I'm travelling from the UK to Canada and I want to take my running shoes, but they are rather muddy.
Is it a problem to take muddy running shoes in my baggage from the UK to Canada? Will I have a problem at customs?
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It might depend on the year. Some years ago when there was a foot-and-mouth pandemic in the UK, they were stricter on entering Canada than they are usually (including a mat for everyone to walk on).
Once (maybe a different year) I entered with muddy hiking boots. They immersed the boots in something for me (formaldehyde perhaps) and gave them back to me in a sealed plastic bag ... I expect they would have been within their rights to confiscate and destroy them, though. Since then, obviously, I scrape and rinse any mud off them before flying.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency:
Many different kinds of items can introduce foreign threats into Canada. These include things as diverse as:
- Food, such as raw or cooked meats, fruit/vegetables, milk;
- Homemade articles, such as items made from plants or wood;
- Live animals, including pets;
- Plant cuttings, seeds; and
- Muddy hiking boots.
Be sure to clean all soil and organic debris off of any items including hiking boots, vehicles, boats and gardening and construction tools/equipment.
They might throw them away if there is enough mud on them to cause the agent to be concerned. To be safe, just wash your shoes before you pack them.