1 Year Later: Feet Scarred From "Chemical Flip Flops," Walmart Still Not Talking

It’s been about a year since Kelly Stiles’ feet were (somehow) injured by a $3 pair of Walmart flip flops. In that time, Kelly says her feet haven’t fully healed and she still can’t wear sandals or flip flops. She says she still has pain where she was injured.

Walmart is saying nothing at all, although Stiles says that of the 200-350 people who contacted her after she posted photos of her “burns” on the internet, a few have “settled with Walmart for undisclosed amounts.” The retailer has pulled the flip flops in question from store shelves, but they do still sell shoes from “chemical flip flop” manufacturer.

Kelly told WCSC, “So far I have been contacted by no less than 200 hundred and I think no more than 350 people who have said you know I had the same thing happen.”

“We’re scared. We don’t know what we have been exposed to.”

If you’re new to this story and you have a strong stomach, you can check out this gallery of Kelly’s injured feet , or read about others who’ve shared her fate. Above is the most recent picture of Kelly’s feet that she has up on her site. It was taken 2-27-08. She bought the flip flops last April. Ouch! Get better, Kelly.

LaMana Photography
Burned By Flip Flops From Walmart [WCSC](Thanks, Alex!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. spanktastic says:

    squatmart is in the business to make money and care little else about lead in your child’s toys, toxic crayons, your fake jewelry as long as they saved a buck and suckered you into a purchase.

    Do America a favor and never shop there. Tell squatmart You don’t want their stinkin’ made in China crap.

  2. Pro-Pain says:

    I would be so freakin’ pissed if this happend to me. I’d sue them as hard and fast as I could, not because I’m sue happy, but because THIS is what lawsuits are FOR.

  3. acasto says:

    How come the gallery says “Kerry’s Feet” while the post says “Kelly”?

  4. midwestkel says:

    Has it been almost a year already? Damn!

  5. DeafLEGO says:

    Wally Marty wanted to get her hooked on their $4 RX bullshit. You know… Wally Marty announces they will do 90 pills for $10, CVS is already doing it so its no big deal like Wally Marty wants you to think it is as in every thing else they do. Hmm… maybe these scarred feet are no big deal after all.

  6. howie_in_az says:

    @spanktastic: Good luck with that. Like debt, Americans are, by and large, addicted to the low low prices. Very rarely do we think of the longer-term consequences — just look at all the people that bought SUVs and continue to buy them.

  7. Meg Marco says:

    @acasto: Because we fuck up sometimes. Don’t you?

  8. XopherMV says:

    Wal-Mart will never willingly talk with her now. What Kelly needs to do is talk with a couple lawyers and find one to take up her case. This sounds like it could be a class-action suit.

  9. lesspopmorefizz says:

    Yet another reason to BOYCOTT Wal Mart. They don’t give a damn about the customer or the health issues that have arisen from their shoddy products. Seriously, America, wake up!

  10. I don’t usually say this, but get a lawyer and fast! I hope you’ve consulted with a doctor and that everything turns out OK.

  11. Pro-Pain says:

    I’ve cut my Wal-Mart shopping down to less than four or five times a year now. That’s pretty good.

  12. bravo369 says:

    someone remind me again…were these walmart brand flipflops? i ask because walmart is getting the heat here but i still say the makers of the flipflops is who should be answering questions. walmart just sold the thing. They were probably waiting upon the makers to issue their recall.

  13. thejakeman has died of dysentry says:

    how come she wore these long enough for the severe cuts that occurred to occur?

  14. C2D says:

    @thejakeman: probably disagrees with you: RTFP! They’re chemical burns, NOT cuts!

  15. MD4Prez2032 says:

    If that’s what your feet look like, imagine what the 5 year old sweat shop worker in China’s hands look like.

  16. tekdemon says:

    Actually I *HIGHLY* doubt these are chemical burns at all, but probably more of an allergic reaction to the strap material.

