Taking Shoes off in the House

Parent Q&A

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  • Shoe covers for housekeepers?

    (3 replies)

    Has anyone had success asking house cleaning services to wear shoe covers when they come into your home?  We are a no-shoes home and while I obviously can't ask a house cleaner to remove their shoes to work, I also don't love the idea of them tracking stuff into my home.  The last time I had a cleaning service come in, they left black streaks all over my bathtub from standing in it.  Having to re-clean after they're gone is a little disappointing, so I'd like to just provide shoe covers next time, but is this a reasonable ask?  If you have made similar special requests for the particulars of your home, do you find that larger companies or self-employed individuals are more likely to accept them?  I'm new to this, so I'm not sure of the best way to find the right person/team who will go along with this and not think I'm being too demanding...I am otherwise not very picky about cleaning, but the shoe thing does gross me out.  (If you have a person/team to recommend, I'd love to hear recs, too!)  Thanks, BPN!

    We are also a no-shoes inside household. Our current cleaners have separate shoes they wear indoors only. I told them that not wearing outside shoes in the house is very important for our culture. I offered to buy them shoes that they wear in our house. We have had several cleaners over the years. Some have taken their shoes off. Others wore shoes that we bought. One lady (I miss her so much!) had her own shoes that she wore when cleaning and would clean those shoes, too. We have never used a large company. Our cleaners have always been 1 lady or 2 people team. I don't recommend shoe covers because I think they can be slippery especially working on wet surface. 

    We are also a no-shoes household. Our cleaners have always been very respectful of this. They bring their own "house slippers" when cleaning. I have tried a few shoe covers from Amazon when we used to use cleaners from a big company (who frankly are more difficult to work with because they just follow their company rules and don't do a great job) but they are not strong enough for outdoor shoes to be worn continuously inside, especially not if they are inside wet surfaces like a tub. 


    Our cleaning team has no problem removing their shoes while in our house. All of our past cleaners have done it too. I don’t think it’s a strange ask. Our current cleaning company is family-based and wonderful: http://greencleanteam.net

  • I notice more and more that people take off shoes in their homes or when coming to mine. That is not the tradition at our house and I will take shoes off if I see it is the custom. Do people think that I am gross for not doing so in my house? Just wondering if I am being negatively judged. 

    We are a shoes-off household for hygiene purposes. The world is gross (think about it, dog poop, trash, who knows what-all you walk on). Why bring that into your home?  From my experience traveling/living abroad, "shoes off" is a cultural practice rooted in hygiene and sanitation. Therefore, I would say it is safe to assume that anyone who is shoes-off does consider wearing shoes in the home to be disgusting. 

    In my house we take shoes off and ask guests to do the same because my husband is Japanese. Its a deep cultural thing where indoors (even if messy and dusty) is "clean" and outdoors is not. He and other Japanese friends we have talked with about this topic aren't exactly judging shoes-on households but do find it to be one more strange thing about living in America. Other families we know go shoe free just because they like the idea of reducing the amount of dirt brought into the house, especially when little ones are crawling around. I've never heard any of them sound preachy about it though.It's just something they like doing.

    I suspect that people who are judgy would also be so about all sorts of things in someone else's house. That's a slippery slope of worry. Don't do it!

    I would not think badly of you, because not all my friends and family want to do so (including my own husband), but I do feel strongly about not wearing outdoor shoes in the house, perhaps because I live near downtown Berkeley. Sidewalks and streets here, and in many other towns and cities, are pretty dirty, and I don't want to track traces of urine, dog feces, food remains, and other substances into my house. Although I'm pretty carefree about bacteria otherwise, when I sit on the floor in my own home, I want it to be at least somewhat clean.



    You can do what you want in your own house. It's your house. In my  house we remove shoes, and have visitors remove their shoes also. Just the thought of shoes in public restrooms is enough to make me want to do it, where your shoes step on urine, feces and whatever else! Then those same shoes touch your floors and carpet.

    What you do in your home is your business.  In mine, we are shoes off inside.  My kids have been doing this since they could walk honestly and relatives homes are the same along with most friends.  Kids take off shoes automatically now whenever they go inside a home.  

