The Big Shoe-Down | Seventh Generation
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The Big Shoe-Down

Author: BethArky

Leave your shoes outside (please)!I love the environment as much as the next greenie; I'd just rather you leave it at the door. In other words, please lose the shoes before you cross my threshold. This policy elicits strong passions, both for and against. With holiday parties fast approaching, I decided to get to the bottom of the Great Shoe Debate.

The practice got its 15 minutes of fame in 2003, thanks to a memorable Sex & the City episode that, unfortunately, gave shoe-shucking a bad name. In order to enter the inner sanctum of a friend's baby shower, a horrified Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is ordered to add her Manolo Blahniks to a pile by the door. On the way out, she discovers her pricey footwear is missing, forcing her to head home in a ratty loaner pair of sneakers.

BTK -- Before the Kid -- my foot fetish only kicked in after the cleaning person did her magic, leaving us with a "go-ahead-and-eat-off-me" floor. On those occasions, I'd stop the DH at the door with an urgent "Take off your shoes!" Eventually, he got the hang of it.

But children really do change everything. Once I had a smiling, sweet-smelling babe scooting around on our wood floors, the thought of all the disgusting, uninvited debris visitors were tracking in made my skin crawl. Suddenly I was a lioness, willing to brave undarned socks and smelly feet -- not to mention nasty looks -- to protect my cub. Matthew's thumb-sucking only added to my anxiety. (On the other hand, some experts now say it's not a bad thing for kids to eat dirt -- that it might help build their immunities. I will try to remember this research when we're taking a second mortgage to cover his braces.) And so I embraced the shoes-off policy.

In my social circle, enforcement usually isn't a problem. Most guests assume they'll be performing a below-the-ankle strip tease, or think to ask before stepping inside. At parties, I almost always see piles of big and little boots, ballet slippers, and running shoes in the front hallway.

But then I got to wondering: What do my friends around the country think of this practice? So I asked them. It turns out that most like the idea.

Susan, the pearl-bedecked pal you met in my post Julia Child: Green Goddess wrote, "I always say I only did three things right as a parent: 1) the remove-your-shoes-at-the-front-door rule; 2) I never kept soda in the house and 3) I can't remember this one, but it does exist!"

Tim commented, "Living in Asia converted me to a shoe-less lifestyle at home and I've never looked back. Once I started thinking about what my shoes walked through during the day, I never wanted to track them through my home again."

Some go out of their way to accommodate their shoeless guests. Stef, who recently instituted the policy, wrote, "We had more than a dozen people over last week for a dinner and no one complained. But one guest asked if I had slippers for her; I gave her socks." Tim added that in Asia, people would generally provide slippers, sandals or flip-flops. "Alas," he admitted, "I'm not that gracious of a host. You'd be stuck in your stocking feet. Sorry!"

The kids, teens, and twentysomethings who were raised on the practice go with the flow. Elise has a "no, really kids, you don't have to take off your shoes here" policy, "but nine out of ten of my son's friends do it, anyway. It's been a hoot to watch the footwear go from size 10 Stride Rites to mammoth, stinky Etnies, Converse, Vans, and Birkenstocks." Robyn, who relishes rural living outside of Austin, wrote, "We live on a farm and consequently, all kinds of stuff gets tracked in. I've noticed, however, that the kids prefer to remove their shoes, even at other folks'."

Turns out it's mostly adults who balk at the idea. Nancy reported that her Dear Husband is very offended, à la Larry David, and "pretty much refuses to go inside if people insist."

However, I was most surprised by Michael's venom. "I HATE, HATE, HATE having to take my shoes off at someone's house," he wrote. "What if my socks smell or don't match?" If you're having guests over, he reasoned, aren't they going to show up nicely dressed, on their best behavior? "Your first job as the host is to make your friends comfy. Your second job is to not freak out if they track something in."

Francine shared Michael's sentiments and offered a friendly suggestion: "If someone has a shoes-off policy, they should put that on the invite so there won't be a roomful of embarrassed people with holes in their socks."

And now, let us return to my house. After I instituted The Rule six years ago, every time my father-in-law came over, he eyed me as if I were a Gulag commander, then marched in fully shod. Finally, my diplomatic mother-in-law put an end to the Cold War by supplying slippers for both of them.