    Calling them chemical burns is a little ridiculous, unless she kept them on her feet nonstop and didn’t wash her feet off or anything.

  17. tekdemon says:

    lol, 5 year old sweatshop workers in China? There are no 5 year old sweatshop workers in China. There are 18 year old factory workers in China, and they might not get paid a lot, but this anti-China slander is getting out of hand.

  18. tekdemon says:

    And yes I do know what I’m talking about regarding allergies vs burns.

    It’s most likely a rubber allergy (kind of like how you hear about latex allergies).

  19. mgy says:

    @tekdemon: Even if there were 5 year old sweatshop workers, putting them out of work isn’t going to make their situation any better.

  20. SuffolkHouse says:

    Usually sun burn is on the outside of the straps.

  21. Landru says:

    @tekdemon: What the hell are you talking about, “no five year old sweat shop workers in China”?

    Google “child workers china”:


    You are the worst kind of shill.

  22. trujunglist says:

    It’s funny that we’re really quick to condemn China’s actions in concerns to human rights violations like child labor, but we have no problem at all benefiting from it as long as it doesn’t happen “in our neighborhood.”
    For the above commenters who think China is so bad: do you think that pair of Nike’s would cost the same if it wasn’t for those little hands? If you’re going to be vocal about China’s rights violations, don’t turn the other cheek when it comes to buying your clothes or just about every single fucking thing we buy here in the US. Otherwise, you just sound like a douchebag hypocrite.

  23. boxjockey68 says:

    @tekdemon: You need to educate yourself a bit and see what goes on in the real world. There might not be 5 year olds in the sweatshops in China, but 6,7,8,&9 year olds I am sure, and cuts? WTF? Those are burns of some sort…and I know.

  24. balthisar says:

    @howie_in_az: SUV’s are premium vehicles (when not needed for practical purposes), and as such, cost considerably more than your crappy little Hyundai — or am I missing your point??

  25. WVCouch says:

    I purchase 80% of my clothes from US. Good old, Tom James Company.

    Still working on finding more. Want to be 100% american made.

    Also, use a local lady tailor for shorts and golf shirts.

    I know that some of the cloth is not, but still….what are we to do?

  26. matto says:

    @trujunglist: I haven’t bought Nikes in the last 20 years. Does that mean I get to call you a douchebag hypocrite too?

  27. amightywind says:

    it’s actually most likely not walmart or the manufacturer’s fault per se, but rather just an unfortunate coincidence. from the story and looking at the pictures, it’s probably an allergic contact dermatitis. for anyone else out there who understands medicine (although if you do, you probably already know this) it’s a type IV immune response (delayed type hypersensitvity) involving T-cells. so in other words, yes, an allergic reaction, but not the type that you think of from, like, a bee sting for instance (little medical lesson for ya: that’s a type I hypersensitivity). the response is delayed and your body can react well past the initial insult, which was whatever she’s allergic to. and yes, it can even get progressively worse because your own T cells are attacking your skin. the sandal situation is actually a classic example for dermatology instruction since it’s easy to see what the cause was and it’s relatively common. see shape of sandals – see the shape of lesion.

    if it were truly a chemical burn, it would be an irritant dermatitis, but that would mean that anyone would have this reaction if exposed long enough, which, gauging by the low numbers afflicted is unlikely.

    now, should walmart have recalled the sandals really quickly after people reported this? probably. are they at fault and should they be responsible for the damage to her feet? out of good will maybe, but again, it’s just an unfortunate coincidence that someone with the susceptibility happened to pick the right (or wrong) sandal with the particular thing they are allergic to. i doubt there was anything neglectful here. it’s really unfortunate and i hope she gets better.

  28. Balisong says:

    Soooo…did she ever see a dermatologist? If the answer is no, I still, about a year later, don’t care.

  29. Me - now with more humidity says:

    3 words: personal injury attorney.

    She should have called one the day it happened.