    I've got a storage bench in front and inside so shoes are easy to get to- but I don't like what's outside being tracked inside.  Just think about going into a public restroom or porta potty. Do you want what you are stepping on there to be tracked to your kitchen floor?  Overall keeps the floors cleaner especially with a dog and two middle school boys to contend with.

    I do have slippers I can offer friends who like to have something on their feet- and I'm not going to force anyone who has feet issues to remove their shoes.  

    No, I do not think you are gross. I think you are normal.  I don't see what all the fuss is about, with people needing to have a no-shoes rule. Since we do not eat off the floor or rub our hands on the soles of our shoes or have white wall-to-wall carpets, and we regularly mop and vacuum, why should we take off our shoes unless they are muddy or wet, in which case they are left outside.  If you are concerned about hygiene, you are better off having people check their purses and backpacks at the door.  That's where all the germs are. (check it out: http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/purse.asp).   But after three children that are now teens and beyond, I can tell you I've seen a lot of gross stuff in my house that is way grosser than dirty shoes coming in through the front door. 

    Ironically, many of our visitors take their shoes off when they come in to our house. Maybe because there is a basket with shoes in it next to the front door. However, that basket is there because my children and husband use the front hall as their dressing room, so there is a basket for shoes so I can toss them in there when I pick them up off the floor.   Sometimes I tell visitors "You don't have to take off your shoes" and they look confused and then they take them off anyway.  I don't know why!  I do try to be respectful of other peoples' house rules, but count me in as a shoe-friendly house.

    I feel you can do anything you want in your own house. I never took off my shoes in my house until I married a woman who's culture required it. I'm thankful because our house is much cleaner now. (I came back from the park one day and looked at the bottom of my shoes. OMG you won't believe what I found in the grooves.)


    I have become more conscientious about not wearing shoes in my house after I had my baby. I started noticing all of the things my shoes trample through outside (oil, gasoline, urine, poo, etc) and was repulsed by the fact that I would then  trek that filth into my newly sanitized house for my baby to crawl on. 

    I certainly would not think you are gross wearing your shoes in your house and allowing your guests to do so.  I'd be happy, because I hate taking my shoes off. It hurts my feet to walk around barefoot.  I do have some friends who ask us to remove our shoes when we come over and I'll do it, but it's always with an inner eye-roll, because it's a) uncomfortable and b) ruins the look of my outfit (and no, I don't want to wear someone else's slippers or slippery paper disposable things or whatever).  Ironically, the 'no shoes' friends seem to have the dirtiest floors. I vividly recall wearing white socks to one 'no shoes' house and coming home with gray ones.  I felt like I'd been asked to be a human Swiffer for them.  

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Friends who do not want to remove their shoes

Sept 2013

We always remove shows when come home and I have difficultly when friends do not want to remove their shoes at my home. Looking for an advice how to make sure they remove shoes without sounding rude. I have asthma so trying to keep dust out of house (it really helped), it is one of the reasons for removing shoes. I also had back surgery in the past, so vacuuming and mopping the floors causes me to have back pain, and paying for someone else to do it is expensive. If not my back issues I would let people come in shoes and just would vacuum and mop the floor when they leave.

We recently moved to a new house where the carpet is very light, almost white, so any dirt is clearly visible. On the housewarming party 2 of my friends refused to take off shoes when I nicely asked them to, including a very close friend. They know about my health problems and we all came from the culture (Russian) where removing shoes coming home is what's expected from everyone. I always removed my shoes when visited those friends and they all remove shoes in their homes. I don't know what to do. I don't want to sound rude by insisting for them to remove shoes (asked twice but they didn't want to), and do not want to stop inviting them and potentially ruine the friendships because of that. I used to live in small appartment where I seldom invited people over due to space limits, so shoes issue never came up before.

