Monday, November 19, 2007

Should One Provide Slippers for Guests?


In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. This will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

This is a fairly good idea, but I am not so sure. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go shoe-less, rather than wear slippers that are not their own.

I think it is a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer.


Anonymous said...

I read your post and I think people in the US would feel the same way about slippers worn by others. If people have visited before, they will be aware of the no shoes rule and provide accordingly. New visitors can/should be informed before hand and prepare accordingly, thereby eliminating the need for socks/slippers to be provided. In a previous reply I told you of a situation my wife encountered when she went to the home of a co-worker. She has subsequently gone back to this home and upon entering immediately took off her shoes as the seed was planted from her prior visit.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

So if you went to the home of a friend (in the USA) and you were loaned a pair of slippers to wear for the visit, would you be unconfortable about wearing them?

Anonymous said...

personally yes....we have a few friends who have no shoe rules...I always make sure to wear socks as my feet are wife has no problem going either barefoot or in stockinged feet...once or twice when it was extremly cold she has brought a pair of slippers to wear.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I have been in Japan where you wear borrowed slippers a lot. So I would not mind myself. The only irritating thing there is that they do not always fit well. Japanese feet tend to be a different size and shape to western feet.

If somebody in England lent me slippers, they would probably fit.

But I understand most people being uncomfortable with that.

God Bless


Anonymous said...

just to be clear, neither my wife nor I have any problem about removing our shoes when we visit...we have the same rule in our is just that we would feel uncomfortable about wearing slippers that were not ours.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Yes, in the west it is not normal to share footwear.