Our guide, Andrei Stancu, a slender and bookish man in his mid 20s, told us that the Ceausescus, both born into peasant families, always took off their shoes at the door to preserve the carpets.
They might have kept Romania under a brutal dictatorship, but at least they kept their carpets clean.
I've suggested before that the dominance of the shoes-off custom in Eastern Europe has at least something to do with Communism. It's not a custom that fits in with the western bourgeois ideal.
If Communism had not triumphed and the old regimes, like the Habsburg empire or the Kingdom of Romania survived, would middle-class people in Eastern Europe be following the more western practice of wearing shoes in homes? It's hard to say. Austria escaped Communism, yet people generally remove their shoes there. Though this may reflect the egalitarian tendencies of modern Europe.