Like AJ, who maintains an "if you'd like to take off your shoes, that'd be great" kind of policy, I've mellowed over time. I pick my battles, especially when it comes to my DH's dad. Truth be told, I don't have a leg to stand on now that my former rug rat has morphed into a kid who cruises through our apartment on his dirty scooter. (When you lack a backyard, basement, or Bungee jump, concessions must be made.)

Which leads me to an even bigger confession: I wear shoes. In the house. All the time.

For the last couple of years I have suffered from painful heel spurs, so when I broke my foot in the summer of '08, it sealed the deal -- I had to opt for support over spotless floors. Now it's a "do as I say, not as I do" rule. I vacuum on a semi-regular basis -- please don't ask how often I pull out the sponge mop -- and try to remember to wipe down my soles. But the only real solution will be springing for a house-only pair of lace-ups.

I guess my father-in-law has the last laugh, after all. Let's just keep it to ourselves.

So when it comes to the Great Shoe Debate, where do you stand? Post away!

photo: Lloyd Morgan


Marko66 picture
Growing up, my mother always had everyone take off their shoes at the door. She kept slippers there for us to change into. Consequently our carpets were in pristine condition. I have my own house and family now and our house is a shoes free zone. We wear slippers and prefer our guests to do the same.
dnleblanc picture
We do not wear shoes in our house and I grew up with that rule, so it comes natural to me. I have had actual arguments with friends and family members over this, which I think is ridiculous! It's my house - obey the rules or don't come over. I like to be able to walk on my floors with white socks and know that they will still be white at the end of the day. I want to wrestle with my kids or dogs on the floor and know that I will be clean when I get up. For me, it's a no brainer.
hethy picture
I for one, am a lunatic about people taking their shoes off at my house. As with some other people, it started when I had my son. I even got my Mom and Dad on board eventually changing their house over to a "shoeless" house. When my Mom kept coming over and saying, "How do you keep your floors so clean?", she caught on. I use to have a problem with my father-in-law, always saying he he didn't. We always have a power struggle. I have on occaision, had the "offended" person, but I don't back down, my house, my rules. If you don't like it, leave! Even repair men are usually cooperative. The only problem I have with this debate, are the people whose house I go to that say "leave 'em on or take 'em off, I don't care". Then I tend to keep them on because my socks end up black from walking around on a floor that other people have been wearing their shoes on! So, pick a side, on or off, and stick to it!
llittenb picture
Well I must say I don't have little ones crawling on my floors but I started having a shoes off policy in my home due to my sons asthma and being extremely allergic to grass and dust. I can tell you I vacuum at least 3 times a week and even with a no shoe policy I pick up an amazing amount of dust throughout the home, I can only imagine how much I would pick up if we didn't. There is going to be that one person who refuses to do it, but if you are willing to fight the battle and say something like polite to remind them each time eventually they get the hang of it.
brandchan picture
I grew up in a no shoes house because my Mother was pretty OCD about being clean. I now live in an apartment that when the time comes to live, I have to pay for a carpet cleaning. So, I ask if people would please take off their shoes. I won't force someone if they really don't want to, but my friends know my preference and no one really complains. I also don't see they problem of buying a couple of cheap pairs of slipper for people to wear, if they need something to keep their feet warm. Also, what is it with the people with holes or non-matching socks? When I get a hole in my sock it gets trashed and then I buy new socks. As for non-matching socks, is it that hard to match your socks?
marymargaret picture
What about Athletes Foot? It is a communicable disease! I was reading where someone offered to let a guest use their socks or slippers! No way! Nor do I want them rubbing their socks of bare feet in my carpet!
kcoleman picture
As I was reading through all these comments, one thing really stood out to me. Many people have kids take off their shoes while allowing adults to leave theirs on. In my experience, with my 7 year old, he does tend to play in the snow and jump in puddles more, and there is the whole stepping in dog poo thing, but still, I know that for the most part, I walk in the same places he does. I think that it's just as important for adults to remove shoes as it is for kids! And on the "I have a dog" thing. I don't think it's hypocritical to ask people to remove shoes when you have dogs. I know that my dogs will track in dirt from my yard, but they aren't walking through antifreeze, oil or anything else that humans would be walking in on a daily basis. If you walk your dogs, I hope that you really watch for those things anyways, as they can kill a dog. Plus, you should always check your pets feet after walking anyways, as there are actually seeds that can BURROW into their feet if left in their paws...ouch! Maybe I'm the minority, but I have dogs and I don't see the problem with asking guests to remove theire shoes. They pretty much all know when they come over that it's a house rule...
