Sunday, October 04, 2015

SPLASH Sun-Times: Should you remove your shoes indoors?

SPLASH Sun-Times: Should you remove your shoes indoors?

Are you a household where shoes are always removed before entering the home? Or do you prefer to wear shoes inside your house? Have you ever been taken aback when a friend insists you remove your shoes before entering their home (especially when you’ve just spent a lot of money and even more time picking out just the right pair)? In the U.S., asking your guests to remove their shoes before entering your home can cause reactions as opinionated as if you’d just asked them to outline the peace process in the Middle East. Why? In America we often applaud people for maintaining traditions of their culture, yet we’re quick to criticize another family’s habits (especially when it infringes upon our own). We are often a society of over-thinkers and over-analyzers, and sometimes rely too heavily upon the pseudo facts that fill our Facebook feeds. Although whether or not shoes should be removed before entering the home is rife with controversy (if you don’t believe me just search for “remove shoes indoors” and read the polarized opinions), I prefer a more calm approach. So let’s look at a few facts and figures so you can make your own informed decision about this topic.

New Vision: RDC refuses to remove shoes, thrown out of radio station

New Vision: RDC refuses to remove shoes, thrown out of radio station

A story from Uganda about some government official who was prevented from taking part in a public health radio program because he refused to remove his shoes in the studio. Apparently the studio did not allow shoes inside to prevent dust damaging the equipment.

Africans do not have western bourgeois manners. If an African person wants you to take your shoes off, she makes it very clear.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

I bet they do

I saw a forty-something couple walking their dogs in an affluent part of town the other day. They were both wearing crocs; the bloke was wearing black crocs and his wife was wearing yellow crocs.

A couple who value comfort and practicality over style, wearing shoes that are easy to slip off. I bet they keep a shoe-free home.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Endevourly: Remove Your Shoes At The Door

Endevourly: Remove Your Shoes At The Door

'With the outbreak of viruses and the flu season comes the fear of getting attacked with malignant things we sure do not want living in our body system. Want one of the many solutions to this? Simply remove your shoes at the door. Yes, it might sound simple and common sense, yet so many people/ families don’t do it. This simple action at the entering of your home can save you from so many troubles.'

Big in Finland: House slippers in Finland: the Reino

Big in Finland: House slippers in Finland: the Reino

"One of the Finnish customs is to remove one’s shoes when entering a house. But anyone who has done that during a time of the year that wasn’t summer in Finland knows that your feet can get cold very fast.

In order to avoid that, you can do plenty of different things: fill your house with rags or carpet, or wear thick socks – for instance made out of wool – over your normal socks. You can also have a different pair of footwear for indoors (that’s my preferred solution: Because in Spain there is no tradition of taking the shoes off, I just wore different ones when I was home and the snow could melt by the door, over some paper towels). Or you can wear house slippers."

Monday, September 07, 2015

Apartment Therapy: Alice, My Relatives Won't Take Off Their Shoes

Apartment Therapy: Alice, My Relatives Won't Take Off Their Shoes

"Wow, that does sound incredibly frustrating, especially since you don't really understand why they're resisting your policy (since they themselves subscribe to the same ideals). But let's not worry about motives, let's focus on action.

Whatever your family's feelings are about shoes off or on in the house, the fact remains that they are coming into your home and therefore should respect your rules. It sounds like you've done all you can in the moment and to no avail. I think it's time to take a next step: a preemptive strike.

Before their next visit, either call them on the phone or write an email and explain that you're concerned about dirt in the living room because your son is at that lick-the-floor age so you and your husband have decided that all visitors need to immediately remove their shoes at the door. Suggest that they bring along a pair of slippers or house shoes to put on if they want (and maybe leave them at your house if they visit often)."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Globalisation: Does the Future belong to Shoes On or Shoes Off?

We live in a globalised world, a world in which billions of Africans wear flip flops mass produced in China and where children in Malaysia support British football teams like Manchester United and Arsenal. How will this trend towards an increasingly localised planet affect the practice or non-practice of removing shoes in homes?

In the West, I think the trend will be towards removing shoes. Increased travel has made us more familiar with cultures where shoes are removed and many will adopt this. Immigration of peoples from countries where removing shoes is customary will also have this effect, especially as people of European ethnicity intermarry with Asians. I have noted before on this blog, the enthusiasm of young people for Japanese culture and I think that will have some small effect. In addition, the high cost of housing in countries like the UK means that people will want to look after their homes.

