Sunday, January 16, 2011

Smelly Feet

re-post

The issue of 'smelly feet' is often raised as an argument against the Shoes-Off rule.

In Western society there seems to be a lot of paranoia about the phenomena of 'smelly feet'. I think this is simply a result of people not removing their shoes very often. Your feet will actually smell a lot less if you remove your shoes regularly. Perhaps in Britain we have not yet reached the civilised heights of Finland, where it is acceptable to remove shoes in business meetings and on trains (not that people do not do so in Britain, but it is not seen as conventional behaviour).

Nevertheless, I think most people worry too much about this issue. People imagine their feet smell far more than they actually do. I have met very few people who let off much of an aroma after removing their shoes, and most of them were people who did not wash and change their socks regularly.

If people know in advance that they need to remove their shoes, they can make sure they wear clean socks, or even better, bring slippers with them. If they are especially worried about it, they can use some of those fancy foot deoderents.

Feet will smell a lot less if people wear sandals. Sneakers tend to smell more than leather shoes, though I will admit I often wear sneakers when not in flip flops or crocs.

Some people will say 'I would rather put up with a dirty floor than people's smelly feet.' Well, I guess people decide on their own priorities. However, stinking feet will leave with the guests. A dirty floor will not. Nor will the dust they brought in on their shoes, and that is very bad for your health.

21 comments:

Moderate Mouse said...

I just noticed that, in the second to last paragraph, the first "will" is missing an L.

Bob said...

Thought I would share this...as you know we maintain a shoeless home. Yesterday a saleswomen for a food delivery company came over by prearrangement.
I greeted her at the door and invited her in. She was professionally dressed. I offered to take her coat and as I was hanging it up requested that she take off her shoes as that is the house rule. She protested but would not budge. I politely told her that underthe circumstance our discussion was over. I gave her her coat and said good-by.
In some 30+ years of maintaining a shoeles home that is the first time anyone has refused.

Sandro said...

where are you from, Bob?

Bob said...

North Carolina currently, but we are from the notheast, New York/Connecticut, originally

Celestial Fundy said...

Good for you for standing your ground, Bob. Thanks for sharing that.

She gave no reasons for refusing? What reasons might have you accepted for her keeping her shoes on?

Bob said...

I asked politely and she said that she did not feel it necessary that she take off her shoes. I did not argue with her, said that was her choice but our discussion was over. As to what reasons I might have accepted, I am not sure as no one had ever refused before. If she had a physical condition that would have made it difficult for her to comply I am sure I would have relaxed the rule.
I must point out that our discussion was polite and nither of us became agitated.

Celestial Fundy said...

She did not feel it necessary? What kind of an attitude is that!

Sandro said...

thank you for the feedback, Bob
while there might be some reason for the lady's refusal,
the story in one of the previous posts about a man offended by his daughter's request to remove his shoes is beyond my comprehension

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would post an incident which happened today, in case it is of interest.

I work in a fairly up-market boutique. It is impressed on all the staff that we need to look smart and well-groomed at all times on the shop floor.

Anyway, today one of my colleages (a lady in her mid 20's) arrived in work smartly dressed as usual. However, she was wearing a pair of black low-heeled lace-up shoes which were looking dull and un-polishes and also had water marks on them from walking in the rain.

Although, it was done in a nice way, the manageress commented on the state of her shoes and as she did'nt have another pair with her asked her to take thm off and work in her stockinged feet - as she felt this looked smarter than wearing dirty shoes!!

Bob said...

Anonymous... Did the young sales associate readily comply with the mangers request without comment or was she reluctant?

richyrich said...

Bob, did you explain to the sales woman why you wanted her to take her shoes off?

Sandro said...

anonymous,
I agree that stockinged feet look smarter than shoes, especially if the shoes are dirty;
what is the floor covering in your boutique?

Bob said...

No Richyrich I did not offer an explination, and I am sure that if I had the reult would have been the same. BTW, I have never offered an explination to anyone, I have just politely asked.

Celestial Fundy said...

Anonymous, thanks for sharing that.

It is interesting that the manager thought stocking feet would be smarter than those shoes. I doubt most managers would have taken that line.

She might have sent your colleague home or she might have asked her to go and buy some new shoes

Celestial Fundy said...

A colleague of mine turned up to an hotel conference wearing jeans, he had to either go home or buy some new trousers. He did the latter.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

She had left her boyfirend's house early and not looked at her shoes before leaving.