ussmiths picture
I agree with many of the above bloggers that shoes come off when entering a home. I am a nurse by profession and a mother of three young children by trade. I have work shoes that stay at work--I wouldn't dream of wearing them home, even if I took them off at the door. Shoes come off when we all enter the house and slippers/wool clogs or other footwear designated for the home go on. I, too, vacuum daily and keep the floors tidy, but have any of you thought what your vacuum is tracking around?? Make sure to clean the floor attatchment and other cleanable gadgets (with 7th gen. of course)regularly and make sure the carpet attatchment gets a cleaning, too. As far as the shoes off debate, I always bring a pair of packable comfortable slippers with me--I keep mine right in the car--when visiting a friend or a night out to a house party...just in case the house rules are "NO SHOES", I am prepared.
annaw picture
In Hawaii, it is not even discussed - footwear comes off outside the door, including when dressed up for parties in homes. I worked at an elementary school where all shoes were removed entering the classroom. It is pretty cute to see all the little slippers (mostly flip-flops) lined up. Anna
ask alice picture
ask alice
Shoes are allowed in living/kitchen/dining area, which has laminate floors. Shoes-off for rest of the house which has new hardwood. That way guests don't have to immediately remove their shoes, and we don't track dirt into our beds.
hoffmanfamily picture
My husband first initiated the "shoes-off" policy but now he is the worst offender. He does make sure the kids' shoes are taken off, and at the end of the day he is compliant, but in the morning and during the day I know that he goes around the house in his dirty-soled shoes. For your heel spurs, try indoor-only slippers with cork soles; they have been wonderful for my toe pain and keep the dirt out by not being worn outside. I generally don't ask adults to take off their shoes, but definitely the children.
hi picture
Wearing shoes in the house can be a source of lead tracked in. "Taking shoes off at the door cut the lead dust by 60%, better than door mats."
aliceone picture
I love supposed experts and scientific individuals who say no one has ever gotten sick from a dirty shoe. Really? How would you know? Who knows where you pick up the parasite, the ecoli infection? Besides, should you have to get sick to become nauseated by the thought of the spit, feces, etc you track inside? Carpet?? Even worse. You can't clean it. If you rent a cleaner, you're washing everyone else's dirt into your pile. Otherwise it just lays there, waiting to catch anything that comes by. Same with shoes on couches, pillows, beds. I don't give guests an option. My home, my rules. Other people own cats and allow them to walk on and lounge on food prep surfaces. I don't go to their homes and enforce my clean rules, but you will never see that where I make dinner. I had plantar fasciitis and was told to wear shoes all the time. The shoes are the reason my feet became injured in the first place. I now run in huarache sandals and go barefoot in the house and the only time I get the old pains back is when I wear a normal shoe.
Tiffany Mannion picture
Tiffany Mannion
I've put a sign on my glass exterior door that says "Please take your shoes off. Thank you. -The Management" I can't stand the idea of wearing outside shoes in the house. We have a standard poodle, and he wanders around outside to find his special place during the day. It's gross to think about traces of my poodle on my floors. I have two pairs of inside only shoes, and wear them around the house only. We've been a no shoes in the house family for years, and my parents do not comply in the least---or other family members either. I stopped washing the floors before they come over. And I do it when they leave.
tntspidell picture
Long before my son was born my husband and I have had a strict "NO SHOE" policy at our homes. It is disgusting to even comprehend the filth we walk through in a day. I am not just talking about "dirt"--my kid had eaten plenty of bugs, put rocks in his mouth--I am talking the truly disgusting stuff. You walk in Walmart, get on the subway--GO TO HOSPITALS!! I just mentally think, would I let my son lick those floors? Because the toys he is going to put in his mouth eventually are touching it! I am not an evil grinch about it though. Just like the blogger I have a mother in law that is in pain without her special support shoes, so for her and other's who just prefer to leave their shoes on, I supply "booties" that are slipped on over the shoes. (Think surgeon's booties, but water resistant) They are not the most stylish apparal, but for those who just won't bend on the no shoes they are at least an alternative. I also have a standing supply of dollar store slippers for those that prefer. A person's home is their castle--I personally feel obligated to respect their wishes.
