Swimmers slam move to withdraw pool shoes

The overshoes will go from Portobello. Picture: Greg Macvean
The overshoes will go from Portobello. Picture: Greg Macvean
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Swimmers have hit out at a decision to withdraw plastic overshoes from council pools.

The blue disposable overshoes are usually worn to cover outdoor footwear in the changing village for hygiene reasons.

Blue shoes have been withdrawn at two pools. Picture: Greg Macvean

Blue shoes have been withdrawn at two pools. Picture: Greg Macvean

But Edinburgh Leisure, which runs the pools on behalf of the city council, has withdrawn them at Portobello and Gracemount on a trial basis.

The firm claims the move has been taken to help save the environment and, if successful, the withdrawal will be rolled out across all of its ten swimming pools.

However, one swimmer, who did not want to be named, said; “It’s an absolute disgrace. They now expect you to walk barefoot through the changing rooms so you come out with soaking feet and have to put your socks on.

“It can’t be good for health and safety as that’s how you get athlete’s foot and there’s going to be an increased risk of picking up a verruca.

“Loads of people at the pool are complaining about it. You get the feeling that they are doing this to save money.”

Emma Corstorphine, 27, a recruitment consultant from Polwarth, goes swimming at least once a week.

She said: “I have to say I really don’t think this is a great idea to go without pool shoes.

“It’s very unhygienic and when you have kids running around it could lead to a lot of problems. If one of them gets a verruca, chances are their siblings and their friends will too.”

But Green councillor Gavin Corbett said: “This measure is well overdue. I’ve never really understood the reason for the sheer volume of these plastic shoes and I suffer to think how many are discarded on a weekly or monthly basis. In other pools they seem to get by perfectly well without them.”

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure said the decision had been taken in response to customer feedback and with a “view to protecting the 

She said: “Edinburgh Leisure is currently trialling the removal of blue shoes from our pools at Portobello Swim Centre and Gracemount Leisure Centre. If this trial is successful, we will look to roll it out across all of our swimming pools. Customers are reminded to remove outdoor footwear prior to entering the changing rooms.”


Verrucas are warts on the foot. They are caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus. They are usually picked up at swimming pools as the humid environment is ideal for the virus, which can survive for months on floors.