Take ‘Em Off Or Leave ‘Em On

When people come to your house, do you ask them to take their shoes off?

Sorry to be asking such a personal question but I want to know.

I know there are various feelings about this.  Some people don’t want your shoes and whatever you stepped in to enter their house.  Some people don’t want stinky sweaty feet on their floor either.

At my house, I’m okay with shoes or no shoes.  I have pergo and tile floors, carpet only upstairs.  I’m fine with whatever makes you comfortable.  I would never ask you to remove your shoes when entering my place.  That’s just me.

But have you ever gone to a party at someone’s home where everyone is dressed to the nines, females in high heels (which often makes the outfit) and men in dress shoes and the hostess asks you to remove your shoes before entering?  How do you feel about that?  I mean it’s their house, but if you are not expecting it, doesn’t it take away your mojo?  Make you feel silly?  What if your pedicure is not up to snuff?  It’s the worst right?

The other night I went to a meeting at a house (all wooden floors), none of us knew each other and had never been to this house.  As soon as we entered, we were asked to remove our shoes.  We all did.

But then in comes this guy, he is also asked to remove his shoes.  You could see the panic on his face.

He hesitated as he slowly pulled off his loafers.  There he stood in his dress socks with a giant rip in his heel and his big toe completely sticking out of another massive hole.  It wasn’t a good look with his dress slacks. 

You could tell he was embarrassed as he sat on the couch, his naked toe flashing the crowd.  I think I would have taken off my socks rather than sit there with an exposed peek-a-boo tootsie.  To make it worse the toe was excessively hairy.

Sorry for the visual.

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104 Comments and 1 Reply

  1. HoneyB 1

    I have a friend who had a large basket of slippers for people to put on when they came in her home. I would never ask strangers, but people who come to my home on a regular basis, I would hope they would respect my floors and come prepared (and honestly, my family does come prepared if they are going to be here for any length of time). I always take my shoes off when I walk into someone’s home. I think its respectful to the homemaker, but if someone tells me I don’t have to, then I don’t. I would never invite a party to my home and say, oh by the way, please remove your shoes when they walked in the door. That is just too tacky.

  2. Laura 2

    I don’t like it.
    That’s just me.
    Of course, I do it- but if one of the goals of hospitality is to make guests feel comfortable, this request does NOT make me feel comfortable.

    Interesting question.
    And, I wonder if it would be more considerate to let first time guests know ahead of time so they won’t be embarrassed by holes, stinky feet, or hairy toes.

  3. Becky 3

    While I understand why some people want you to take your shoes off, I think it is rude to ask someone to remove their shoes when they enter. If we all lived in a place where slip ons were commonplace it might be a little different.

  4. Leslie 4

    I USED to be that person who asked everyone to take off the shoes(me being the anti-germ)..now I don’t do it. I don’t allow anyone in my family to wear shoes in the house. They take them off in the laundry room. But I no longer ASK people to take their shoes off.
    However, I ALWAYS take me shoes off when I go into someone else’s house if I am asked to or not. I guess its just habit or maybe I was Chinese in a former life!!LOL

  5. Deeba 5

    I’d rather people feel comfortable if they come to our place & keeping them on is the norm. I have met a few very finicky people & I think they tend to care more for their house (not home) rather than the guests…this is just my opinion coz I find it unnerving! In many places down in South India, it’s customary to take ’em off, & there are racks placed by the door. I rememeber when we visited Moscow many years ago, we were hosted by friends’, they had a separate pair of carpet/home slippers for all visitors too. Even the dog went straight into the bath tub & patiently got his paws washed & dried each time! LOL…he was a collie & a real sweetheart!

  6. Leanne 6

    I am Canadian and EVERYONE takes off their shoes.

  7. Philly 7

    I say keep your shoes on !! Put your feet up and relax ! I don’t like when asked to remove them.


  8. I am laughing so hard at that visual it’s not even funny.

    I’m like you…I don’t care if people take their shoes off or leave them on. I have a small area rug next to our front door where we (the people who live in the house) take our shoes off when we come in. I did this for convenience alone. But I have noticed that when people come over, they automatically take their shoes off and put them with ours. I’ve never asked them to and I always find it funny that they do this.

  9. I understand how dirty shoes are, but I would never invite someone into my home and ask them to take part of their clothing off. That is what shoes are… Must be my Southern heritage, but I find that actually rude. So there, the Mental Mama has spoken!

  10. Kathleen 10

    I believe the next time I encounter that situation, I will turn around and leave. I find it very rude and uncomfortable. I am with you.

  11. Lori 11

    I’ve never been to a home where I was asked to remove my shoes! At a Thai friend’s house, they always remove theirs so I do too, but I’ve never felt any pressure to do so. I think it’s awfully rude, personally. Like Mental P Mama, I’m from the south (well, Texas), so maybe it’s something about my heritage too.

  12. We have a strict no-shoe policy in our house– for the kids. Our guests usually remove them on their own. Whenever anyone comes in and asks if they should, I tell them no– I figure the row of shoes by the door tells you we do it, so if you’re asking, you’re not comfortable and I’m ok with that.
    I did have an obnoxious man here recently that leaned a little and reached down to his shoes and I said, “Oh, you don’t have to take your shoes off” and he answered, “I wasn’t going to” and tromped in over my carpet and sat down. I have removed my shoes in his house! I also visited someone who went off on how people come by and “have the nerve to keep their shoes on”, but considering she also ranted about white people, I just let it roll over me (I was white and shoeless– go figure, can’t win ’em all).

