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Readers Respond: Wearing Shoes in the House

Responses: 160


Shoeless in Canada

I always watch American tv shows and when I saw that they wore shoes inside, I just assumed it was because it would be pointless to constantly write "Jim takes/puts shoes off/on" in the script. Then I saw a psychology documentary and all the Americans were wearing shoes in their house! It blew my mind. Here in Canada everyone takes their shoes off when going to someone's house. I mean sometimes I get lazy and think "oh crap, I forgot something upstairs" and quickly run up with my shoes on (if they're a hassle to get off/on), but it feels so wrong hahaha. A lot of people here seem to be saying that it's rude to ask someone to take off their shoes, or that they get annoyed when others ask them to take off their shoes. I find that really weird because here you don't even have to ask anyone to take off their shoes, they just do it. I don't think this is just an "Asian" thing either, as everyone in my family is either born in Canada, or from northern Europe.
—Guest Sara

More off than on

Personally I like taking off my shoes as soon as I come home. As far as bare feet or socks, it depends. I go barefoot sometimes but more often than not I prefer to walk around in my socks because it's just more comfortable.
—Guest J

I wouldn't sit in dog poop either

I have a no shoes policy in my home. In addition to a basket of slippers, I also keep a box of shoe covers by the door for people who cannot or prefer not to remove their shoes. I do not intend to be inhospitable, but A) I frequently walk barefoot when I am home and do not want to walk on the stuff that one tracks in from the street, and B) worse than exposing my feet to germs, I often sit or even lie down on the carpeted floor. I think that wearing shoes in the house creates the equivalent of putting your bare face or feet down on the sidewalk where dogs and other animals have urinated and pooped. Yuck!
—Guest Erica

No shoes in my house!

We quit wearing shoes in our house 5 years ago when my son was a baby and have never looked back. Now with two kids I could never imagine it! Especially when my ten month old repeatedly licks the tile floors. I'll take my chances with the familiar germs on our family's feet, but not that spit you just stepped in while pumping gas! Eww... As our wooden boot hanging on the front door reads "Take your Shoes Off Or You Will Get the Boot." Most folks are already taking their shoes off before I even answer the door!
—Guest Kelli in Texas

Concerned about shoe stores

I have had really bad experiences at shoe stores after trying on shoes. I have had athlete's foot fungus problems and the carpets in those stores have horrible odors that vacuuming isn't getting rid of. I would be more concerned about those germs than dirt that I can simply clean after a visit from my friends.

Not wearing shoes in the house

I hate when people come to my house and wear shoes on my carpet. I love a clean house. People wear shoes outside where there are numerous germs, dog feces, dirt, etc., that is attached to the bottom of their shoes. I do not want that filth in my home. My kids roll around on the carpet all the time and sometimes my hubby falls asleep on the living room floor. If I don't do it, neither can my house guests. People who know me, know what I expect. If you can't take them off and respect my home, then you don't need to be here. Thanks
—Guest vanessa

It makes sense to take them off, BUT...

No shoes in the house makes total sense to me, although where I grew up people usually wore shoes indoors. However, I have a few questions about logistics: 1) What about elderly or disabled people who will have trouble getting them on or off? Do you make exceptions for them? 2) What do you do when you have to make multiple trips outside to bring in firewood, groceries, etc.? Do you stop to take off or put on shoes each time? 3) What about summertime, when kids are playing outside barefoot? My kids love to go barefoot and seldom wear shoes outside in the summer. Plus they are in and out 1000 times per day. Do you make them wash their feet each time? We are mostly shoes-off here, though I don't freak out if people want to keep theirs on. I am more comfortable not wearing shoes but like I said, I grew up in an area where shoes are kept on so I see both sides of the debate.
—Guest Sally

Inform your guests in advance

Before anyone comes over to my home, I'll let them know that it's a shoes off custom at my place. So they'll know not to wear panty hoses [for ladies]. When I have a party at my home, I'll also let them know in advance that they will have to leave their shoes at the door. If they need any special requirements like indoor slippers, I'll have it arranged. But absolutely NO foot wear on my tatami. I was worried that some people might get offended at first, but my guest always end up washing their feet and heading over to the tatami room to lie down.
—Guest kitty

No shoes or slippers on my tatami!

I specially installed a foot wash area near the front door to cater to guests who worry about their foot odor. And some socks to keep their feet warm in the cold months. So far, no one has used the socks yet. And my house guests have informed me that they enjoy coming over. Had a party at my place once, and my guests happily kick off their shoes at the door and proceed on to wash their feet. Basically it all boils down to respect. I respect my guests so I do my best to cater to them. In return, I expect them to respect my home. If you don't like it, then don't come over. By the way, it's a good idea to fill up a squirt gun with soap and place it at the foot wash area. It's fun!!
—Guest Kitty


Shoe removal was the norm at my mom's (U.S.) house. It's now my custom too. I do almost understand the lack of shoe removal of those who never use their floor as furniture (sitting, lying down etc.), have no kids, and who have dark carpet, tile or laminate. But I've seen every bodily fluid expelled in a parking lot, well, except brain fluid. And car fluids. And don't tell me you think public restroom floors are clean. The mopping just spreads the muck out a little thinner. Go wipe your shoes with a white cloth and spray cleaner and see what you get. I do have a cat, and I have thought about the "walking through their poop" thing. The litter box gets cleaned regularly. I always see him cleaning himself, paws included, even between his little toes. Yes, yes I know, cat saliva. But if you licked your feet before you walked on my carpet I wouldn't care. I prefer that over the bottom of your shoes.

In Greece...

In Greece you won't generally be expected to take your shoes off when visiting a house. Especially in more formal occasions (a dinner party for example) it would seem extremely out-of-place to ask your guests to do so.
—Guest Popus


I feel naked without shoes on. What ever happened to the host being hospitable?
—Guest j

Shoes off is always the best policy

I believe in shoes off. It is always the best policy. It is a common courtesy to take them off in someone's house, a sign that you respect their home. If you're worried about the smell or if some one has no socks on, then offer them a fresh pair. It's not that hard to bend over and take your shoes off people. Let's be respectful. The only exceptions are if you: a) hate and don't respect the homeowner, or b) are having a party and people are going in and out a lot.
—Guest Diana

No Shoes

It's weird to me that it's a debated matter whether people leave their shoes on or off in the house. For me and everyone I have ever known and visited, shoes are always taken off at the door. There was never any question about it, you came in the house, you took off your shoes and if you wore slippers around the house it was to keep your feet warm. The only reason I ever thought maybe it was a cultural thing was because on all the television I've seen everyone always has their shoes on, unless they're in their bed or something. I don't really care and I don't think it matters much either way.
—Guest Sandra

Dirt really, really people?

There is no right or wrong answer. If you have a no shoe policy, that's fine. If you wear shoes inside, also fine. From a microbiological point of view, let's be honest, it's not any more sanitary not to wear shoes inside your home. I rather see shoes than your dirty, ugly, fungal, and bacterial infested feet. Not to mention what nasty communicable disease you got carrying with you. Do me a favor sometime, culture what's under the average person's foot and you "no shoe" people will throw up. I just hope you don't ask your guest to take their pants off because they sat on a park bench or road the subway to your house. Perhaps you do. Just a word of advice, if you ever visit the President or say the Queen of England, don't be an idiot and take your shoes off.

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Wearing Shoes in the House

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