Warning: Health hazard from flip-flops!

Warning: Health hazard from flip-flops!

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Sandals, flip flops and more: Health-endangering fabrics in summer shoes

In order to get fit through the heat wave, it is not only important to drink a lot, but also to dress lightly and airily. This also includes suitable footwear such as sandals, flip flops or flip-flops. But many of these summer shoes contain substances that are hazardous to health, experts warn.

Summer shoes contaminated with chemicals

While some people believe that flip-flops are harmful to the feet, health experts say that this is not the case. At least not if the wearer has healthy feet without pronounced misalignments. The slippers are often even recommended, for example, to fight sweaty feet in summer. However, studies repeatedly show that summer shoes are contaminated with chemicals.

Carcinogenic substances

Walking barefoot is often a boon in summer temperatures. However, it is more hygienic to wear summer shoes such as sandals, flip-flops or flip-flops.

However, not all of these summer shoes are safe for the wearer. Because they can contain pollutants in sometimes dangerous concentrations.

"Our tests of summer shoes regularly show volatile organic substances in the materials," explains Ralf Diekmann, product safety expert at TÜV Rheinland, in a message.

However, TÜV Rheinland experts also find polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as naphthalene in plastic materials.

These substances can not only cause eye, breath or skin irritation, but some of them can be carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction.

Naphthalene, for example, is classified as a category 2 carcinogen ("May cause cancer") according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).

According to experts, this substance can be absorbed through the skin.

Naphthalene smells unpleasant

But how can you tell which shoes are advisable against? "In a few cases, our nose is a good advisor," said Diekmann.

“Because substances such as naphthalene have a very distinctive, unpleasant smell. Anyone who perceives this smell should refrain from buying it, ”explains the expert.

Most pollutants, however, are completely odorless and therefore not recognizable on the product. It is therefore important to also look for appropriate test marks from independent test organizations such as TÜV Rheinland.

These test marks provide information about the safety and quality of the shoes. This also applies, for example, to whether the materials used meet the current limit values ​​for pollutants.

Buy from well-known retailers and reputable sources

"In general, you should buy from well-known retailers and reputable sources, not just summer shoes," Diekmann recommends.

"Well-known manufacturers or well-known trade organizations have their own quality assurance systems, carefully select their suppliers and work closely with test houses. They also know the legal minimum requirements for shoes. "

A purchase at the beach stall, at the weekly market or from non-reputable sources on the Internet, where the product can only be bought on the basis of a description, can be problematic in the event of a complaint, the statement says in the end. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • TÜV Rheinland: Attention pollutants: When new summer shoes stink unpleasantly, (accessed: 06.07.2019), TÜV Rheinland
  • Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: Questions and Answers on Naphthalene in Consumer Products, (accessed: July 6, 2019), Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

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