Please Take Off Your Shoes

There are two types of households (okay there are probably more but humor me please): Shoes-on and shoes-off.

The K-Couple has a shoes-off home. To some this is completely normal, to others it’s strange. I sometimes feel like a criminal for stopping people at the door when they visit and asking for them to remove their shoes. I feel that having a shoes-off home requires explanation sometimes for understanding. The fact that “it’s my house and I say so” doesn’t fly with many.

Before I explain our reasoning, please know this, if you operate a shoes-on home, I’m not judging you. I did not grow up in a shoes-off home, but was taught to stop at the entry way and inquire whether I should remove my shoes before walking into someone’s home.

So why do we want you to take off your shoes in our home?

  • We have, and like, our new carpet and would like to keep it from getting excessive wear for many years
  • We have, and hate, allergies. By hanging up our coats and stashing our shoes in the closet or psuedo-mud room, we keep a myriad of pollens and other allergens from entering our living space
  • We also keep from tracking grass, leaves, mud, dirt, bugs, gum, oil, tar and yes, even animal poo into our house (85% of the dirt in homes is tracked in from outside [more here].)
  • Some of the things that are on your shoes, even that you aren’t aware of, are harmful to us as well as our cats
  • We feel like our house is cleaner and more comfortable without shoes
  • We let people prop their feet up on the furniture or curl up in the chair… after all their feet won’t stain or tear them up
  • Getting one’s toes stepped on by a socked-foot is much less painful than by a shoe, and I’m short… with a lot of visitors, it happens
  • We occasionally lay on our floors and because of our shoes-off status, I was totally comfortable allowing my five-month-old nephew to scoot around on the floor (until I noticed that he blended in with the carpet because of his outfit… then I laid down a blanket)
  • Kicking off your shoes is the first step in relaxing
  • One of us asked you politely and you respect our home

If you find yourself visiting a shoeless home, like ours, bringing your own slippers is completely acceptable. In our home you’re also welcome to borrow a pair of socks.


24 thoughts on “Please Take Off Your Shoes

  1. Rachel I totally agree with you. I don’t in my home because taking off my shoes can be diffacult to do but would if I came to your house and you are absolutly right the carpet stays clean and good longer. Takes less work because you work outside your home and don’t waste a lot of time vacuming. I love all your ideas.

  2. We are a shoes off home for many of those reasons as well. On very rare occasions we have let others wear shoes around the house. I have a pair of flip flops designated for in the house only, this is because our daughter plays with legos and it hurts less if you have a flip flop on! We don’t have new carpet but we relate to the health and allergy and cleanliness aspects!! I still vacuum daily ( with a 1 year old you have too) but I notice the carpet has a fresher smell than in a lot of shoe on homes.

  3. I was thinking about this post the other night when I had to carry my sleeping child from the car to his bedroom without waking him. Shoeless household or not, sometimes the rules get broken…

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  5. I completely agree! I grew up in a shoeless house and I tell you, my mother will shoot you if you enter her house with your shoes. I have to remind my guests to remove their shoes when they enter my home, its my home after all, if you don’t like it then do not come over. (I provide slippers)Wearing shoes inside the house brings lot of dirt and germs, and yes including someone ‘s dogs poo and I really don’t feel like laying on my floor and finding some dog poo stain on my carpet in my living room or anywhere else! Nasty! and I actually have a story about that..again in my house wearing shoes are not allowed and one day one of my friends, even after being told “please remove your shoes” she completely ignored me and said “I will just hop over the tile and just get a glass of water from the fridge, I wont get on the carpet.” (I just changed my carpets in the whole house btw) Lo and behold there was a stain on the tile anddddd on that expensive small wool carpet that was in front of my stove…what do you know??? it was dogs poo and I was very upset..(I don’t even have dogs) so next 2 hours I had to clean and disinfect..when I pointed to her shoes she discovered there was more dog thing stuck at the bottom of her shoes…if you want to wear shoes in your OWN house please do by any means and live with the germs, dirt, grass and dog poo but in my house your shoes are not allowed, because I like my floors clean and free of that nasty things you bring in with your shoes. If my request bothers you, that means you don’t respect my wishes in my own home and my home, so keep away.

    this below was on MSN;

    “It is the height of tacky to invite guests to your home and then require that they remove anything more than outdoor attire,” said Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Mass. “It is one thing to ask me to leave my L.L. Bean boots at the door for a Super Bowl party held during a snowstorm in New England. It is another to ask me to remove my heels at a cocktail party where everyone is dressed in suits and dresses.”

    If you must ban shoes, says Smith, the invitation should say so. “Guests should not be surprised by your request,” she said. Imagine the mortification of a guest whose socks have holes.

    my response to that comment is;

    Its not tacky to ask someone to remove their shoes, its tacky to not respect someone else’s property/wishes in their own home and tacky to wear socks with holes in the first place!

    • Wow….you are a bit rude…many people have reasons for wearing shoes other than holey socks. They may be old and not able to easily take shoes off. They may wear orthotics, they may have stinky feet, they may have ugly feet many good reasons a guest would leave shoes. As a Host you shouldn’t be so harsh. Your carpet and flooring should not take precedence over your guests comfort. Also I think your being a bit extreme you and your family have more impact on the condition of your floors than a few extra people a few times a year. Just my opinion…in a take your shoes off if they are filthy otherwise wipe 7 times and come in.