  30. bohemian says:

    Uh, if I remember correctly the woman did see a doctor right after this happened and the doctor did confirm it was some sort of burn, not an allergic reaction.

    An allergic reaction does not leave your feet scarred and unable to wear shoes a year later.

    This woman has been patient enough and she clearly has long lasting damage. She needs to sue.

  31. thewriteguy says:

    I am sick (kinda literally) of looking at this woman’s gross feet. Please, no more, Consumerist.

    She has an allergic reaction to rubber, and she didn’t take legal action against Wal-Mart. So WTH does she expect this site to do about it?

  32. rocket72 says:

    Ummm Tom James sucks. Custom whatever… Had a couple of dress shirts done and one didn’t last two washes. I followed up and nobody wanted any part after the sale.

  33. jennieblue22 says:

    READ THE POST PEOPLE!! AND READ SIMILAR STORIES!! It may LOOK like an allergic reaction from the pics but it is NOT… it was VERIFIED by a DOCTOR that it is a CHEMICAL BURN!!

  34. jennieblue22 says:

    @thewriteguy: I’ve heard of people who did take legal action and got nothing.

  35. jennieblue22 says:

    @balthisar: I think you’re missing the point – SUV’s are gas guzzlers that kill both the environment and your pocketbook.

  36. ShorashiNemean says:

    Comment on 1 Year Later: Feet Scarred From “Chemical Flip Flops,” Walmart Still Not Talking @tekdemon: I can almost assure you those are not marks from an
    allergic reaction. I, unfortunately, am allergic to most metals and
    most plastics, and I have to be very choosy with flip-flops, or else
    my feel will end up looking like this. However, my feet heal within
    a week, a month at the longest from an allergy. While I can’t say
    for sure it is a chemical burn (but it sounds like Kelly can), I can
    be almost positive it’s not just some allergic reaction, and any kind
    of scars would probably have turned brown by now.

  37. parnote says:

    @balthisar: SUV’s burn gasoline at a premium rate, while creating a “premium” carbon footprint. That’s all that’s “premium” about SUV’s. They also increase this country’s reliance on foreign oil. Yeah, oh boy! What a premium product! IMHO, ALL SUV’s should be banned from the road. Imagine how much we could cut America’s dependence on foreign oil overnight!!

  38. Daniel says:

    Wow, I can remember when this story came out. That means I have been reading the Consumersit for more than a year…


  39. AlbusSeverusPotter says:

    I still can’t see how this is a chemical burn. If only certain people developed this condition after wearing the flipflops, then it is an allergic reaction, not a burn.

    For example, if someone throws hydrochloric acid on your skin, you burn and if it gets spashed on the girl next to you, she burns too. No one is immune to that. But you wear sandals with a funky chemical composition and get a funky pattern on your feet but your friend didn’t, then you are allergic.

  40. Jim says:

    IIRC, this is one of the first “blame the victim” threads. Also, one of the first threads to fill quickly with the “why do you still shop there” whiners.

  41. StevenJohn says:

    Looks like contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis can and does occur due to exposure to chemicals.

    Even if it was a “burn”…… Who in Hades keeps wearing the farking flip-flops? The answer to that stupid question is the OP. Yep, she admitted to continue to wear the farking flip-flops after the problem started becuase she was too cheap / poor / stupid to stop wearing the offending products.

    What a farking idiot.

    Now myself, when I washed a particular male undergarment (jockys) in a new laundry detergent and cause contact dermatitis of my private regions I was smart enough to promptly remove the offending garment and go commando for the rest of the school day until I could visit the DR.

    Maybe I am a rocket scientist, or just maybe I have more common sense than the OP.

  42. wildness says:

    If you put something that costs $3 on your feet – ESPECIALLY if it is from Mal-Wart – then your expectations must start pretty low, and if you are surprised that the cheap footwear messed up your feet, then Darwinian principles aren’t doing their job properly.

