this in them.
4. Clothing I’m finding hard to get as well elasticity in almost everything.
I would like to know if there was anybody out there with the same problem that could maybe help i would gratefully appreciate it

March 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm
(150) keith says:

So I work as a chef in Seattle Washington. I have a pair of slip resistant rubber shoes. And its been about 6 months that I’ve had them and when I’d get home and take my work shoes off. And peel my socks off, they will itch and burn. So I go take a shower thinking that I just need a good wash on them and the beads of the water make it feel worse. Now my feet are dry and look like blisters on the tops of my feet but there’s no blister… Is there anything I can do as a home remedy or a cream of some sort I could use… This has only happens within 45 days now that these rash type reactions have happened. Could it be the shoes OE something else?

April 3, 2014 at 9:41 pm
(151) Ally says:

I am another Sperry victim!!!
Every pair if canvas Sperry shoes I’ve ever work has resulted in itchy, cracked, swollen, painful feet. I’ve been to the doctor who prescribes triamcinolone cream to put on. It usually lasts for about 5-7 days.
However I just bought a pair of assn polo shoes, Sperry look-alikes, canvas, and here I am again in pain. I think it has to do with the canvas.
Currently soaking my feet in warm water :(

April 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm
(152) Ruth says:

I have stumbled on a product called EXZADERM. At the end of my 12 yr or so rope with itchy burning bleeding feet….mostly insteps, I tried Exzaderm. On line about $30.00. My feet were a blistered burning painful mess. Giant band aids were the only way I could walk. IMMEDIATE RELIEF AFTER FIRST USE! My diagnosed exzema nearly disappeared! I could walk with no pain and no visible rash. My feet honestly looked like I had a flesh eating disease. Today, after roughly a yrs. time, I am having a flare up that altho being kept in check with Exzaderm, is still bad enough to return to dermatologist, however, please give it a try. I would never be without it! It seems to be a true miracle cream….and I am quite the skeptic…..but this worked for me. Good luck!

April 30, 2014 at 6:55 pm
(153) tessa says:

I am so sorry to hear of everyone’s horrific experience’s with shoe allergies. Something to consider is the wet factor of feet. I was reading about nickel allergies and they recommended not getting your skin wet as water allows metal ions to be absorbed more.

“Keep your skin dry where the metal is going to contact you. Placing your hands into a sink-full of water allows the metal ions to be better absorbed into the skin.”

“Stay dry. Perspiration can leach nickel particles out of the skin both by hastening the rate of wearing invisible “good” metal particles away as well as potentially chemically reacting with various metals.”

It might be sweat and/or water that enhances the release and absorption of these toxic chemicals. What might start as a slight irritation suddenly gets extreme under the right conditions. Once you get an allergy it seems our bodies react faster and more extreme with every contact.

Isn’t it odd that never before in our history have all these shoe allergies occurred? I was reading about latex allergies and if one is allergic to latex suddenly, out of nowhere one can develop allergies to all kinds of food by the shared chemical makeup and the sudden allergy.

I have found eating chocolate makes my skin super sensitive to my jewelry. I used to be addicted to chocolate. Now I am addicted to shoes and pray I can avoid the dreaded allergy to glues etc.

I wish you all the best in your quest for relief. I hope manufacturers become responsible for the products we wear as well as eat. I’m not holding my breath but want to be positive.

May 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm
(154) Lisa says:

I have had ezcema all of my life, and have a shoe allergy. I also have a mild sensitiviy to latex. My feel will break out from tips of my toes all over the palm of my foot with small blisters that then dry crack and oh my gosh peel for a month. I look at shoes with fear sometimes, its very depressing to know i can only wear certain shoes and every pair i buy can make me break out. Anything plastic, no…………sometimes the sole of the shoe doesnt bother me its a flip flop between my toes. I hate it. Wish benedril would help with this type of allergy.

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