Doctor Explains Why Shoes With Severed Human Feet Keep Washing Up On US & Canadian Coastlines

Is there a serial killer with a foot fetish on the loose?

Dr Karan Raj TikTok Severed Human Feet Dr.KaranR / TikTok

A total of 21 feet have washed up on the Salish Sea coastline since August 2007 on beaches along the coastline of United States and Canada.

The strange phenomenon has bewildered many but we may finally have an answer. 

The feet wash up completely detached from their bodies and have spawned crazy theories about a potential serial killer with a strange fixation on feet. 

However, one doctor, Karan Raj, has taken to TikTok to explain why dozens of shoes containing severed feet are washing up along the coastline.


Why do feet in shoes wash up on shores? 

Dr. Karan Raj says that the severed feet wash ashore is due to the way bodies decompose in the ocean. 

He explains that when dead bodies fall to the ocean floor that scavengers will come into feast on the remains. 

“These scavengers are lazy feeders and prefer to eat the softer parts of our bodies first,” He said. “Some of the softest parts of us are the soft tissues and ligaments around our ankles.”


With the softest and easiest parts of our body to eat being our ankles, He says that “when scavengers chow down on this the foot will detach easily from the body.” 

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Shoes float and carry the feet ashore.

With the way that shoes are made nowadays and the materials that go into them, shoes have become much more buoyant. 

The new sneakers include having a lighter foam and including air pockets in the soles of the shoes. 

This new design allows shoes to float more than they did in the past — which explains why we've only noticed the severed feet over the past decade.. 


Raj concludes his TikTok video by saying in the future we may be seeing more severed feet washing up onshore due to more buoyant shoes and the way that bodies break down.

Coroner Barb McLintock told the National Post when more feet washed up in 2016 that feet didn’t really “come up until we had running shoes that floated so well.”

“Before, they just stayed down there at the bottom of the ocean.” He said.

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The deaths did not involve foul play. 

The cause of death was ruled to have not involved foul play, according to McLintock, but rather ruled a suicide or accidental. 


McLintock and a team of forensic anthropologists  found no signs of trauma on the bodies.

“There’s none that have any suggestion of homicide,” said McLintock. “In every case, there is an alternate, very reasonable explanation.” 

Corporal Garry Cox on Vancouver Island said in 2007 that they had been “informed that it looks like both feet had separated from the body by natural decomposition, possibly while in the water.”


Cox continued that because the foot had natural decomposition and wasn’t clean-cut, that it suggests the victims may have drowned. 

The coroner working that case, Rose Stanton, said that both of the feet were decomposing, but “still had flesh on them.” 

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Ciara Litchfield is a writer and first-generation college student. She works in new and expert content for YourTango. She enjoys reading, napping, and her dog.