When tested with an XRF instrument, this older Robeez* baby shoe tested positive for Lead with the following readings:
- 626 ppm Lead (yellow areas of the shoe)
- 264 ppm Lead (red areas of this shoe)
- 40 ppm Lead (brown sole of the shoe)
- – – – please continue reading below…..
This is an older “hand-me-down” Robeez shoe that I tested when I did a testing at a public festival in Portland, Oregon years ago (so I do not have this in my collection, nor do I have any additional information about this shoe). The year of manufacture of the shoe is unknown, however it is definitely from before the new Consumer Product Safety Commission legislation (which became enforceable between 2008 and 2011)!
Why is this much Lead in a baby shoe a problem?
Well – for all of the parents out there I am sure I do not have to tell you how often babies put their shoes in their mouth! The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe (and illegal) for modern items made for use by children is anything over 90 ppm Lead in the paint, glaze or coating (like the dye of the leather in this case) and anything over 100 ppm Lead in the substrate.
Please Note: All newer Robeez brand shoes (post 2010) that I have tested have been negative for Lead [and I actually had the opportunity to test quite a few of the different designs – as my mother used to sell these in the store at her farm (all of the bee- and farm-related designs)!
*Since I don’t have these shoes in my collection as a reference (the parent chose to keep them, actually), I don’t know for certain that they are actual Robeez (vs. a counterfeit/knock-off), but they do appear to be an actual Robeez shoe.
Takeaway / advice:
- Buy shoes from known name-brand quality retailers. I personally loved the Stride Rite brand when my children were little, and as they grew I really liked many of the higher quality Japanese or European brands. Unfortunately this meant that – at $50+ a pop – my kids only ever had/have one pair of shoes at a time [now that they are “grown men” their shoes cost $100 to $150 a pair, so the same policy still holds – one pair of shoes at a time!], but that is a compromise that I feel is worth it to make sure their footwear is higher-quality, and their feet are well-protected! I also always bought real leather shoes for my kids when they were little – but as this post shows, leather (even new leather) can be tanned with Leaded dyes – so be super careful in this area with your baby shoe purchase today.
- Buy or accept shoes as gifts only if you can confirm the year of manufacture is 2010 or later – and that they come from a known name brand (and are not a cheap knock-off.)
- Avoid antique and vintage shoes.
- Check out the blog here (link below) for some examples of shoes from brands I have tested which were Lead-free.
- Avoid any children’s shoes with attached decorative items made of metal or plastic (bows, bells, tiny animals, etc.) – This goes for name-brand shoes, too – because they can also make mistakes when sourcing those items.
- For the past 13+ years I personally I pretty much only wear Birkenstocks® (except when my Birks are being re-soled and I borrow my kids’ shoes for a bit! lol) and love the Birkenstock brand for my family. They have great shoes for babies, too – I just wish they offered the large men’s sizes in sparkly pink and other fun colors — for boys like my youngest son, Charlie!!! I have asked them if they might be interested in sponsoring my work! 😉
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.