  43. MikeGrenade says:

    @wildness: I’m inclined to agree but these are freaking shoes we’re talking about here. For $3 I would expect them to be uncomfortable, ugly, and fall apart quickly. I would not even guess they would cause a serious skin reaction. That’s just one of those things that there’s no excuse for.

  44. dollywould says:

    @wildness: Hey, don’t knock $3 flip-flops! Old Navy’s cheapies last me a full summer. (:

  45. Channing says:

    So at anytime you pay $3 or less you’re explicitly signing an agreement that allows bodily harm?
    Right, that makes sense.

  46. TreyGoldfinch says:

    Comment on 1 Year Later: Feet Scarred From “Chemical Flip Flops,” Walmart Still Not Talking I’m voting allergic reaction / dermititis / plastic sensitivity.
    Otherwise, how can it be that out of the (presume) millions of pairs of
    flip flops Wal-Mart probably sold, there are reports of only 200-300
    even exaggerate it to 500 “chemical burns”? How come the other millions
    of people weren’t burned by these chemicals?

  47. Ninja Tree says:

    lets see clothes of ANY price should NOT cause and INJURY to a person.
    Please pay attention to the capitalized words.

  48. Surfergirl1286 says:

    OH MY GOD!!! That’s horrible. I would sue for negligence. That have to take responsibility for the products they sell if they can cause that kind of damage.

  49. julieannie says:

    I followed her site for quite a while. Wal-Mart’s worst actions occurred after they had over 50 cases reported to them and yet still kept it on the shelves. A voluntary recall of these daisy flip flops should have occurred ASAP but it didn’t.

  50. FLConsumer says:

    Isn’t it about time for another Consumerist nazi shirt update post?

  51. ThinkerTDM says:

    The reason little kids in China are making stuff for US is not to keep prices low. It is to keep the bottom line UP. Really. Do you think that the CEO, making millions of dollars per year, decided to do the public a favor? No. He spends all day, everyday, trying to make more money.
    The prices could be the same if those things are made in America. The problem is, the CEO and other executives won’t get as much.

  52. BigElectricCat says:

    I was stationed in Hawaii many moons ago, and I have six words for Kelly/Kerry.

    Scott Hawaii sandals. Soft. Durable. Comfy.

    They cost a lot more, but BOY, are they good. I have a pair I bought almost 20 years ago, and they’re still serviceable. Even with daily use, a pair should still last at least five or six years. With occasional use, ten years or more.


    My old pair is most similar to the Kainalu model.

  53. Pithlit says:

    @mgy: Thank goodness we didn’t let that kind of reasoning stop us from enacting our own child labor laws.

  54. ehlaren says:

    I hope someday you people put something on your feet for a couple hours and scar your feet causing pain for a year or more. Then when you say anything about it people bitch and chastise you for wearing the sandals.

    You were at the beach and you wore sandals for 3 hours. What were you thinking!? You deserve your painful feet injuries! You idiot!


  55. statnut says:

    Its a shame, cause it looks like she has pretty nice feet otherwise. This, along with the fact that I cant keep flip flops on my feet, are why I dont wear them.

  56. bobblack555 says:

    Stop buying cheap plastic shit from Wal-Mart and they’ll stop selling it.

  57. jimconsumer says:

    @tekdemon: this anti-China slander is getting out of hand

    Mr. Wong? Is that you?

  58. jimconsumer says:

    @parnote: IMHO, ALL SUV’s should be banned from the road.

    Go away, you worthless communist. You and your global warming friends are idiots. Ice levels in the Southern Hemisphere are at 25-year highs and we’ve been hitting record low temperatures across the world. Last month in my city was colder than it’s been since the fifties.