  6. We’re a shoes-off home. It’s a new home, so new carpet. But also because I read an article about the harmful things that can stay on shoes and potentially harm furry family members, such as pesticides and fertilizers. My in-laws are older and don’t want to take their shoes off because of foot issues. It was a point of contention for a while until my husband convinced me that we just need to let this one go. I thought about keeping those shoe covers they used to have at the airport… KIDDING! Now we just don’t invite them over anymore… (half-kidding)

  7. Well aren’t you all so special…..What a bunch of entitled, narcissistic, pretentious twits. Rachel you are concerned about allergens from shoes while cat hair is flying everywhere………get real. Not to mention all that nasty cat poo in the litter box. No doubt your guests are dining on food prepared on a counter where the cat has walked.

    Haven’t you people ever heard of doormats? I’m sure the formaldehyde in your new carpet is more dangerous than anything anyone could track in.

    Why should your guests have to walk around where your cat tracks feces?

  8. awwww thank you Jan, yes we are so special 🙂 it was so kind of you to insult all the people who don’t want people bringing dirt, feces etc to their house with their shoes…I personally don’t own any pets and also I do have floor mats on 3 entry ways. Let me guess, you are probably one of those people who has carpets on their floor, but you probably cant even tell the original color of the carpet in your home from all the dirt on your carpets…maybe that’s why this robbed you the wrong way?? hmmmm? like I said if you don’t like taking your shoes off in my house please do not come over or stay away. Just because you like to live in a house and Gawd knows what’s on your floors, it doesn’t give you the right to get upset being told to taking your shoes off in someone else’s house then insult them… We live here not you, its our house not yours…you walk with your shoes in your house, we don’t in ours and if that bothers you no one is twisting your arm to go anyone’s house..and really, I mean really, you really don’t have to go to Rachel’s house and take such a risk and walk around where cats tracked some cat feces…I think Rachel would be so fine with that. Have a wonderful day Jan and good Gawd loosen up a bit and don’t be so angry, its really bad for your health you know, along with the germs that’s on your floors 😉

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  10. I remember this post and I loved it. I always remove my shoes and then if the homeowner says, “leave them on” then I will but otherwise, they come off. Agree with you totally on this. At our house we have ample slippers for guests and as the front of the house dictates, all shoes stay there.

  11. We were always required to remove our shoes at our house as kids and unless it was very cold, we’d pull our socks off as well. I don’t really get people who wear shoes in the house, it looks unseemly–as unseemly as it would be to go to a business lunch barefoot.

  12. Nothing wrong with this at all. I don’t understand why people would even want to wear shoes in their house…I don’t have any rule requiring it but I go shoeless because it’s more comfortable. That’s just me talking though.

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  14. We just moved to Canada and every house is a shoes off policy. I’m ok with it but wasn’t raised nor lived in areas that anyone asked for shoes to be removed upon entering before. I understand with the snow and salt that it definitely keeps the floors cleaner. However, I have two dogs – and they shed. I vacuum just about everyday but still, there’s always dog hair of some sort. Isn’t it weird to ask people to remove their shoes when I have dogs traipsing through my house? No matter how much I clean, they are bound to have some dog hair on their socks. It doesn’t make much sense to me with people who own dogs, especially ones that shed. What are your thoughts?

    • Hi Jen, thanks for your comment! Since writing this post a little over 4 years ago I’ve been fascinated to learn about the cultural differences in shoes on vs shoes off. I personally think that if you visit a home that has animals, you are prepared to find their hair on your socks. No matter how well you vacuum, pet hair will be around. One thing that I hope my guests understand is that my home is home to my animals as well.

      With that said, I don’t think it’s weird to ask people to take off their shoes when you have dogs about the house. I don’t think there’s a difference between getting pet hair on your socks than on your clothes. The grossest things on people’s shoes that I want to keep out of my home are a lot of things that are tracked from the floors of public restrooms. But of course, it’s your home so do what you’re comfortable with! When I had a dog it was normal to glance at her feet before letting her back in the house, that kept from getting mud and other stuff tracked in by the dog.

  15. I personally do not care if people wear shoes in my house or not.

    also I am irked about taking off my shoes at my friends house. everyone who asks, never has a chair or bench and never any slippers.

    please- anything can be cleaned, its not that big of deal.

    Poop really? how often will this happen?

  16. Actually, it can cost thousands of dollars to have Persian rugs picked up, cleaned, returned and replaced, and several people here talked about having had expensive and beautiful hardwood floors dinged up and damaged by stilettos at parties. Ugh.

    But the idea that poop (and other chemicals) being brought into homes, on the bottoms of shoes, is mockable and ridiculous? It is actually quite common, as are other pathogens.

    Perhaps you should do a bit of research before jumping to knee jerk conclusions.
    There is a reason no-shoes homes are becoming more common — though why this is so irksome, or even enraging, to so many is, to me, vexing. Researchers have found a shocking truth in recent studies: There are, on average, nearly 421,000 different bacteria present on the bottoms of 96% of shoes…basically, your shoes are a petri dish you walk on. Among these bacteria are Klebsiella pneumoniae (which causes urinary tract infections), Serratia ficaria (which causes respiratory infection), and a whole lot of E. coli. That’s poop.

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  18. What I find amusing is when people wear shoes in the house and then walk around barefoot outside. Shoes are meant to protect your feet from the outdoors. I always wondered at what point during the day do House shoe wearers strap on their shoes? Or do they go to bed with them on and wake up wearing them? No shoes at my house – completely crazy to me that people want to track the bottom of public restrooms into their living room carpet……

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