By Karen Billing
Three years ago, Adria Cammeyer was going through the new travel ritual of removing one’s shoes at airport security and being totally grossed out by the idea of being barefoot where so many others had bared their soles.
“I need a pair of cootie booties,” the Rancho Santa Fe resident said aloud to her husband while looking around at the unsettling barefoot scene.
On the ensuing five-hour plane ride to her native New York City, Cammeyer came up with the idea for her new product, Cootie Booties — essentially a surgical glove for the feet to wear for travel.
Original Cootie Booties are on sale in Hudson locations at the San Diego International Airport, such as Hudson News, Lindbergh Field News and Tech on the Go, with the hope to expand to more airports around the country. The Booties are also now sold at Madison Luggage in Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar.
“I’m really excited,” said Cammeyer. “It was such a level of satisfaction and accomplishment, to see it go from a thought to a model to a prototype. I’m pretty passionate about it, maybe a little nutty about it, but it’s exciting to have a company like Hudson News validate it.”
The purple Cootie Booties are meant to ward off icky stuff such as viruses, infections, athlete’s foot, warts and more. The American Academy of Dermatology and other medical organizations discourage walking barefoot through public places.
“The feet are a very vulnerable entry point for all sorts of infections,” Cammeyer said, noting that MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus) particularly concerns her in shared communal spaces that can become hot spots for threatening germs. Any cut, sore or even dry skin on the foot leaves people exposed to bacteria on a dirty public floor.
“It’s a matter of educating yourself and the public — this is a solution to a serious health risk. The name is cute, but the truth is that it’s really serious.”
Cammeyer has always had an interest in health and wellness. In her varied career, she has worked for an investment banking firm and produced a radio show on health and nutrition, but she always wanted to create her own business.
The single-use Cootie Booties are made out of nitrile, a latex-free rubber that is used to make surgical gloves.
Cammeyer wanted her product to be something that was form-fitting and “snuggly,” not like the hospital booties that go over shoes, which she said can be quite cumbersome.
The booties come in a package of two that looks like a CD case — the socks are meant to be discarded after use so people aren’t putting the germs picked up back in their purse or pocket.
“When you travel, you can count on a Cootie Bootie,” Cammeyer said.
She said the Cootie Booties have many applicable uses outside of travel — they can be used in spas, hotel rooms, the gym, dorm bathrooms or even in the home.
“Eighty-five percent of the germs in the home come from what we bring in from outside,” Cammeyer said. “People say ‘you’re crazy’ or ‘you’re a germphobe,’ but I really just want people to be conscious that this is the world we live in.”
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