aaa12345 picture
I am concerned about chemicals that enter my house so I am a totally NO shoe enforcer. Come on guys less cleaning?! More time spend with our cuties!! If you think where your shoes have been all day and then you track that into your chemical free floor what is the point?
shutto picture
I don't care so much about exposing our baby and toddler to dirt or germs that travel into our home on shoes. I am more concerned about chemicals, fertilizers, and/or pesticides.
Astrotrain picture
I grew up in Florida where we always used shoes in the house, even on the carpet which when I think about it now makes me cringe. When I met my husband and moved up to Canada I realized people up here generally don't wear shoes in the house so I easily changed my habits. I still remember visiting my then-boyfriend on my first visit ever to his house in the middle of February and gingerly running up the carpeted stairs to his room with the same boots I had tracked all the way through the airports and snowy streets; his parents must have been horrified! Personally I think for hygiene reasons it is just cleaner to take off your outside shoes in the house, especially if you have carpets. I mean, think about all the stuff you walk through on any given day, the streets are full of germs from animal poop, people's diseased spit, car tires that have run over dead animals...this is not just a little dirt you're tracking in people! For all you know you could be bringing in the plague into your house lol.
lambrosi picture
lambrosi Whether it be shoes,skies,snowshoes,wet ALL comes off in our mud room! Our family and friends and new guests learn/know the drill. We are happy to supply slippers and any clothing as needed, but NO ONE comes into our shared living space with shoes! Our house have a very comfortable feel, we accept our guests and friends as they come...their clothing or lack of matching/holey socks are of no concern to us. We want to enjoy their company, we are happy to supply them with what ever...I have had kids join us from hiking the AT,private school friends, and long time one ever told me they felt unwelcomed with our "shoe" rule.It puts us ALL on an even playing field!Our Newfie, Maggie, has been the only one bringing her footprints upstairs...ah... what we do for our animals and their friends...I can live with that!!! Joyous New Year To All!
mrsncook picture
I detest shoes, and I've always gone barefoot as long as possible. From when the ground begins to thaw and the temperature rises above 30F to the time the frost hits the ground, I go barefoot. In the winter, I've learned to like slip on slippers. I can't sleep with cold feet, so I put a hot rice pad at the bottom of the bed and reheat it in the middle of the night if I need to. I prefer kicking my shoes off the second I hit someone's door, inside if it's winter, and can't wait to run around with socks or bare feet as soon as possible. My husband is the opposite. It used to drive me nuts that he would wear shoes in the house, and I would urge him to kick off the shoes and get comfortable. After several years of marriage, some where we lived in HI and couldn't track red mud into the house, he doesn't mind going shoeless in the house as long as he has socks on. I prefer not having shoes in the house so we don't track in dirt that requires constant steam cleaning to remove. I prefer to have a shoe rack by the front door for people to remove their shoes. I think having slippers and washing them after each use is a good idea. I prefer to tell my guests, "Please leave shoes at the front door." I try not to make a fuss and insist they do. And who cares if they have mismatched socks or holes? Maybe they want socks as a gift! lol I do worry about foot odor, even though I keep my feet very clean, so I know it can be a concern. However, unless a person just hasn't washed their feet in several days, I usually don't say anything. I know some people with sweaty feet, and they just leave the shoes outside when needed. No big deal. It happens. Right now I don't enforce the no shoes policy in my house. Yes, you should leave snowy shoes by the door so you don't track water everywhere and end up with people slipping on the tile in the kitchen. Other than that, I don't make a fuss right now. These carpets are so old it's ridiculous, and they need replaced. When we get our new floor, however, we'll enforce our no shoes policy again. (I will add slippers to my list, this time.) As for offended guests, well I've been one of those that could be offended. I was told by one person that they did not want me removing my shoes at the door and entering their house in bare feet. Ever since, I make sure I at least have slippers on. That's their policy, and I respect it. I don't get offended, I just respect their house rules. And as for guests in my house, I know some who can't wait to kick off their shoes in my house and others who won't remove them at all. They might not be able to bend down and un/tie their shoes for all I know. As long as their shoes aren't tracking mud everywhere, I don't make a big deal about it. If someone has a fake leg, well, maybe they want to walk around with their foot. I don't know. Really, it's up to them. It wouldn't embarrass me at all. They have the right to say they have a medical condition that doesn't allow them to. In cases like that, a steam cleaner is a good thing. ;)