She did try to clean her shoes with a cloth but it did'nt work.
After this she did'nt mind taking them off.

She is staying with her botfriend so had no other shoes with her, and the floor is carpeted throughout.

Viv.

Sandro said...

That the floor is carpeted makes the shoes-off practice even more reasonable for comfort, hygiene and cleanness.

Celestial Fundy said...

It's great when you guys share your experiences here.

If anybody would like to write a bit more about their experiences (more than just a couple of paragraphs), guest posts are welcome.

I can give you my email if you want to submit anything lengthy.

Sandro said...

What I really find strange that our museums do not require shoes removed.
Yet when I was in Baku as a tourist with my wife, we also visited a number of museums, and our removing shoes was accepted in some of them though made certain fun of in one case. I am talking about apartment museums, i.e. ex-apartments of famous persons in Azerbaijan's history, now the dedicated museums.
Only in of them, a famous local jazz musician's, shoes-off was required. In others, our intention to take our shoes off seemingly shocked the staff, and I was strongly told to leave my shoes on (not surprisingly, the floors were dirty and scratched in those museums) or, if a museum had been renovated, offered extremely uncomfortable (even dangerous), falling down and slippery bags or slippers to put ON shoes. It would have been particularly troubling for my wife, who was wearing high heels (BTW bags cannot protect polished parquet from heels).
In cases with bags/slippers, we were "allowed" to remove our shoes with more or less tolerance or understanding. In one case, we preferred to put the bags on our stockinged feet, which was still not so uncomfortable for us and "shocking" for them, yet I think they just didn't notice we had left our shoes in the lobby.
In the museum of rugs, those on the display are located partly on the floor. The museum provides no slippers or bags, and visitors must stay in their shoes (the floor is parquet rather scratched). However, to see the labels with information, one has to step on the rugs displayed. We repeatedly removed our shoes every time stepping on a rug. We had to put them on to move from rug to rug, from room to room. We would have preferred to keep them off, but didn't want to move dirt from the parquet onto the rugs with our stockinged feet. Nobody from the staff commented our actions. I wonder whether they would have told anything hadn't we taken our shoes off. I hope they would.
Baku is a wonderful city with nice people, who follow the shoes-off policy at homes almost with no exception, but they don't accept they same policy for
offices and, which is even harder to understand, for museums.

Sandro said...

This is the same post with few corrections:

What I really find strange that our museums do not require shoes removed.
Yet when I was in Baku as a tourist with my wife, we also visited a number of museums, and our removing shoes was accepted in some of them though made certain fun of in one case. I am talking about apartment museums, i.e. ex-apartments of famous persons in Azerbaijan's history, now the dedicated museums.
Only in of them, a famous local jazz musician's, shoes-off was required. In others, our intention to take our shoes off seemingly shocked the staff, and we were strongly told to leave my shoes on (not surprisingly, the floors were dirty and scratched in those museums) or, if a museum had been renovated, offered extremely uncomfortable (even dangerous), falling down and slippery bags or slippers to put ON shoes. It would have been particularly troubling for my wife, who was wearing high heels (BTW bags cannot protect polished parquet from heels).
In cases with bags/slippers, we were "allowed" to remove our shoes with more or less tolerance or understanding. In one case, we preferred to put the bags on our stockinged feet, which was still not so uncomfortable for us and not so "shocking" for them, yet I think they just didn't notice we had left our shoes in the lobby.
In the museum of rugs, those on the display are located partly on the floor. The museum provides no slippers or bags, and visitors must stay in their shoes (the floor is parquet rather scratched). However, to see the labels with information, one has to step on the rugs displayed. We repeatedly removed our shoes every time stepping on a rug. We had to put them on to move from rug to rug, from room to room. We would have preferred to keep them off, but didn't want to move dirt from the parquet onto the rugs with our stockinged feet. Nobody from the staff commented our actions. I wonder whether they would have told anything hadn't we taken our shoes off. I hope they would.
Baku is a wonderful city with nice people, who follow the shoes-off policy at homes almost with no exception, but they don't accept the same policy for
offices and, which is even harder to understand, for museums.

Sandro said...

Just to clarify why we preferred plastic bags on stockinged feet to those on shoes: it was seemingly easier to "control" them without shoes rather than through shoes, and not to slide or fall down. This was especially vital for my wife, who was wearing high heels )