Sunday, June 11, 2017

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia



by Alexandra Black Paulick


"I made a major cultural mistake early on in my Asia adventure. It was in Thailand and I started blazing across the foyer to the reception desk in our small off the beaten path lodging. It had been a long day and I was more than ready to claim my room and curl up for a long night sleep. A bustling grandmother behind the counter quickly came running to block my path, utterly in shock at my onset.

You see I still had my sandals on. I had crossed the barrier of the lobby still wearing my chacos.

Much to my surprise, the older host of the house requested that our shoes be removed outside. It suddenly dawned on me that in my haste, I had passed a small group of shoes outside on the steps leading into the hotel. Slowly a memory of someone commenting about shoes and customs in Asia came to the forefront.

I went to slide my sandals off, still holding them in my hand but proceeding barefoot. Strike two. While our host was friendly and accommodating, she was committed that my shoes remain outside."

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House


by Hannah Logan


"What makes it even worse is how obvious it is that I do not wear shoes indoors. If my bare (or sock) feet aren't indication enough, check the lineup of shoes at my front door. It's not a new decoration technique; they are there for a reason. And while this is obvious to most people, there are still some who are completely oblivious.

It also implies something about how the visitor feels about a place. Shoes are meant to be worn to protect your feet and keep them clean. For every person who keeps theirs on, I can't help but take it as a judgment against me and my home. As if my living space isn't clean or safe enough for them to risk taking their shoes off. I understand that, more likely than not, this is never the intention. Given the amount of action that my Swiffer and vacuum see, I can't actually believe that visitors consider my floors to be hazardous. Still, irrational or not, I always end up feeling offended."

The author states she does not request people to remove their shoes. This is the problem. It's useless seething with anger at people for not taking their shoes off if you are not prepared to communicate that this is your expectation. Lots of people leave their own shoes at the door, but would never expect guests to remove their shoes, so she cannot assume this is a big enough clue. She is going to have to learn to be more assertive.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Election Time Again

It's election time again after our prime minister decided to U-turn and call an early election. I was out delivering leaflets for the Conservatives once again. And once again, I saw another house with a 'shoes-off' sign. This one had the familiar message "Since little hands touch the floor, please remove your shoes at the door."

That's a total of seven shoes-off signs in houses in Stevenage that I have counted, not including my own. Clearly people in Stevenage are getting the message and like to keep their homes clean.

Stevenage is quite a working-class town, so this fits with what I said recently about upper-working class people favouring shoes-off, that is, skilled manual workers and trades people. They are probably more likely to ask for shoes-off than posher middle-class people.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Supervision with my shoes off

I had a supervision session with my line manager where she reviews my work and performance. We couldn't find a room to use, so we decided to go outside, as it was sunny. My boss suggested sitting under a shady tree, so I got my picnic blanket out of the car. We thus had our session sitting on the picnic blanket with our shoes off.

It seemed perhaps a little surreal to be reviewing my performance sat on a picnic blanket, but it was a nice change. Perhaps it might seem a little overly familiar, though my line manager did come to the housewarming party in my apartment a while ago (and complied with my no-shoes rule).

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Diana Elizabeth Blog: How to enforce a no shoe policy with guests

Diana Elizabeth Blog: How to enforce a no shoe policy with guests

"So maybe you might need some help to tell new guests about your no shoe policy, or you may decide your new home will now be a shoe-free zone. So how do you enforce it, politely?

Before I get started, please remember you aren’t going to lose friends over asking them to take off their shoes – really. And anyone who has that much of an attachment to their shoes might have some feet issues or something. Just kidding. So don’t worry about the request – your guests would rather abide by your rules than make the host uncomfortable!"

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MEL Magazine: Don’t Get Mad When the Hosts Asks You to Remove Your Shoes

MEL Magazine: Don’t Get Mad When the Hosts Asks You to Remove Your Shoes

"Yes, it’s annoying when someone asks you to take off your shoes before you’re allowed to step inside their home. But it’s also annoying (and painful and embarrassing) to contract some form of explosive diarrhea, which is something that can happen when germs from the street are tracked all over a kitchen or bedroom floor.

In fact, a study conducted by Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, found more than 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the average pair of shoes. What’s worse, it found that the transfer rate from a contaminated place to a previously uncontaminated place — e.g., that dive bar bathroom to your bathroom — was 90 to 99 percent. In other words, what was on the floor of that restroom is now almost definitely in yours."

Loic Le Meur: Can you please remove your shoes?

Loic Le Meur: Can you please remove your shoes?

"Yesterday I had a few friends at my new place. I decided to ask them to remove their shoes as they entered the house. It created all kinds of conversations and surprises.

I think it’s standard in many places in Asia but almost never in France and I have rarely seen it in San Francisco. The benefit is obvious — keep your house clean from all the crap your shoes carry with them."

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Journal| Poll: Do you ask visitors to remove their shoes in your home?

