Rubber Shoes May Melt in the Phoenix Heat

Don't You Get Stuck Here

Shoe warning issued for desert heat.
Martin Botvidsson / Getty

Dateline: April 1

Maricopa County Fire and Rescue Department has issued a warning to residents and visitors to the greater Phoenix area. Having studied many unreported incidents over the past several years, it has been determined that when temperatures in the Valley of the Sun exceed 110 degrees, it is not uncommon for people to find themselves glued to the ground when the rubber-soled shoes they are wearing literally melt into the asphalt.

The shoes in question include all athletic shoes, sandals, and flip flops. The Arizona Attorney General has issued a ruling that requires all footwear manufacturers to include the following warning on running shoes, court shoes, flip flops, sandals, and all other rubber-soled shoes sold in Arizona:

The Arizona Attorney General has determined that wearing rubber-soled shoes during the summer in the Arizona Desert may cause individuals to become closely and firmly attached to the ground.

I interviewed one gentleman about this surprising announcement. Stanley is a tourist from Wyoming.

Phoenix Expert: So, tell us what happened.

Stanley: It was the first time we were ever in Phoenix. We were in a parking lot at a shopping center. I opened the trunk and was re-arranging items there. It was 120 degrees at the time. I closed the trunk and tried to move. I was stuck. That's right, the soles of my shoes were fused with the asphalt of the parking lot.

Phoenix Expert: And then what happened?

Stanley: My wife got the tool kit and crow bar from the trunk, but despite her best attempts, she couldn't loosen my shoes. She called 911.

Phoenix Expert: And then what happened?

Stanley: The paramedics eventually freed me with their SET (Shoe Extraction Tool). It first gives the shoe and pavement a blast of liquid nitrogen to freeze the surfaces. Then they use this ultrasonic extraction device that looks something like a spatula with wires connected to a black box. Anyway, in about 10 minutes, they had me FREE and walking again. It was a close call, I'll tell you that.

Phoenix Expert: And then what happened?

Stanley: The paramedics gave us a pamphlet called "Don't You Get Stuck Here." The thing you have to remember is to keep walking. Standing in one place will cause your shoes to become welded to the pavement. Go to any parking lot in the heat of the day in the summer and you'll often see several people stuck waiting for paramedics. They told me they had two more extractions to do at that very same shopping center.

If you are concerned about you or your family suffering the consequences of summer shoe meltdown, get everyone bowling shoes, leather moccasins, or cheap dance shoes.

Although he was not prepared to issue any advisories for this coming summer season, the Attorney General is also looking into the dangers of wearing rubber swim caps. We can expect that report shortly.

Happy April Fool's Day!

- - - - - - - - - -

This is an April Fool's Day joke. Shoes really don't melt into the sidewalk when people stand still, although this is one of the myths, or urban legends, that I have heard about our hot Phoenix summers. Yes, there are some pretty hot days in the summer. Some people don't find it a problem, and some people much prefer cooler climates. Here's where you can learn the truth about Phoenix weather.

Special thanks to Randy Stanard, Phoenix Forum member, who provided the concept and the interview responses for this article. It's a joke, people! But I do think my interview questions were riveting....