  13. melissa 13

    My step sister asks people to remove shoes but doesn’t remove hers at my house. It drives my husband insane. I just laugh. Now we live in Maine and still have a dirt driveway and in the spring its called mud season. I might ask someone to stamp off their shoes before coming in to the house.
    Nice visual of the hairy toe. Poor guy, I hope the host/hostess felt like as ass after.

  14. I have no preference in my house. I usually kick my shoes off wherever I am, simply out of habit. It’s all about comfort. I feel bad for the hairy toe guy, but kinda worse for those who had to see it.

  15. Hee! That visual is disgusting but hilarious.

    In answer to your question, I DO now ask people to remove their shoes when they come into my house but it’s not because of my floors, it’s because of my babies. Three-month-old twins don’t need to creep around in whatever someone stepped in; especially given the fact that the majority of our visitors are coming from Manhattan, where the streets flow with bodily fluids of all types: human, canine, and rodent. Yuck.

    If I were REALLY civilized, I would provide clean alternate footwear such as socks or slippers for my guests, since many people (myself included) aren’t super comfortable barefoot inside someone else’s house. I have often thought about having a big copper kettle or other pretty container near the door full of flip flops, slippers, etc., to offer my guests when I ask them to remove their shoes (how very Martha, I know!). Just haven’t gotten around to it, mainly because I’m busy with those little kids!

    Last note: It makes sense that many people from warm climates find this practice odd, since they’re not trekking through snow, salt, ice, etc. on their way into the house; but you will note that anyone from a place where it’s snowy, like Canada, or even here in NY, finds it rude *not* to inquire about removing shoes when they enter someone else’s home. Though I am originally from the south, I have come to feel the same way. Shoes are dirty and are best left in the entryway, though I won’t push the point strongly with a guest who seems uncomfortable with it.

  16. I could care if people have shoes on or off in my house. I do have a deck and door mat before getting into the house because I live in the country and necessary. For myself, if I go to a close friends’ home I’ll take my shoes off. Especially these past 2 weeks with all the driving I was forced to do. Had to get the feet free.

  17. Howdy 17

    I think that if you have invited people to your house and you have a barefoot policy – then you should inform people in advance if you expect them to remove their shoes. It’s unfortunate that the man at your meeting had to suffer that.
    As much as I love to be barefoot I can no longer stand or walk around long without shoes on… my feet kill me – I have orthotics in my shoes.
    I’ve been to gatherings where I’ve known in advance about their shoeless policy and that has given me the opportunity to bring a pair of my indoor shoes to wear.
    I have wood floors that we had refinished when we moved in… I use my door mats and have washable cotton rugs at the doors that get washed daily. Not because I’m a neat freak… but because the dogs track in so much dirt. If I could get them to wipe their feet I’d be happy. They are restricted to the kitchen and laundry room to keep the dirt from being spread around.

  18. Ava 18

    It seems to be bad manners to want visitors to remove their shoes before coming in your house no matter what sort of flooring you have. I am a natural barefoot person myself, so taking off my shoes is a good thing for me, but I’d rather do it when I want it, not be told to do it. What happens if you refuse? Do you have to go home?

    Plain silliness, no matter now you look at it.

    Are you a fan of the British comedy with Hyacinth Bucket (pronounces Boo-kay by herself) where she always tells people to wipe their feet and not to lean on her walls? Silliness.


  19. I’m glad you wrote about this, Cathy, as this is a huge pet peeve of mine! I think it’s humiliating when you are asked to remove your shoes. Like the guy w/ the toe–I am seldom prepared to bare my feet in front of others. I usually don’t wear socks and unless I’ve just had a pedicure–I don’t want to show my feet!

    I have never asked anyone to take their shoes off and I never will–I mean, they’re floors–they’re meant to be walked on!! And especially at a party when, like you said, shoes are a big part of the outfit!!

    Remember the Sex and the City when Carrie had to take her shoes off and then they were stolen?

  20. Marcy 20

    HEHE Cathy. I won’t take my shoes off unless I’m in my moms house or my best friends. I’ve never been asked to remove my shoes upon entereing someones house, but I think its ok, if there is a reason for it. The guy with the hole in sock and hairy toe, should have removed his socks. lol

  21. Cheryl 21

    This is so funny to me…I grew up in the DC area (very metropolitan and multi-cultural)…and unless someone had a cultural reason for doing so, or as the mama above with crawling babies mentioned, no one would EVER ask anyone to remove their shoes before entering.

    As a matter of fact, here in Richmond no guest would think to remove their shoes in someone else home without asking first…it would be rude…for the stinky, hairy toed, holey sock exposure issue your friends (on both sides) endured.