I feel like telling them next time that I am inviting them over but only with the condition that the shoes will be taken off. Am I wrong? Is there a better what to do that? My back still hurts after vacuuming. anon

Taking off shoes is great for many people. However, some people have orthopedic issues and are always supposed to wear their shoes. Some people are embarrassed about foot odor (and as a host you might be upset by it too!). I recommend buying an inexpensive box of disposable paper booties, like construction professionals or medical personnel wear, to offer guests who can't or won't remove shoes. This will save your rugs, their feet, and everyone's nose. Andrea K

Honestly, I think you can ask your guests to remove their shoes, but they can say no. I do understand that this is a normal request in many cultures, but if you don't offer an alternative like slippers for your guests, that it is very uncomfortable for them. While I sympathize with your asthma condition (I have it, too), two guests who politely wipe their shoes on your welcome mat won't do all that much damage. I dislike people asking me to remove my shoes. V

Tell your friends what you mentioned in your post, about your back problems, and go from there. If they are true friends, they might feel bad, and comply. If they won't take off their shoes, make a decision whether not removing shoes is a deal breaker for friendship or not I always take off my shoes

I recently heard of a great solution to this problem. While I understand both sides of the issue and enjoy the benefits of a clean home, taking off shoes religiously can be an enormous hassle. Especially a hassle when there is a need to come in and out unloading groceries or something. Then there are folks who have old socks and don't want to be embarrassed by taking off their shoes to display holy socks. Then there are those visitors who really smell a whole lot better with their shoes on (like uncle Ray)! The solution: surgical booties. These are the disposable overshoes issued when you have surgery. They are inexpensive and can be re-useable. Just keep a box near the door and for visitors who would be best to keep shoes on-just give them a pair to slip over their shoes. Problem solved and everybody is happy. Also easy to slip on and off when going in and out. old socks

I had a friend who wanted people to remove their shoes in her house. She had a basket at the front door with a bunch of different slippers and such for people to wear (in case they would be barefoot or didn't want to walk around in their socks). This might help your reluctant shoe-taker-offers, since that might be why they don't want to take off their shoes (maybe their feet are cold or they don't want anyone to see their toes!). Not everyone likes to bare their feet

We are a Chinese family and in our culture everyone removes shoes upon entering the house. People come in and automatically remove their shoes. I have had people from different cultures come to my house and I have never ever had anyone refuse to remove their shoes. Even workmen and contractors remove their shoes. So I don't think it's your request that's unusual, it's your friends' refusal to remove their shoes. Are they always so insensitive and rude? If so, consider not inviting them to your house anymore. Just keep inviting the nice friends who remove their shoes.

Other things that make the request more simple: Hang a ''No shoes please!'' sign at the door. And offer slippers. I always put out guest slippers to highlight the point that shoes are not allowed. Also some guests just don't like cold feet--slippers really help. I get mine from Daiso. They are made of woven grass(?), so not the fuzzy type, so easier to keep clean in between guests.

We had similar problems until we posted a cute sign OUTSIDE the front door asking people to remove shoes. While they wait for us to answer the door they have to read the sign and many have already removed their shoes by the time we arrive. I think it is helps to make the sign lighthearted, sweet, or humorous. no shoes house

It is very odd to me that these people refused to take their stupid shoes off when asked. It's not that uncommon, especially, as you mentioned, in Russian culture, and even if it was who cares? It's your house. You don't even need to explain why you want people's shoes off your white carpet. if they were simply acquaintances I would probably write them off as rude a-holes. But since they are friends I guess I would call them up and just ask politely why they don't want to take their shoes off. It might be something like they were worried their feet were smelly or they had holes in their socks. Then you could just laugh together and say something droll like, ''I guess next time you come over you'll wear your fancy socks! Ha!'' Another thing I've seen is people offering slippers to guests. Cristabel

Many families have started shoe free homes for the reason you mention, and I do the same. For those who are loathe to take off their shoes (ugly feet? smelly socks?) offer them shoe covers, sold in hardware stores for plumbers and workers who enter the house. Berkeley Architectural Heritage Society uses them for its annual house tours, so the beautiful homes do not get the dirt of hundreds of feet of the visitors. Lynn

I've had plantar fasciitis several times and I wear orthopedic inserts. It's actually painful for me to walk around in bare feet. My son has a friend who lives in a house with a no-shoes rule, so when I go pick him up, I just stand outside the front door and wait for them to fetch my kid. Sometimes they've engaged me in extended conversation, as I stand outside and they stand inside. They have never offered to waive their rule. I think it's rude and unfriendly. local mom

I feel your pain. I have allergies and dust aversion so I usually tell peple ''do you mind leaving your shoes by the door? We are a no-shoe house. Yeah, I know. Call me crazy''. And I have never gotten a refusal. However, for service people like the cable man or the plumber who actually can't remove their shoes for safety reasons, I have a box of disposable surgical booties (you know, those paper shoes that doctors wear in hospitals and then dump) that I keep handy so they can put over their shoes. That way they don't remove them and you don't have their filth in your floors! Dust averse too

