A recent study reported on by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) found a 100% positivity rate of COVID-19 on the pharmacy floor of a Wuhan hospital (where only medical staff were permitted) as well as a 50% positivity on the soles of ICU staff’s shoes. These revelations about the spread of the virus led researchers to conclude that shoes are proving to be reliable carriers for COVID-19.
Multiple studies dating as far back as 2008 show that our shoes have been underestimated as hosts for dirt and disease. One such study found that brand new shoes can accumulate up to 440 000 bacteria on their soles in two weeks, illustrating just how effective supposedly “clean” shoes are at transferring uninvited guests into your home.
With the pandemic now officially infecting over 2.5 million people globally, these studies show how shoe hygiene is another way we may need to adjust how we go about our daily lives.
Another study found that when bacteria is walked into your home via your shoes, 90% of it finds its way onto clean common surfaces like coffee tables and kitchen counters.
Here are five tips to keep Covid-19 from hitching a ride on your Nikes from the frozen food isle to your living room.
- Keep your shoes clean
While COVID-19 may be flying in presidential style on your Airforce 1’s, the virus is no match for a good clean, that’s the good news. Some more good news is that probiotic cleaners are 90% better at actively decreasing the presence of unwanted pathogens compared to conventional, chemical based cleaners.
Try Sneaker LAB’s Sneaker Cleaner, the only probiotic shoe cleaner we could find.
- Leave your shoes in a single space (near your door, preferably)
It’s time we start leaving our shoes at the door. Doing this keeps the virus from going past a certain point in your home, especially for people who routinely need to shop for groceries, visit pharmacies, or commute through communal spaces.
Children who play on the floor, dogs that climb on couches, dropping laundry or a cloth while cleaning, these all present opportunities for COVID-19 to spread from floor to hand.
Instead, incorporate a shoe rack into your home.
- Shoe dryness is a big deal
Moist environments are a hotbed for virus and bacteria growth, so keeping them dry is a good way to keep them from being vectors for transferal. A sunny, dry place is a great short-term solution if the weather plays along, while you could also keep a hairdryer handy near your front door if it doesn’t. Let’s face it, we’re not running around in the rain these days, but a home workout in your backyard or living room can lead to some pretty nasty and damp shoes that carry odours and create happy hunting grounds for unwanted microbial guests.
- Worn out shoes are a no-go
Shoes that are worn out, worn through, or cracked present a novel challenge. Research suggests that unwanted pathogens are 140 times more likely to live on the outside of your shoes than on the inside. What a structurally compromised shoe will do is invite all those nasties inside and into your socks through cracks and hole in your shoes.
Avoiding it altogether by wearing crack and hole-free shoes is first prize, while shoe glue can provide temporary relief for those with soles coming undone and unstuck.
A shoe protector would be a great help here, something that makes your shoes hydrophobic and prevents against dirt clinging to the outer material, helping your shoes stay structurally sound and last longer.
Keep them in good condition by visiting a local shoe repairer such as your nearest Barksole.
- Dirty socks belong in the wash, not your shoes
We’ve established that dirty shoes are risky business and leaving your socks in them simply adds to the problem. Socks are typically the buffer between foot sweat and your shoes but leaving those soggy guys in there defeats the purpose of keeping your shoes clean and disease free.
Allowing that moist environment to go unchecked creates a preferable environment for viruses and bacteria to grow, and by the time you’ve remembered to pick your socks up out of your shoes the next day, you could be picking up something completely avoidable.
Take control of your shoe care
Shoe care is no longer about having the freshest pair of sneakers or ensuring your dress shoes are also functional mirrors. It’s now a matter of public and personal safety and something you can have complete control over.
Amidst the uncertainty of how the virus spreads, where we are at most risk, and what steps we can take to prevent getting it, proactive shoe care shows us a reliable way to eliminate the now established risk of walking it into your life.