michelle pengelly picture
michelle pengelly
I am from Canada and wearing shoes in the house is a big no! Who knows where those shoes have been. Did you step in dog poop, were you in a public bathroom? Personally I do not want those germs and bacteria all over my house, especially in carpet (I don't have the time to steam clean daily). It is not very sanitary to wear shoes in the house that's why someone invented slippers, smart person!
Jeani picture
And you can keep a supply of shoe covers, the kind surgeons put over their shoes in the operating room, on hand for people who forgot their socks or prefer to keep their shoes on. Offering someone "used" socks or slippers to put on is not acceptable. It's that fungus-thing again!
Jeani picture
Being a certified (or certifiable!) germaphobe, I would love to have a shoeless house. Can't work, though, for two reasons: 1. My husband won't go for it, and 2. Many people don't wear socks, and I don't want bare feet on my floors and furniture. If you have carpet, which I don't, bare feet will soil your carpet worse than people's shoes will. The skin's natural oils will rub onto the carpet, not only soiling it but making it attract more dirt to the oily spots. We have ceramic tile floors throughout our house, so that isn't the problem I have with bare feet. Foot fungus, toenail fungus, athlete's foot and who knows what other highly contagious diseases are very common. Even the "nicest" people, the cleanest people, get them. And I don't want them on my floors and furniture. (I say furniture because people who take their shoes off in my home invariably tuck a foot under them or in some other way make foot-to-fabric contact with my furniture.) Also, I have a foot structural problem for which my podiatrist has advised never going barefoot or wearing shoes with less than a 1.5-inch heel. So I wear shoes at all times. If I'm going to visit a shoeless home, I take a pair of indoor-only shoes with me to change into. If I'm taken by surprise by hosts who didn't have the courtesy to forewarn me, they just have to lump it. I'm not going to take my shoes off and then suffer with foot pain for weeks to come. I ask them to bring me damp paper towels with which to clean off my shoes, but that's as far as I'll go. If they prefer, I can always leave. No worries. Anyone with a shoeless home who is giving a party needs to include that bit of information with the invitation. And I would add a request that they bring socks. Example: "We prefer not to have bare feet or outdoor shoes on our carpets, so be prepared to slip off your shoes. If you're not wearing socks, please bring a pair to put on."
royale455 picture
I grew up in a suburb in MD and it was a daily household rule during winter snows to remove shoes, but not for parties or any other time. I now live in a suburb in TX and we have all hardwood floors, with two indoor only cats, a mostly outdoor dog and a five year old. We have never had a policy since living here. Our thoughts are a little dirt and germs are good for the healthy immune system (and we have done some scientific reading to develop our opinions, unfortunately I do not remember my sources). Interestingly, I cannot recall being asked to remove my shoes at anyone's home here. I prefer to keep mine on and my wife takes her's off as soon as she sits down. Just remembered - most of my inlaws in GA have a no shoes policy. To each his own. There is so much more to life than avoiding every germ or causing a fuss over having to take you shoes off. That said, the above post about being on a busy street does make sense on a daily basis and providing shoes covers makes a great host.
Polka Dot picture
Polka Dot
I understand the dirt & germs thing, it makes sense, not just becuase of germs but you get to clean less! All the same I'm annoyed when I arrive to someone's home and learn I must take off my shoes and I didn't get a heads up ahead of time. I live in New England and the floors are really cold in the winter. It would be considerate to provide flip flops or something or let you know ahead of your visit so that one can bring an extra pair of shoes. I've learned to travel with "indoor" shoes on stormy days and for the folks that are committed to the no-shoes policy. Mostly, I've found that for parties, people are less strict because they clean up afterward. Though its considered a general rule, that if mud or snow is on your shoes - they should come off! Also, if you have pets that go outdoors (like I have), then you are a hypocrite if you ask people to take off their shoes. Unless you are wiping the dogs feet every time they come in and out - which I tried for awhile but its too much work! So I gave up on the idea of becoming a shoe free home.
nwad picture