Yet there is a factor that works towards people keeping shoes on. This is the import of western movies and television in which shoes are worn at home, realistically or not. In the minds of many, keeping shoes on is associated with living a western lifestyle and a sign of affluence. Plenty of people in Africa the Middle East and Asia may hold the USA in contempt, but they still want to live what they perceive as an American lifestyle. I understand in many East European countries, removing shoes is seen as a bit old fashioned and keeping shoes on is associated with living a modern western lifestyle.

Yet I think the shoes off still has the advantage. Cultures will be selective in what they take from the West, as Japan has always been. In some Asian countries films are produced in which characters wear shoes indoors, despite the fact that nobody in those countries would do that in real life. The viewers are presumably able to distinguish this from real behaviour. But the ultimate advantage that shoes off has is that it is practical. No matter how popular western culture may be, the streets will still be just as dirty.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Samaa TV: Bank fined for forcing client to remove his shoes

Samaa TV: Bank fined for forcing client to remove his shoes

RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian bank didn’t have a leg to stand on when it forced a client to remove his shoes and do business in his socks, a judge ruled.

Many banks in crime-ridden Brazil have tight security with metal detectors and, on entering the Caixa Economica Federal (CEF) branch in Sao Paulo state, Lourivaldo de Santana was asked to empty his pockets.

But after the watch, phone and other small items, one of the guards “asked him also to remove his boots and then said that if he wanted to enter he’d have to go in socks,” the Sao Paulo federal court spokesman said Tuesday.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Shoes off at my door

A little glimpse of my life: the entrance to my apartment with my 'Please take off your shoes' doormat.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Crime Survey Appointment

Thinking about whether to ask on arrival or inform in advance of a shoes-off rule....

I got selected, apparently at random, to take part in the National Crime Survey. The interviewer called at my door last week to arrange an appointment to do the interview. I had to make the decision as to whether to tell her I would expect shoes off or not. I decided not to bother telling her in advance. I assumed that if she was visiting lots of houses, she would probably be expecting to have to remove her shoes at some of them.

The lady came today. She was a very nice, elegant posh lady. I asked her to take her shoes off as we entered my apartment and she seemed fine about it. She came in barefoot, having removed her soft black loafers.

Thursday, July 30, 2015 Guests removing their shoes? Hosts love it or hate it Guests removing their shoes? Hosts love it or hate it

You go to someone's home wearing shoes that aren't — or, at least, don't appear to be — dirty. So, do you take them off, as a growing number of young people are doing? Do you leave them on? Or do you stand in the doorway, waiting for your host's instructions? (Followed, perhaps, by a brief lecture on bacteria, toxins and good old-fashioned D-I-R-T?)

The North Jerseyans we posed the question to on social media were almost evenly split on the matter.

Every American online newspaper seems to cover this topic in a general interest article at some point. I rarely see this topic discussed in British newspapers, except in the etiquette column.

Mumsnet: AIBU to tell people 'house rules' before they come & stay?

Mumsnet: AIBU to tell people 'house rules' before they come & stay?

Contrary to what is often said, a lot of posters on this thread suggested it is better to ask for shoes-off on arrival, rather than in advance.

I love it when this issue comes up on Mumsnet.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bubblelews: Shoes on or off in the house?

Bubblelews: Shoes on or off in the house?

In America many people living here ask visitors, guests and residents to remove and to leave their shoes outside when entering a home. I ask my guests to remove their shoes and I have an area inside for them to be stowed until they depart.

My request is partially because I happen to live in an area with an abundance of farmland, and filthy sidewalks that are littered by men (and some un-lady like women) carelessly spitting, goose and duck excrement, cigarette butts just to name a few unsanitary reasons. I personally love to be barefoot and enjoy the luxury of my toes on carpet.

Friday, July 10, 2015



A recent study out of the University of Houston found that 39 percent of shoe soles sampled were contaminated with the bacteria C. diff (Clostridium difficile), a public health threat that is now resistant to a number of antibiotics. C. diff infections can cause severe diarrhea that may progress to colon inflammation and more serious health issues, especially if it does not respond to antibiotic treatment.

“Shoes are contaminated from diverse sources, and we are regularly contaminating our doorsteps by shoes,” says study author M. Jahangir Alam, Ph.D.