June 17, 2008

New Sandals Reek of Rubber, Chemicals

I got two pairs of sandals today (Coast Mountain Sports had a buy one pair get the second at 50% off sale), a pair of Keen Newport H2 Hybrids that are designed to get wet and should be perfect for canoeing, streamkeeping, and beach walking, and a pair of North Face Sea Wrath Convertibles for more mundane everyday use over the summer. One of my old sandals blew out the other day, beyond gluing repair...

(BTW who comes up with these names? I checked the "Sea Wrath" labels several times, and yes, they really say "Sea Wrath" whatever that means... Was it supposed to be "Sea Wraith" and something got lost between here and China? As for the Newport H2 Hybrids, well Newport has the flair of a famous port, but H2? H20 as in water? Tough as a Hummer H2? Hybrid as in eco-friendly? Hybrid as in land and sea?)

Anyway, I think I'll like both sets of shoes, but man, that "new car" smell! When I brought them home I put the boxes in my office and opened them up to show them to my wife. When I went back down to my office a few hours later, whew! A rubbery, chemical odour had pervaded the room. I immediately put them in the garage to air out.

What with the news the other day of the toxins released from plastic shower curtains, the odour from the new sandals appeared to be cause for concern. I have no idea if the smell is associated with harmful chemicals, but when something turns your stomach, it's a good bet it isn't friendly to your system.

I don't intend to finger these two companies in particular, as I'm sure their competitors use similar materials. I've heard both try to do their bit for the environment. I just wonder about that initial smell!

Posted by Paul at June 17, 2008 08:06 PM