  59. kabuk1 says:


    I agree completely, Parnote. Ban the gas guzzling beasts. Global warming(which I don’t even believe in) has nothing to do with my personal SUV-hate, it stems from the fact that I actually drove an SUV for about 7 months & have never hated a vehicle more. I bought it b/c I had a baby & thought it would be easier to get a carseat in & out of. It wasn’t any more comfortable or convenient than the small car I traded in for it, and it was slow and cumbersome, terrifying to drive in windy conditions, and got a whopping 15 city/23 highway. Sucky as hell. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would CHOOSE to drive an SUV unless they lived on a farm or whatever. I drive a 99 Dodge Neon now that gets about 40mpg average & I’ve never been happier.

    On Kelly’s feet- SUE THEIR ASSES. I would’ve called my lawyer the minute my feet started turning pink. Get on the ball girl.

  60. meeroom says:

    I saw these flip flops at the dollar store the other day, I think.

  61. lindalee says:

    It looks more like a latex allergy than a “chemical burn”. I’m amazed that she hasn’t gotten checked out by a doctor. Latex allergies can be life-threatening!

  62. BugMeNot2 says:

    @tekdemon: Ummm… don’t know what press you’ve been reading, but as recently as last week Chinese factories were caught using child labor.


  63. BugMeNot2 says:

    @Channing: You get what you pay for.

  64. wildness says:

    @MikeGrenade & @Channin: My point is not that you deserve to have $3 flip-flops mess up your feet, it is that for $3, I would expect them to be laden with lead-based paint.

    My mom would buy the $5 shoes from K-Mart and I would always tell her that they will mess up her feet… and they did – the surgery costs much more than buying good shoes.

    Buy all the cheap clothes you want (Old Navy stuff IS designed to be cheap and wear out quickly – it is the false part of the deal), but NEVER buy cheap shoes for your feet.

  65. thejakeman has died of dysentry says:

    @C2D: ok sorry, imagine i had said burns instead.

  66. thejakeman has died of dysentry says:

    @jimconsumer: @jimconsumer: wow. a troll. look at it beat its chest and quote things it doesn’t understand.

  67. liquidhypnotic says:

    @BugMeNot2: It is nothing short of tragic when you let subductive phrases speak for you. Learn to think for yourself. Just to be perfectly clear, I highly doubt that she “paid” for disfiguring scars on her feet.

    Your “argument” is completely and totally bogus. Where do you draw the line? At $3, you EXPECT a product to poison you and cause what appears to be permanent damage. Evidently you also expect $5 shoes to do the same. Do you then have, I don’t know, some kind of spreadsheet? Some magic value? Shoes that cost more than X, well they’ll get the job done, maybe they’ll fray a little. B+. Shoes that cost less than X? Oh, well, DUH, they’re totally going to poison your feet. I mean, come on, EVERYONE knows that. Would not buy again.


    And why stop with shoes? I can’t wait until someone buys a cheap shirt from WhereverMart and develops some horrible allergic or whatever reaction to the dyes being used. And there you’ll be, telling them “Oh, DUDE, come on! Duh! Anyone could tell you that when you only pay $6.50 for a shirt, you should just EXPECT it to be dyed in hydrochloric acid. It’s totally your fault.”

    The magic line that you draw between cheap shoes and cheap clothes is mystifying.

    Attitudes like yours are probably the biggest stumbling block to consumer advocacy. I’ll just file you away under “blame the victim”.

  68. jaguarxjs says:

    I’m sorry, but anyone that buys flip-flops simply gets what’s coming to them if they are ‘injured’ by them.

    Flip-flops: Tell society you’ve given up, moved into a trailer park and only have $3.99 left from your welfare check after buying booze.

  69. liquidhypnotic says:


    That was an insightful and useful comment. Thank you for taking the time to sign up and leave that comment here; we’re all enriched because of it. You’ve done the world a service.


  70. almk says:

    I still have a pair of these in my closet. I bought them for shower shoes on a backpacking trip. Not saying it didn’t happen, but I have a tenancy toward contact dermatitis, and I didn’t have any problems.

    On a side note, I haven’t shopped at Walmart since I bought those shoes a year ago. Good for me.