The Journal| Poll: Do you ask visitors to remove their shoes in your home?


"YESTERDAY WE BROUGHT you news of scientific studies which show that outdoor shoes carry some seriously nasty bugs.

A slight majority of readers who voted in our poll on the issue say they take they shoes off indoors.

On foot of that (sorry), a few of you suggested that we should follow the example of other cultures and ask visitors to also remove their shoes on entering our homes."


Discussion of our favorite topic on an Irish website. Despite the damp weather, shoe-free homes are not the norm in Ireland, nevertheless quite a few comments from Irish people who do prefer shoes-off. Some of the comments are a bit on the daft side.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Apartment Therapy: Apartment Therapy Great Debates: Do You Insist on a "Shoes Off" Policy at Home?

Apartment Therapy: Apartment Therapy Great Debates: Do You Insist on a "Shoes Off" Policy at Home?

"As it turns out, we've been stuck on this topic for-ev-er. Going all the way back to 2006, the first post I found on this topic was a Good Question post answered by the man himself, Maxwell, who tackled this quandary: Good Questions: Is Shoes Off at a Party Proper? which yielded a whopping 181 comments.

Then we got bossy on the matter: In 2007 there was the directive Take Off Your Shoes (accompanied by the most adorably out-of-focus picture of two pairs of suede Puma's. Shout out to those early AT photos!). And one of our most popular posts ever was 37 Reasons To Take Off Your Shoes."

It's very nice to know that Apartment Therapy's most popular post was inspired by this blog.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Protocol School of Texas: Removing Shoes at House Parties

The Protocol School of Texas: Removing Shoes at House Parties

"I understand your hesitation when it comes to removing your shoes at someone else’s home. Whether your heels complete your outfit or you just feel uncomfortable being barefoot outside of your own home, taking off your shoes may feel awkward and almost too personal. But there are certain, and valid circumstances in which the request to remove shoes is appropriate and there is a right way to go about it."

The Daily Mail: Why you really should take your shoes off in the house: The soles are infested with diarrhoea-causing bugs

The Daily Mail: Why you really should take your shoes off in the house: The soles are infested with diarrhoea-causing bugs

by Stephen Matthews

Shoes are packed full of harmful bacteria picked up as people travel and these can multiply and spread on carpets and floors.

And just touching the infected surface could land you on the toilet for a couple of hours with the embarrassing stomach bug.

Study author Professor Kevin Garey said: 'It's amazing how far humans travel during the day, and all that walking drags in germs and bugs.'


A pro-shoes off story in the Daily Mail, the Darth Vader of tabloid newspapers. I absolutely hate the Daily Mail with its pro-Brexit stance and its hostility to immigrants. However, it's probably true that a lot of the readers of the Mail keep their homes shoe-free. This is where class comes in.

A lot of people with shoe-free homes are young, trendy, professional hipsterish people (like me?). However, a lot more are what you might call upper-working class people. Skilled manual workers and successful small business people. People who have done well for themselves and have nice homes. Such people have lovely white carpets and don't have the social pretensions that would keep posher, more middle-class people from asking guests to take their shoes off. Those are not the sort of people I would get on well with if we had a conversation about politics, but I'm definitely with them on taking your shoes off at the door.

Some of the Trump supporting Americans who follow me on Twitter favorite my tweets on removing shoes. They are probably a similar sort of people to those Daily Mail readers who keep shoe-free homes.

Yes, we British really are obsessed with class.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pounding the Streets

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Guardian: Should you take your shoes off inside the house?

The Guardian: Should you take your shoes off inside the house?


by Stuart Heritage


"My brother is a fastidious shoes-off-er. I visited him recently and, within a couple of minutes, he gestured at my feet in horror. “What are those?” he asked. “These?” I replied, pointing to my trainers. “I bought them onli–” “No!” he yelled. “What are they doing on in my house?”

This is the best way to divide people. There are those who despise the thought of rubber on carpet, who lie awake panicking because wearing outdoors shoes indoors upsets the natural order of things. Then there are normal people like me, who don’t really care because they understand the purpose of doormats.

However, as much as I hate to admit it, the shoes-off-ers might be on to something. A recent study led by researchers at the University of Houston has shown that 26.4% of shoes carry Clostridium difficile, while a 2015 study claimed that 40% of shoes carry Listeria monocytogenes. Work on a farm? A 2014 study concluded that your boots are almost certainly covered in E coli. These are not the things that should be traipsed through living rooms."

This is from a 'shoes-on' perspective, but it's good to see this issue getting some coverage in a major newspaper. The comments seem pretty evenly divided.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Classic Conversion Story

After she sadly had her dog put to sleep, my colleague cleaned her carpets, which apparently required a good deal of effort. She's now asking visitors to take their shoes off.

It's quite common for people to adopt a shoes-off policy after having their carpets cleaned. Unfortunately, some people let it slip once they have forgotten the contrast between their clean carpets and their dirty carpets.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Keep Out Dog Dirt