    Is possible property damage the dominant reason for the shoe removal request on hosts’ part? I’d far greater trust folks to hold their red wine and not slip in their shoes as opposed to stocking feet! ;)

  22. Oh man, that poor guy!!! I would have been so embarrassed for him.
    We don’t make people take their shoes off at our house – we have pergo flooring also – and most of the time the parties we have are half and half – indoors and out, so people are constantly moving about, and it would be silly to remove their shoes.
    I’ve never been outright asked to do so at a “fancy pants” party, either. But it reminds me of the episode of SATC when Carrie is asked to take her shoes off and then someone takes them and they were really expensive Minolos, and she asks the hostess to replace them (hostess played by Tatum O’Neal) and she says no.
    Ok I am babbling. Going to get more coffee.

    • Rechee 23

      Please help me out. I don’t know if i’m being difficult.
      But here I am dating a girl for more than a year now. We never have take shoes off issues, until she starts demanding we remove our shoes when over her house.
      But the paradox though is she doesn’t mind other people and friends go in with their shoes on. I felt offended and told her that’s discriminating. And that is privileging other people than ourselves. The rule should be applied to everybody or to nobody.
      She says i’m exaggerating. How she would tell people that come over her place to remove their shoes. I’m really not comfortable living this.
      Just two days ago, i went over and she had two friends over with their shoes on, but she was expecting me to remove my shoes. I did remove my shoes. But i think i’m gona go off one day.
      Is this loss of respect to my person, discrimination.
      I told her it’s not right we remove our shoes but other people don’t.
      I’m being very uncomfortable, and i need a third opinion before i resist this absurd treatment.
      Sometime i even choose to stay at my place because i have to take shoes off and put on when I am at her place. I’m so tire of this and can’t take it anymore.

  23. Jules 24

    I only have one friend who request shoe removal. She doesn’t enforce it though. I don’t mind if she wants me to remove them, it is her house! I don’t care one way or another when people come to my house

  24. cassie o 25

    my career requires me to meet with my clients in their home, when i arrived at one home, my client’s foster mother asked me to remove my shoes
    i cannot tell you how unprofessional i felt sitting there barefoot

  25. Jules 26

    My family takes thier shoes off in the entryway but I don’t ask guest to do it.

  26. Barbie with a T 27

    I am with you all the way! I specifically built my house with all tile floors, and do not worry about what people are wearing on their feet when they enter my home. I made it comfortable for myself as well as for others. I do have friends who ask you to remove your shoes and often times I have ignored the request by letting them know that my shoes were clean and would not harm their carpets or wood floors. (I have never returned to their home again to find out if it would work a second time.) By the way, we had evacuated from our home for hurricane Ike, and just returned to the area. We cannot move back into our home in Galveston until it is “safe”, but we are staying in our motorhome nearby, and I now have internet. (just in case you were wondering why I had disappeared for a while).

  27. magpie 28


    We’ve only recently banned shoes from the house – but we never have fancy parties so it’s kind of not a big deal. I won’t force the issue though; my MIL won’t take her shoes off ’cause she’s too unstable on her feet without shoes.

  28. Shelly 29

    I have all hard wood but I would never ask strangers to remove their shoes

  29. Corinne 30

    The first time i found that it was common for people to leave their shoes ON was on Sex and the City, when Carrie’s Malono Blahnik’s were stolen!
    As a p.p. said, I am from Canada and almost everyone takes their shoes off here! I think that it’s because there’s snow on the ground 7 months of the year.

  30. Trisha 31

    In some cases it is better to just clean your floor/carpet/hardwoods after a gathering than to make people uncomfortable. Especially in “dressy” situations – I say leave them on!

  31. Candy 32

    Oh my god that poor guy! That’s horrible!

    No. I would never ask anyone to do that. First of all my floors are seldom clean enough that I want people walking on them in stocking feet, but second, it’s just rude.

    I do have a niece-in-law, though, who expects everyone to take their shoes off at the door. For that, and a few other reasons I don’t want to go into here, we don’t go to their house any more.

  32. I’m with you. I want people to be comfortable in my home. However, I do expect that people will be considerate and take off their shoes if they are muddy or dirty. I don’t want horse poop in my living room, thankyouverymuch.

    We once had a get together here for some big UFC fight (ugh). This was dh and the boys’ thing, but I agreed to it. Dh invited some family and some people from our fellowship. Oldest ds invited just a few people, but as often happens, word got around and we probably had around 50 people or more here. We have wood floors in our great room, but I didn’t worry too much. All of ds’ friends took their shoes off at the door or checked them without being asked to. While cleaning up afterwards, we found tons of scratches where SIL and her boyfriend had sat. SIL was wearing lug soled shoes that obviously had gravel stuck in the treads and she had swung her feet back and forth a LOT. I was SO pissed. It’s in a spot that you can’t really cover with anything, too. Oh well, some day we’ll get the floors refinished. For now I just keep telling myself it makes it look more rustic, albeit in a crazy, zigzag, did some child draw on your floor with a pocketknife kind of way.

  33. Candy 34

    And I completely forgot to add to my comment that I left you a little award at my spot, if you want to come pick it up :)

  34. Rayrena 35

    Well, growing up in an asian home, I always always always take off my shoes. Not always at the front door but I try to. I usually follow the lead of my host when visiting friends but generally take off my shoes anyways. In colder weather, I usually take a thick pairs of socks with me when visiting friends so I can be more comfortable :)

    I would never ask anyone to take off their shoes but would encourage them to for their comfort. *IF* someone were to insist, they should provide cute and comfortable indoor slippers or socks. To not do so is BAD FORM, especially in our culture where the expectation isn’t to take one’s shoes off.