We live on a very busy street with the front of our house facing constant traffic and its emissions. The more years we live here, the more traffic there seems to be. As you approach the house, you can smell exhaust,especially diesel, and see the "dust" particles that coat all surfaces of the porch. Diesel exhaust molecules, in particular, are extremely toxic and increase risk of disease such as cancer and birth defects. While most people won't have the amounts of these particles coming into their homes from foot tracking as we do, I would suggest that you do walk in the real world where your shoes will trudge though some form of not-just-dirt (oil leaks, antifreeze, pesticide, whatever) that should definitely not be delivered onto your floor in your home. My home is where I can control what my children and pets are exposed to, its our sanctuary. I do ask for shoe removal and provide shoe covers (like the ones realtors provide) for those who silently protest my weird proposal. They cost less than 50 cents and can be used over and over until they are dead. We use different shoes/boots for our one acre, only-dirt, back yard and also take them off at the back door.
pfontova picture
I love to take my shoes off and often do it when I am sitting down anyway. However, if I dress for a party and have really cool shoes to go with my outfit I would hate to have to take them off. Also, what if I have long pants that need heels to not drag on the floor? Do I take them off and step on the hem of the pants the whole night? All I am saying is please warn me so I can plan accordingly and make sure my feet look nice! At home it would never work - I have 2 big dogs that spend a lot of time outside.
komiiro picture
There is a definite "no shoes in the house" rule in my house. I do not need outside contaminants being tracked all over my home, nor do I like having to vacuum and wash floors more than I have to. While I do not make my guests take them off and leave them outside of the door, I do have a rack that is easily organized so that there is no dreaded "pile" at the entrance area and to save on loss and damage -- while I do not appreciate dirt and other nasty stuff in my house I also know that shoes are too expensive to constantly replace so I respect both by having the foresight to make sure I have plenty of clean, secure and organized storage space. I also took a page from the Japanese in supplying indoor slipper-shoes that are non-slip and comfortable. In winter, they are warmed so that my guests are not subjected to not only losing their shoes, but also being forced to put their feet in something cold or walking across a cool floor in their bare or socked feet. And I keep them clean, fashionable and in various, neutral, colours for different occasions. I have been thanked on numerous occasions by new guests to my home for that one little gesture. And no shoes have EVER been lost or stolen from my entry way.
gottadance picture
OK - I get that when you have kids you have to make them take off their shoes - or when you have a crawling baby you want the floor clean. I have a mudroom and when I'm working in the yard or it's raining or snowing, I take off my shoes, then put on slippers or other shoes. I know a lot of people like to be in their socks but I am not one of them - my feet are sensitive and even at home I am rarely without slippers or shoes. When you invite guests over, they are just that - guests. If you have a firm no shoes policy, you should definitely say so in invitation, evite or over the phone. Then you leave it up to the individual to bring their own slippers (who wants to put on someone else's slippers - talk about germs -gross!) or inside shoes. I was going to a wine tasting at someone's house. Yes, a wine tasting. Not a kiddie b-day party, not a bbq, not a potluck. It was early fall and I had on a pretty nice outfit - it wasn't raining, I had on my dress shoes and the woman asked us to take our shoes off. I seriously was so offended. I think that people need to understand this is a very personal thing. Had I known this was a no shoes policy, I would have brought some inside shoes or at least some ballet slippers. So there I was - in my dressy black pants, camisole top and bare feet!!!! Not to mention, I'm sorry, but I don't want to see strange men in their socks. If you aren't family or a good friend I have no desire to see you barefoot or in socks. I thought it was SO TACKY. Here's the thing - if you want to make kids take off their shoes - who cares they're kids. If you have a baby crawling, keep the baby off the floor or in a certain area during the party, put a rug down and let the baby crawl on that and clean the floor again after the GUESTS leave. Or, at a minimum, let people know ahead of time.
jcmiksitz picture
We had all tile floors, really no carpet and very little wood flooring, built in our home so that it would not be an issue. Tile will not get scratched or damaged by tracking in whatever ... not to mention it's dog friendly! So we take the clean-shoe-policy - if you haven't stepped in doo-doo, mud, been walking in woods, etc. - leave 'em on. We mostly wear slippers when we get comfy in the house. But my DH has a big problem with shoe-free homes, why invite people over if you want to make them uncomfortable?? I guess one solution would be that we all start traveling with slippers.
