ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Contact Dermatitis Feet: Are Your Shoes Making You Sick?

Updated on July 26, 2016
JenniferFantroy profile image

Jennifer writes about health care issues that are of interest to her and research the subject matter for a better understanding.


The number of people suffering from shoe allergies continues to grow and very little is being done to solve this problem. It's a serious condition that requires your immediate attention. A misdiagnosis is possible, because of similar types of conditions that could impair judgment. Another name used for this condition is shoe contact dermatitis or contact dermatitis feet.

What are the symptoms of shoe allergy or shoe contact dermatitis?

The stinging, burning, itching, inflammation, skin cracks, swelling, redness, and tingling feelings are irritating and exhausting most sufferers. Those are some of the symptoms of contact dermatitis feet, and it can be mild to severe depending on how long you’ve been exposed.

Most allergists are unaware of how serious shoe allergies have become – a distressing and puzzling ailment for so many people. The Internet has become the place for many to blog and make comments about their condition in the hope that someone out there will hear their plea. Most sufferers of this condition feel isolated without proper treatment, and their numbers are increasing. Some are misdiagnosed and over medicated and bewildered as to the cause of such debilitating pain.

Most patients come into a doctor’s office thinking that they will receive the kind of treatment necessary for a full recovery. However, they instead leave more confused and with a new prescription to pacify their condition, and an additional medical bill that they can’t afford.

The truth is that if you don’t fit a certain profile, some doctors won't spend the needed resources to figure out what’s wrong with you. They would rather write you a prescription for your head or anti-itch cream or ointment for your feet - never bothering to get to the root cause of your ailment.

So, you live and die with your condition not knowing that the fix could be a simple solution -such as a change in the type of shoes you wear. That's pathetic! I believe that all disease or illness is curable, If you are able to reverse the condition. Of course, it takes highly skilled practitioners to figure out these things. I believe in miracles - a combination of knowledge, gut instinct, and skill.

These days, it seems that you have to do your own research into what’s ailing you, because if it’s not common - doctors won’t take the time to diagnose the illness. If you have unlimited resources and willing to pay for the extra time needed to research what’s ailing you, they will try to help you, but there is no guarantee that they will find a cure. And you will be billed for every minute of their time spent researching your symptoms.

Could your shoes cause your feet to burn, sting, itch, and tender to touch? Well, there are millions of Americans with some form of foot issue and the concern is that it might be toxins in the shoe that they wear every day.



What are the Chemicals in Shoes?

Are the chemicals used in leather tanning, rubber processing, and/or adhesive bad for your health? There is growing concern that the dye and toxins that manufacturers using in the process of our footwear are creating health problems for many people.

The mixtures of irritants in shoes are many and cause pains and discomfort daily. Today, our shoes are manufactured in many countries, and that is why it’s become more difficult to regulate this product. The chemicals in shoes are not just in lower priced off-brand products, but in high-end major brands as well. Many brand owners focus on the bottom line – increase profit at any cost. It’s a catch-22 that will eventually cost us in the long-run.

The pains associated with this condition are distressing. Doctors are unaware of the severity of the problem. Some doctors treat contact dermatitis as an anxiety issue and will not further investigate the cause. They just write you a prescription for Zoloft, which is an anti-depressant. Are they trying to tell you that the problem is in your head? Wow!!

The most common allergens in shoes are:

  • Metal components (mainly nickel sulfate and cobalt chloride)
  • Dye (mainly PPD)
  • Glues (mainly PTBP-FR, and colophony)
  • Leather chemicals (mainly potassium dichromate)
  • Rubber Chemicals (mainly MBT and thiuram mix)

This condition is frequently missed diagnoses as anxiety. With proper testing, you will be able to rule out diabetes, bacteria or fungal infections, and a list of other culprits. Did you know your sox could contain a chemical toxin? Shoe allergy or contact dermatitis is not easy to diagnose. You may have to do extensive and expensive testing before isolating the cause for an accurate diagnosis. Nevertheless, if you suspect it’s a shoe allergy you should do that test first and avoid other costly expenses.

If you can’t afford the lab test, it’s easy for doctors to write you off - prescribe an anti-depressant and call it a day. Once medicated you are no longer thinking for yourself. Be persistent and get your lab work done to rule out or confirm this condition. When sedated, you are no longer a concern for doctors, and they are FREE to service other patients with common diseases that they can’t cure.

Let’s be careful here - I’m not against doctors – just the ones that don’t practice medicine. They clog up the system with no human compassion.

Did you know that 1 in 500 people has a shoe allergy? Currently, there are roughly 632,640 people allergic to the leather found in 95% of all shoes or some other allergen. I think the number is higher. It’s recommended that you wear shoes made entirely with synthetic fabrics.

Shoe Allergy Remedies/treatments

Until you find out what’s burning, itching, or stinging - do this in the meanwhile:

  • Shoe Kit – get tested immediately (see a list of testing centers)
  • Soak your feet in cold water and Epsom salt.
  • Keep calm/practice meditation – this condition will cause anxiety.
  • Wear good-quality shoes that fit well and provides support: hypo allergic shoes, FREE of dyes, glues, or other irritants (See Manuf. List below – could be costly)
  • Pain Medication (take if absolutely necessary). Prolong use would be detrimental to your health.
  • Some topical creams could be soothing for your feet.

I would recommend a dermatologist or podiatrist and have them do a shoe kit test to identify specific toxins that might be causing you this discomfort. Plug into networks of other suffers for comfort and resources. You are not alone – don’t isolate yourself – reach out for help until you get relief.

If you are not able to see a doctor and would like to have this test done – I’ve included a link below to an online medical lab testing company that will help you find a facility in your area. Once they have isolated the allergen, avoid contact with the offending toxin, and you should begin to clear rapidly. That means you will have to change your shoe to one that is hypoallergenic – free of allergen. Consider wearing vegetable tanned-shoes and rubber insoles with a foam sole.

Types of Hypoallergenic shoe Manufacturers (in no particular order):

  1. Cydwoq (pronounced “sidewalk’)
  2. Jellies
  3. BORN
  4. Birkenstocks: Papillon and Birkies (product line)

Note 1: Even though manufacturers say that they make hypoallergenic shoes – do your research to determine if they-in-fact are 100% hypoallergenic. This is a good start for you – it’s now up to you to dig further. If you know of a better product, please share it with our readers in the comment box below.

Patch Test Websites

For Toxic & Nutrient Elements (order test kit – I’m not affiliated with this company – this is strictly informational):

For Toxic & Nutrient Elements (order test kit – I’m not affiliated with this company – this is strictly informational):

Note 2: Please click on “Read more” for further information about the testing, and you should scroll to the bottom of each page if you wish to contact the company. The site talks about “Flexible test configurations to fit your testing protocol." Judging from the previous statement, It appears as if you could include or exclude specific toxins or nutrient for testing and not just the ones in the patch test you ordered – you might be able to customize your order.

*Update – I called the lab and they will test for one (metal) out of the five allergens. See if you can start there and try to get a lead for the other toxins.

Note 3: I’m not recommending these testing sites – I’m just making you aware that they do exist. Research for yourself to find healing and get back to enjoying life. I wish you good health and “happy feel."

Soak Feet in Epsom Salt

Soak Feet in Epsom Salt
Soak Feet in Epsom Salt

Shoe Contact Dermatitis Awareness

How long have you been suffering from shoe contact dermatitis?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    Click to Rate This Article