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.