sunshine7290 picture
I used to be considered the "Are your shoes off at the door?" police. Since dating someone with small children, I have become more lax. I do ask family and personal friends that frequent our home daily and weekly to remove their shoes for constant cleaning purposes, but during gatherings where there are larger numbers of people around I use the whatever works policy. It does however drive me to distraction when my soon to be mother-in-law, who knows how I feel, walks into my home with mounds of snow falling off of her shoes, and leaves deposits all over for her grandchildren to walk through causing numerous sock changes. I don't think I would be as angry if it weren;t for the fact that when you visit her home those shoes better be parked by the door. So, my new policy is; shoes...whatever, with the exception of wet cold snow. ;)
Castal picture
I used to live in Alaska, where almost everyone assumes that shoes come off at the door during winter thanks to the snowy salty muck that is outside. Most people I knew would bring separate shoes for inside and outside when at parties! (to go along with the different shoes that they used at work/school) Now I live in the land of sand, clay, and goatheads (those little puncture vine horrors that go through everything... including feet) instead of the land of snow. Here most people are very careful about either making sure that they take off their shoes or that they brush off any of the offending pokey seeds. When I had all tile throughout the house I generally had no problem with people wearing shoes around (I do because of arthritis, but there are no stickers involved). Now that I have thick carpet I have different opinions: no stickers allowed! The dark brown hides the dirt and sand, but those little caltrop shaped stickers hide all over the house from people tracking them in on shoes. Now when we have parties I politely request that people take off their shoes when inside, but I don't really worry about it if I know that they are careful about removing the spikes. Oh... and I do tend to get caught with shoes inside the house. But the dogs have be relegated to outside only ever since carpet. The last thing I need on top of the stickers are the allergens that they drag in (and the back yard dirt too).
markipsha picture
If you just think about where your shoes have been, and what could be even invisibly attached to them, UGH! Take them off at the door!
lminney picture
I don't have the luxury of going barefoot inside, I wish I could! I cannot go without shoes inside because I have Plantar Fasciitis. I bring an extra pair of shoes when I visit someone's house regardless of their rule (and I do explain why). At home I have shoes that I only wear inside and other shoes for work, the yard, the gym, etc. A little sympathy & understanding goes a long way people!
Ellendell picture
You just never know whose shoes might be attached to a prosthetic device. Go ahead and embarrass yourself.
rojocheeks picture
Walking into a public restroom, you approach the dirty toilet with questionable liquid around the base. You step in it, disgusted, but quickly forget about it as you do your business. A few hours later you walk into your house, and your baby crawls away, sticks his hand into his mouth, picking up the toy which also makes it into his mouth. Is he tasting the restroom by any chance? My husband and I never enforced the "shoes off" rule until we had our son. I can't imagine the germs, dirt, viruses... you name it, making its way into my son's body. He will indeed be exposed to such things through everyday life, but if I can lessen that exposure in my own home, I will do it. Taking off the shoes at the door significantly reduces the tracking on light colored carpets and thus makes cleaning easier. Indoor slippers provide warmth and anti-slipping assistance if one has tile or hardwood. If you're invited as a guest, why on earth would you wear socks with holes? Why haven't those socks been repurposed as rags or oven cleaning mitts? I'd personally be thoroughly embarrassed to be seen with a hole in my stockings! As a host, it would be most courteous to mention the "shoes off" in the invite or provide slippers/flip flops/new pair of socks for their guests.
SJGZ314 picture
As someone who is a little bit of a germ-a-phobe, I liked a shoeless house even before I had a baby. Pre-baby, I would allow shoes for special occasions and just clean the next day. I considered the additional cleaning just another part of the event. But now that my little guy is crawling around on the floor there is no way that I will allow shoes in the house. The stuff I walk through on a daily basis is NOT the kind of dirt/germs that would help my son develop a good immune system. It’s the kind of stuff that would make him very sick. There's plenty of dirt of the floor, even without wearing shoes in the house, for him to develop his system. Those who object generally think do so based on their fashion sensibilities or, occasionally, their own comfort. But neither of these reasons supersedes the health of my child. I do, of course, make exceptions, such as for my 90+ year old grandmother, who I would not want to slip. Any other normal, healthy guest entering my house can deal with a "ruined" outfit or the fact that wood floors might be slippery. For the record, the dog's feet get thoroughly wiped with baby wipes every time he enters the house. Once my baby is older, I'll go back to an everyday shoeless house with exceptions made for special occasions/parties.