    I’m so not a germ phobe (in fact, I’m probably too far in the other direction and encourage my kid to play in the dirt) but I do think shoes can be dirty and would rather not have them tracking through the house. Think about it, would you want your kid to pull their bikes through the house? The tires are probably just as dirty as their shoes.

    However, when our daughter was crawling, I did ask people to take off their shoes if they didn’t already. In fact, I used to have her nap downstairs of a big beautiful Korean plush blanket and my in-laws walked on it with their shoes even after I told them that that was where our daughter napped. *Sigh*

    But really it’s for comfort. And ritual, it’s a definitive way of transitioning from the outside world to our private inner world.

  35. Come on in with your shoes. We are a happy dirty home—its the farm girl in me. The kids and the dog all jump on the couch, there’s always laundry to be folded, dishes to be done, dust to be wiped away. There’s also always food cooking (which you are welcome to try), wine open (would you like a glass?), and happy friendly faces waiting to greet you.

  36. We don’t let the kids wear their shoes upstairs but really, I don’t care if guests wear shoes or not. Maybe because it’s more important that people feel comfortable at my home than it’s a clean home.

  37. krysta 38

    if it’s adults… i wouldn’t dream of asking them to take off their shoes but on the other hand I always make kids take off theirs. but everyone mostly takes off their shoes because they see our family shoes lined up like it is a japenese tea house in our front hall.

  38. hahahahahahaha. that is a great visual. I hate when I am asked to remove my shoes.

  39. Marjie 40

    When we moved out of a previous house, it was rented to a Japanese company for their temporarily transferred executives. We received a call of outrage from the Terminex man, because they wouldn’t let him in to spray the house with his shoes on, which he likely had to wear because of OSHA regulations or something. I think it’s rude to demand that people take their shoes off. I was once chastised because I walked into a house with beautiful hardwood floors, in a pair of heels with one broken tap, and, while I walked on the toe only of that foot, while I stood to talk, I took that foot out of the shoe, so as not to put a dent in the floor with the metal spike hanging out of the shoe. Since we were looking at the house with a mind to buy, when I was chastised, I laid a few choice words on them regarding their reaction to my attempt to be considerate and not damage their floor, and stomped (well, not really) out. Of course, we didn’t buy that house either.

    Guests are welcome in my house shod or not, as they are comfortable. Isn’t that the point of having guests – for all to feel at home? As Amanda above said, have food or drink, or both, and welcome home, friend!

  40. Harmony 41

    I only ask our younger guest (little kids) to remove their shoes…as they are more like to bring in someting awful (well…outside of my FIL). But I have never felt comfortable with telling adults what to do with their feet.

  41. JulenaJo 42

    I would never ask guests to take their shoes off. Dirt gets on floors. Period. You clean the floors–six weeks later you just have to clean them again. Ha!
    Babies eat dirt. It doesn’t usually hurt them. Germs are in the air, for crying out loud. Would you tell your guests to stay home if they were going to breathe or touch anything? Would you keep your baby in a bubble? She would have no natural immunity built up to anything if you did.
    That being said, if a politely worded sign were at the entryway, and a basket of slippers for guests to use, I can’t see why anyone would object to leaving their shoes at the door.
    The poor holey sock dude sure learned a lesson, didn’t he? :)

  42. Leana 43

    I hate it, I have a friend I use to take my shoes off for but her carpet is so nasty their is no way I am walking on that. If your shoes are dirty I ask just the take them off, if you need socka I have some clean ones. One of my husband friend shoes were so wet and dirty that he took them off put on some clean sock, ate dinner went back outside to finishing working.

    If you are invited to a party to me it is very rude to ask someone to take off their shoes.

  43. I don’t worry about it. I’d rather they took them off, and most people do. But it’s not worth embarrassing anyone over a ripped sock. That assumes someone hasn’t been walking through dog doo!

  44. funny…well, not for the holy sock guy, but…

    Yeah, I’ve had to remove shoes. I understand and respect it, but don’t always like it.

  45. Flea 46

    Oh how sad! We have all carpet (I’d like to remedy that in the future), but I don’t ask people to take off their shoes. My husband asks the kids to take off their shoes – long habit from tracking in years of Florida sand – so they tell their friends to take off shoes. But I figure that people’s shoes can’t do any more harm than my shedding dogs. And dirty kids. Pah.

  46. Teri 47

    I am laughing at your description too, but feeling so bad at how mortified this poor man must have felt at the door when he was asked to take off his shoes!!! I be he will throw away all his holey socks now!!!

    I do not ask people to take off their shoes. I sometimes dream of what it would be like to have a basket of slippers neatly stacked by the front door so that my carpets and floors would be super clean, but I hate to make everyone feel uncomfortable. Besides I clean the floors a lot anyway.

    I guess that’s why all my kids friends love coming to our house. By the way, I can’t imagine making a bunch of teenage boys take off their shoes…. ewwwwww!

