A few years ago I happened to catch a doctor on the radio who was railing passionately about the evils of wearing your outdoor shoes in your home. By traipsing through your home in fresh from the street shoes, you were effectively transferring any and all types of filth–gum, dirt, oil, spit, other things I can’t bring myself to type–from the street into your personal space, which really should really be kept as pure as possible, dirtwise and vibewise.
He convinced me. I’ve been a practitioner of the no-shoe domicile for a while and wouldn’t dream of going back to having that level of grossness imported inside again. Levels of grossness of course, being relative to where you live. Cape Cod; not so bad, maybe some sand or a spot of soil. Manhattan or downtown Los Angeles; unprintable.
I’ve noticed that here in the U.S. it is increasingly common to visit homes that are no-shoe homes. That is, you leave your shoes at the door for all the reasons your hosts might desire: the basic hygiene argument outlined above, heels carving up a soft wood floor, an addiction to white shag carpets, and so forth.