sarah_p picture
When I lived in California whether or not you took off your shoes didn't make much difference, most people wear flip-flops anyway, and there was rarely mud to track in. Since living in Portland removing shoes, or having house-shoes is essential, the wet muddy ground is a constant in the winter and it is always assumed that you should take your shoes off. Most people bring slippers with them when they wish to cover their socks, and some houses I've been to provide slipper socks. Overall after having a toddler I appreciate the practice more, and since most people in Oregon don't wear Jimmy Choos on a day to day basis we haven't had any complaints. :)
wildrhodie picture
I also HATE to take off my shoes when I enter someone else's house. I definitely don't like walking around in my stocking feet, and I don't want to put on someone else's old slippers. I usually take a pair of shoes with me that I've cleaned off the soles with some sort of cleaner, when I know that I'm going to someone's house that insists I remove my shoes. When I was living in Iran, one of my good friends was an Iranian MD, and he purposely let his infant daughter crawl around on the floors. He told me that it was better for her to build up her antibodies, instead of trying to avoid germs at all costs. I brush my shoes off carefully on the welcome mat, or one of those brush thingies some people have. That's good enough for my wood floors and Persian rugs at home, and I think it's good enough for someone else's house!
Gandree picture
I can't wait to shuck my shoes when I get home but my mother-in-law never could stand letting her foot rest on the floor. I kind of instituted a take them off if you want type rule. Most of the people we see everyday kick their off. If we are having a party, I don't make a big deal about people wearing their shoes and then clean after they leave. It seems to me that as far as the dogs go, they mostly track in dirt the family is used to. It's the germs and stuff from "foreign soil" that our wandering shoes track in that causes the problem. In any case, it makes a difference whether you have rug rats or not.
mlouie picture
I resent being told to take off my shoes at the door because my feet get too cold without shoes on, even if I have thick socks on. In the USA, no one who makes people take their shoes off ever provides socks or slippers, in my experience. And they don't warn you that their house is shoeless. So, for someone like me who gets cold feet, I have to suffer from cold feet the whole time I am in their house unless I bring slippers with me from home (which I don't because I didn't know their house is shoeless). Also, if the house has polished wood floors, they are very slippery and dangerous when one is in stocking feet instead of shoes. I don't appreciate having to go slip sliding around on someone's wood floors. For those of you who insist on guests taking off their shoes, please take these things into consideration and provide slippers for your guests.
stefARw picture
I like the idea of leaving my shoes by the door. I don't have kids at the moment but I certainly understand the appeal of a clean floor when you have someone crawling around on it all the time. But my dilemma is that I have dogs, and taking my shoes off does no good at all because just letting them outside to potty once brings in everything I tried to leave outside. I would be okay if I visited someone's house and they made me take my shoes off, as long as I was told ahead of time, I hate cold feet and would want a pair of socks or something to keep my feet warm!
writer418 picture
nice column and yes, shoes should be off, just like in japan. btw, as the husband of susan, i can remember the third thing she/we did right by our kids -- no televisions or computers in their bedrooms. everything is out in the public for better communication and less potential for trouble....
Francineinthe206 picture
It happened again! Friday night I went to a party and the host asked us to remove our shoes. So I walked around with a hole in the heel of my tights. Wish they'd tell us ahead of time or put it in a note on their eVite!
amanda77kr picture
I would prefer it if guests, and especially my own construction working DH, would not wear their shoes past the front door. However, our two dogs tearing around the backyard 4 times a day would make me a hypocrite if I said that out loud, so I just run the two Roombas daily. Compromise I guess. I copy the host when at other folk's homes.
sandz4321 picture
When entering my house, I don't care if shoes are on or off. I, personally do not like shoes, so mine are always off.