  47. Krissa 48

    I always feel uncomfortable when shoes need to be taken off at the door. I would never ask a guest to take their shoes off only because I know how it makes me feel. I feel for the poor guy with the holes in his socks.. he must have been mortified!!

  48. We just bought our house 2 years ago, so we do with our family and close friends because it was brand new carpet. But if we had a party, I wouldn’t ask people to do that. Now, I’ve gotten to where I don’t care as much since the Babies have peed all over it. Anyone know a good trick for getting out pee stains?

  49. What happens if you have, like I do, a heel spur where it’s very uncomfortable to walk around barefoot? I am almost never without shoes of one kind or another and if I stand in stocking feet for any length of time, I’m limping for days. Do you make a big deal and insist on wearing shoes? Do you play queen bee and sit in the central chair and wait for people to attend to your needs? We’re an extremely relaxed sort of crowd and if you want to come in, kick off your shoes, and put your feet up, go for it. The only thing we ask you to remember is there are usually dogs wandering around and if you want to FIND you shoes again, put them up high:)

  50. Jeanette 51

    I am Canadian as well, and yes, we generally remove our shoes. Now a lot of that is because of inclement weather in the winter and then it makes sense.

    If I am the hostess and it is nice weather, everything is dry, etc and my guests start to remove their shoes, I tell them to please leave them on.

    And what most Canadians do if the weather is inclement is bring along the dress shoes they wish to wear inside, and leave the wet or casual shoes at the front door of the hostess house.

    Now if someone would ask me not to wear the clean dry shoes that I brought along, then I would be quite insulted and would think twice about accepting an invite there again.

  51. Misty 52

    I don’t care either way. I am not picky about it.

  52. Shannon 53

    I would politely decline the request. Perhaps the host doesn’t take into account that guests might not want to pick up the germs from their floors as well as the germs from other feet!!

  53. We are not a no-shoes kinda house. In the summer months, we go barefoot around here, but our guests are welcome to keep their shoes and sandals on. In the winter, sometimes we wear shoes, and sometimes we wear our slippers, and our guests are welcome to keep their shoes on.

    Personally, I think it’s very rude to request someone takes off their shoes at the door (except when dealing with cultural issues). That being said, it’s polite to take your shoes off if asked. (One of our friends requests it, and we all know this, so we usually bring alternate “inside only shoes” when we visit them.)

    Still, I would never request it of guests. Clean your floors before a party. Clean your floors after a party. Shoes make an outfit. I, too, couldn’t help but think of that Sex and the City episode!!

    There are always exceptions, like if shoes are muddy or gross…but with a rug outside and a rug inside our door, that rarely happens.

    And, maybe it’s just me…but I tend to think that often times there are less germs on the OUTSIDE of a shoe than the INSIDE of a shoe. ;)

    Poor hairy toe guy. What an awkward situation.

  54. i know, i know! i’ve seen this happen and it’s sooooo embarrassing!

    i had never heard of this until we moved to upstate new york. in the states, i think it’s a cold weather thing because of the salt causing excessive damage to floors.

    still, i never expected anyone else to do it at my house. i hated doing it at other people’s houses, especially if i didn’t know them.

    but i did use it as an excuse to go buy really cute socks :-)

  55. Tanya 56

    This reminds me of that “Sex and the City” episode when Carrie is asked to remove her shoes and she complains because they complete her outfit. Someone ends up taking her $400 shoes at the end of the night.

    I generally don’t ask others to remove their shoes when they come to my house, unless they’ve just come in from the rain or snow. But after my husband and brother-in-law walked in with some unknown stuff on their shoes (which won’t come out of the carpet), I’ve been thinking of changing my stance on this.

    I like the idea of providing slippers to guests. I don’t really like walking around in my socks or bare feet in another person’s home, so it’s nice to have this option.

  56. My house is immaculate.

    I have handscraped maple plank floors downstairs, and thick cream-colored carpeting upstairs.

    I ALWAYS ask people to take their shoes off, and even have disposable booties in a basket by the front door.

    The only thing I dread is if a construction worker has filthy smelly socks or sweaty feet….

    I have to live there. In fact, I love living there. So if taking their shoes off offends them, tough.

    I obey your rules at your house, and I expect someone to be considerate of mine at my house as well.

    Clearly, I have no children :)

  57. I think it’s safe to assume that one takes off shoes in Asian homes. As such, there are always house slippers provided. Just the norm. I don’t even think it has anything to do with being afraid of dit or whatnot: shoes are for outside, slippers for inside.

  58. We have laminate throughout our house (except our bedroom) so it truly doesn’t matter to me. I see both sides really … I would probably feel weird making it mandatory to remove thy shoes. My sister does that and sometimes … it feels kinda weird.

  59. Paula 60

    Living in Oregon where it drizzles the majority of the year, it’s just common place for folks to remove their shoes upon entering someone else’s home. Kids do it automatically as it’s considered a courtesy. Also, should someone host an adult gathering at their home, they usually place a fluffy type rug by the door for the sole purpose of folks wiping their shoes dry. Like I said, it’s wet out here! I’m always very aware if my shoes are wet or have pine needles or whatever stuck to them when entering a friends home, just as they are if coming to my home. Sometimes a quick wipe of the shoe on the door mat takes care of it, but it’s pretty common that the shoes will come off. :-)

  60. KathyB. 61

    YES !!!! I too allow people to leave their shoes on, and there is a rug for them to wipe their dirty shoes on, and I have a bench for them to park their shoes should THEY desire to remove their shoes. I too have been irritated by requests to remove my shoes at dressy parties. For goodness sake, the shoes make me and my outfit presentable and my little tootsies are not pretty.

    Actually, the last time that happened I left my shoes on anyway, and I wasn’t bothered by anyone about it.I discovered most of the guests left their shoes on too, especially the men. KathyB.

  61. Lex the Mom 62

    My family removes their shoes, but I don’t expect my guests to. However, if asked, I will remove mine as a guest in someone else’s home.

  62. Kate 63

    I hate being asked to remove my shoes. I find it annoying. Yes, I can understand the dire need to protect your precuous wood floors, and your babies who crawl around. My babies crawled around, too, bit hey ~ to each his own. If I was asked, I’d do it. But I would be annoyed.

  63. Evelyn 64

    Not such a great idea for liability insurance purposes, I should think. What if the person steps on a nail, or even a needle that got stuck in the carpet when you were sewing (that happened to me, surgery and all).
    If you take the responsibility to have someone take off their protective feet coverings, then you should provide other protective feet coverings for their feet in your house if you insist on removing shoes. Seems logical no?

  64. heather 65

    i lived in sweden for a few years, where everyone removes their shoes upon entry. here in alaska most people do too. i think it’s mostly for the winter months when you wouldn’t want to wear boots indoors anyhow. so i’m kind of used to it, and most visitors remove their shoes automatically (when people tell me to keep my shoes on, i actually feel uncomfortable). it does keep the house cleaner, but if my floors are dirty anyway (my housecleaning is not even up to my snuff lately) i don’t care so much about people taking their shoes off. and when i visit my mother, who has absolutely filthy floors, i make an effort to bring shoes to wear indoors :) i guess the tricky part would be if i moved somewhere without the widespread habit of taking shoes off, would i require it? i think i would prefer that people do, but i’d hate to put anyone in the situation you described. it would help to warn people about it ahead of time.

  65. Alisa 66

    We sure ain’t fancy enough round here to warrant bare feet. I only demand my daughter takes her riding boots off before entering! Horse pucky is yucky.

  66. At dinner parties and formal affairs, it’s pretty much a given that shoes will stay on.

    However (and this seems to be more a Canadian thing), no one I know wears shoes in people’s houses. I wouldn’t dream of walking around my house in my shoes, I grew up never wearing shoes in anyone’s house, and it’s an automatic gesture for me and everyone i know to remove them. But that’s for casual things.

    Besides! You wear your shoes all day – it’s sooo much more comfortable to take them off when you get home and lounge about in socks or slippers.

  67. Lorena 68

    Hi, for my Japanese family I learn to remove my shoes. Not at home, because I live in Mexico and Mexicans don’t do.
    But in Japan is the rule, even you have to take out in temples, restaurants, etc. (but they provide usually slippers)
    Personally, I think is comfortable, but depends on the floor. Houses are more clean, because the dirty is in the shoes.

  68. Katie 69

    I would never ask someone to take their shoes off in my house, but I always offer when I go into someone else’s house.

  69. I personally don’t like when people ask me to take my shoes off, but since it’s their house, I guess it’s ok. In my house everybody is welcomed with shoes and I have to tell you we have to coolest floor ever. My floor is made of the same matherial as the wine corks.
    Thas hairy toe was not a pretty image I bet!

  70. xanister 71

    Interesting to see that I’m not the only Canadian who wants shoes removed.

    My family has always been a “remove your shoes at the door” kind of thing. It’s not because of a “my floor will get dirty” I have shedding dogs so there’s always hair, it’s a respect thing.

    It always makes me feel like someone is anxious to leave if they have their shoes on. If someone is coming over and staying for a while I’ll ask them to take their shoes off, a quick visit — fine leave them on just don’t expect to be invited to stay long.

  71. Egghead 72

    I never ask guests to take their shoes off. I always take mine off but that is because the minute I hit the door I can’t stand for them to be on. I go barefoot at home almost exclusively…unless I am working outside. But I have wood and tile floors almost the entire house so it really isn’t a huge problem. Plus I don’t want my guests to feel uncomfortable like that guy.

  72. Shirley 73

    I subscribe to Flylady’s theory on shoes–wear them. You need them to support your feet and body. They protect your feet from injuries, germs, etc. and you are ready to do any activity when you wear them … until you are in total relaxation mode or bed.

  73. Jennifer 74

    I am Polynesian and my family always takes off their shoes when we enter a house, especially when we enter a Samoan household. If I am with someone not polynesian, I tell them that it is a sign of respect to take off your shoes in a Samoan house. Most do not really care and respect this because it is part of our culture. However, I only tell the person if we are going over to someone elses house. I do this because I always take off my shoes, and I want to keep my guest informed. At my own house, I never ask people to take off their shoes, but most people do. We have a large shoe rack by the front door so I guess most people assume to take off their shoes.

  74. Jamee 75

    I do not ask people to take their shoes off….
    I did go to a very dressy christmas party where we were all dressed up and we took our shoes off there, but that was only because it was all snowy outside…I didn’t really want to because I thought my heels were fabulous and wanted to show them off!

  75. Other than my grand kids we don’t ask people to take off their shoes. Our carpet isn’t that good. Today the dog heaved on it. Now if we get a new carpet then we might think about it.

  76. Tipper 77

    No I wouldn’t ask anyone to take their shoes off.

  77. I don’t ask people to take off their shoes, but I have a friend who does. She was shocked when I pulled a pair of japanese slippers out of my bag and slipped them on.

  78. pam 79

    My daughter makes everyone take off their shoes at the door. She meets you in the door way and does not let you in until you leave your shoes on her porch. She doesn’t even want them left inside the door, they have to stay outside. It drives me crazy.

  79. We do not wear shoes in our house..and since we live on a ranch, it has to do with the CRAP that would be everywhere! And snow in winter…
    Yet, uur guests can do what they want..(unless they have been trapsing around with us in one of the fields.. then they also take their shoes off!)..
    They usually see us in our sox or slippers…and take their shoes off, but I also want them to be comfortable..
    If we have a formal affair, I put shoes on! And wear them at the beginning of the event.. then off they go..usually once dinner is over and it is conversation/relax time. I love going shoeless…
    Plus.. our carpets are a very light tan…not our choice!!!

  80. Thanks for the laugh! The poor guy. Once at an airport checkin I was with the library director. This was when they first instituted the new security stuff. She had to take off her shoes, and she had big holes in the toes of her hose. It was so funny, but she was the serious type so I couldn’t laugh.

    We live in the country and have wood floors. I don’t ask people to take off their shoes unless they’re really muddy or wet–and then they usually just do it themselves without me asking. I figure floors are meant to be walked on. Why do we put cloth on our floors and then worry about it? And stinky socks are no better than dirty shoes in my book.

  81. giz 82

    Having been raised to always take my shoes off, it’s become habit. However, I don’t get hung up on shoes/no shoes unless it’s the middle of winter and you’ve been walking in the slush.

  82. Amanda 83

    I remove my shoes in my own home and usually in my friends’ houses just because I hate wearing shoes! If some people were Chinese in another life I must have been a cave woman or something :) However I never ask other people to remove their shoes; I don’t care that much about my floors. To me its all about comfort – I like my shoes off but if you feel better with yours on that is fine.

    I think it is just weird to ask everyone to take off their shoes when they are at a party and dressed up. I even leave mine on for about an hour, until I can’t stand it anymore.

  83. Bunny 84

    We don’t let the kids and they’re friends walk around with they’re shoes on cause the kids don’t really look at what they’re stepping in and don’t care!

  84. Leah Q 85

    a pair of new white socks….$5.00,
    a 12 pack of beer brought to the party…$12.00
    hearing about one super hairy naked tow sticking out from holey socks while others look on…. priceless

    wow, you are so right, he should have simply taken off the socks…

  85. Heidi 86

    Our family takes off their shoes and they are always piled up next to the door. If a guest comes, I would never ask them to remove their shoes although sometimes, when he/she sees our pile of shoes, they feel inclined. It’s really not a big deal in our house–but with 3 kids it makes my life a wee bit saner.

    My husband one time was asked to remove his shoes when attending a neighborhood meeting. He knew he had holey socks on–the norm for him for some reason We weren’t married yet! He took off his shoes and HALF of his sock was missing–like 4 toes were exposed. He laughed it off, and then disclosed that he had been fighting athlete’s foot for a year. He calmly sat down and let the host internally freak out. My husband is such a cad! He enjoys people that way. :)

  86. You take note of the most obscure things! I love it! I have always hated hated hated it when people ask you to take off your shoes upon entering. What an uppity and snobby aire to communicate. Your floors are more important than my comfort. I want guests to feel comfortable and confident in my home, so I would never ask them to remove their shoes. Good to be back in the loop of your quirkiness!

  87. Lisa 88

    Again, it seems to be a Canadian thing, but everyone automatically takes their shoes off, so there isn’t really any need to ask. I would personally find it odd to leave my shoes on when I’m in the house. I think it’s probably because of the snowy winters, no one wants to track snow and salt all over the house.

    That being said, if I was having a fancy party (with people in heels, etc) I wouldn’t ask anyone to take them off.

  88. It never seems to be an issue. I don’t know if it is a Canadian thing or the way I was brought up but we always remove our shoes.You go to someones house and take slippers if you think your feet will be cold or sweaty and I go over my socks and check for holes.I use the good socks:D I have been to someones house who had all hardwood floors and had a cocktail party. The floor was ruined by the womens high heeled shoes.

  89. Awfully ballsy to ask guests to remove their shoes. I wouldn’t like it one bit!

  90. dawn 91

    Naked toe flashing! Ohhhh I was laughing my fat butt off on that one.
    Cathy, you crack me up at times girl.
    All shoes in the mudroom when you enter my house and I even have disposable slippers for those that might have naked toe flashing or plain barefeet. If I have contractors that can’t take off their boots/shoes then they get booties to put over their shoes.

  91. Melissa 92

    It depends. I don’t necessarily make everyone do it, but like some others have said, people assume they should because we have a shoe basket by our front door.

    I would never make someone uncomfortable though. That poor guy LOL.

  92. Tammy 93

    I say that life is too damn short to worry about our floors getting dirty. Especially to possible offend someone you like or love all for the sake of clean carpets.
    Carpets can be cleaned….to risk someone embarasssment…it’s just not right. In my opinion…you are not much of a host/hostess.

  93. kel 94

    I live in Hawaii and you remove your shoes before entering someones home as a form of respect. Also, nobody wants you to bring in whatever you might have stepped in into their home.

  94. Fran 95

    I wouldn’t normally have much to say, however last weekend I hosted a party for about a dozen families. One Mom asked about taking shoes off…. Then this weekend I dropped my son off at a 15-year-old’s birthday party. The host (just turned 15) asked me to remove my shoes. Mental note – throw away all of my socks with holes! Personally, I’m not bothered one way or the other. I have a steam cleaner for my carpet, but I’m willing to respect other peoples’ preferences in their homes.

  95. I didn’t know that it was a Canadian thing…but yeah, I don’t like when people walk in my house with their shoes on. Actually, I think it’s rude when people don’t remove their shoes, unless the host says to keep them on. For me, this applies to any season.

  96. I never require folks to remove their shoes, but I appreciate if they do…

    I know some folks just feel awkward, and shoes really do make the outfit sometimes… so I leave it up to my guests. I think, especially if it is a dress-up-tyoe thing, let them have theri shoes. it’s not like they went jogging through a muddy trail in them heels…

  97. Shannan 98

    Lah-huve this blog!

    I am a “wear what you will” girl. I only pray that women have heels that have not been worn to the nail and men have not slopped the hogs right before coming over. Oddly, people seem to be trained to remove their shoes. They even insist on removing them before entering my house even when I demand they leave them on! I too think it is odd for party attendees to be required to lose their shoes. I wore hose to one such party and found myself mock ice skating across her flooring… and then snagging painfully on a lifted nail on a threshold and bleeding on her floor. I doubt I will be asked back.

  98. I’m guessing you FINALLY met my husband. The holey-toed dude.

  99. Kimberly 100

    Our house is a no shoes in the house kinda place. My kids and I always slip our shoes off in the garage or the front porch depending on which way we come into the house. So there is always a pile of shoes at either entrance. My friends that visit most frequently know I run a shoes off home and take theirs off before I even open the door most of the time. My kids friends seem to automatically take their shoes off as well. For first time visitors I will tell them “could you take your shoes off we never wear shoes in the house,” many people will just see me in socks and the shoe pile and offer to take their shoes off or simply kick them off. I have had large and small gatherings and everyone walked around in socks without any complaint.

    Whenever I go to someone elses house I always take my shoes off at the door especially if the host is in socks or has shoes at the door. If they tell me to leave my shoes on I just say that “I don’t allow anyone to wear shoes in my house so I just want to do the same at yours.” It wouldn’t be fair of me to ask for a no shoes house if I wasn’t willing to be shoeless in other peoples homes.

  100. Matthew C 101

    Thanks for bringing up this subject.

    I do wish more people would adopt the custom of removing shoes. Hence, I started an whole blog about the subject: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

  101. Flavio 102

    Jamee – just curious, was it the hostess that insisted that everyone go shoeless? Or were you just following everyone’s example? It looks like you (understandably) didn’t want to take your heels off…

  102. happy002 103

    I’m a Singaporean and EVERYONE takes off their shoes regardless – i guess its a cultural habit which i find very positive. Just like i will definitely take off my shoes when i go to a friend’s place unless being told otherwise.

  103. Francesca 104

    Yes, it’s a cultural thing, etc. but the yuppie tradition of removing shoes for supposedly low maintenance cleanliness has never made any sense to me. Obviously if you want your home to be clean and safe enough to go shoeless on, you better have a live in maid or vacuum your head off. Even so, I’ve noticed the tiny tiny shards from a broken glass can take weeks to go away. (Hate to be shoe less when it got broken.)

    Based on my own experiences and observations I’ve noticed, one, that the oils on your bare feet tend to turn carpet into a dust magnet. (I had a real estate agent tell me that the dirtiest floors came from shoe less owners. Remember that disgusting hippy abode we’ve all been trapped in one time or another? Hippies shun shoes too.) I have a horror of being asked to go barefoot in a filthy house. Two, who wants to turn you socks into threadbare dust mops? I actually ended up bleaching holes in my socks trying to get them presentable after my shoe less experiment. Three hardwood floors such as mine just aren’t comfortable without shoes or slippers. And people with fallen arches or other problems are in pain without shoes.

    And indoor pets, what you could track into your bed, even in the cleanest home? Yuck. Shoes are there to protect us from things, like floors, which even indoors are not all that clean. (I’m pretty sure there are diseases that feet can contract and spread too.) If it’s not part of your culture it just makes no sense. After all it’s not like shoe less hillbillies are knows for their immaculate lifestyle or good health or anything. I could go on.

  104. kelly 105

    I never ask but we live in Hawaii and everyone takes off their shoes before entering a home. When my daughter was in preschool they had to remove their shoes before entering the classroom:)


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