Although I am usually fine with removing my shoes when requested, I do not appreciate the request when it's a party and I'm dressed up in a nice outfit, including my shoes. I think that you might consider making an exception when you give a party. Melissa

There are also some people out there who get cold feet easily and get 10 minute super painful toe cramps as a result of that. Those are completely immobilizing and ruin the evening for a while. While you have a legitimate health reason to ask people to take their shoes off, please don't forget that other people might have private, valid reasons too not wanting to take their shoes off. For those please, have different slipper sizes ready or ask them in advance to bring slippers or indoor shoes with them. I would certainly appreciate a heads-up about this, and when surprised, I have asked the host for slippers. Anonymous

I just tell people ''no shoes!'' Before they take another step inside. I do have a friend who offers people guest slippers to wear inside. That works too. No shoes!

I hate shoeless households. It takes my kids forever to put on their shoes. Going from indoors to outdoors becomes a huge production. Plus, there's always that awkward question of whether you have to go through the whole ritual when you are just stopping in for a minute or two, or walking directly through to the back yard.

That said, it's very common here and your right to do as you wish in your home and as needed for your health. Your friends are wrong to disregard your request. If I were you, I would offer slippers or socks, and a place to sit down. My understanding is that most shoeless cultures do this as a courtesy to their guests. None of my shoeless friends do this so they wear their cosy socks or slippers while my feet freeze or my tights get filthy (shoeless homes don't always have clean floors.) Shoes

Perhaps ask them to bring a pair of indoor shoes that they can leave at your house to wear inside if they don't want to go barefoot. Or, buy them a pair of nice slippers that are only used indoors and hand them to them as a ''gift'' the next time they come over. - A fellow shoe remover

Yes, you can give a conditional invitation. (with an explanation on the health side) But if they are truly friends you'd like to see, then you could offer to meet them somewhere else. Better yet, you might want to just start with meeting them somewhere else and not get into the mess that the conditional invitation poses anon

This is kind of a sore subject for me. I understand wanting to have a shoe free house. I actually think it's a great idea. It's just not always practical. We used to have kids take their shoes off when they came in so they didn't have to think about feet on the furniture. My boys, now grown still take their shoes off when they come home.

A lot of people (me) cannot go barefoot. My feet start to ache after a few minutes. I have a few ''no shoes house'' friends. When I go there I bring a pair of indoor only shoes. You can tell your friends in advance to bring their slippers, or you can provide multi size pairs of slippers for people to wear. Some people with hip or knee issues might have a difficult time taking their shoes off. You have a right to have a no shoes house, but try to accommodate people so that they are comfortable in your home. anon

I always respect people's requests to remove shoes. However, because I have fungus damaged toenails, it is very embarrassing for me when I'm not wearing socks and I'm asked to remove me shoes. This seems like something the no shoes crowd never considers, and while I try to plan ahead, sometimes I'm caught off guard and have to reveal my nasty feet. Yucky toes

Hey, another Russian here. Interestingly, I never thought that removing shoes in the house was a cultural thing, but rather a hygienic one. Dragging home and rubbing into carpets, rugs and floors various traces of dirt, gasoline, and a melange of spilled drinks, spit, urine, etc. just never appealed to me. So I am with you on this one. That being said, I don't have any good advice for you, other than getting new friends with manners, as I can't imagine a situation where a guest over the age of 5 would ignore a host's request, especially when it's a matter of health. But even disregarding the health issue, it's just a matter of respect and consideration for another person and their house, be it a request not to smoke, not to use profanities around kids or to wear tinfoil hats. I respect your home, please respect mine

I'm surprised to hear that you think the shoes in the house causes dust. I have never found that to be the case. I'm sure you will get lots of supportive postings saying it is your home and everyone should follow your rules. While that may be true, I'd like to offer a different perspective. Personally, I absolutely HATE to remove my shoes when I go to another person's home. Really, really hate it for a variety of reasons. I have heard the ''dirt'' reason before, but this has often come from people with dogs and cats and all other sources of grime. It is a total stretch in my opinion.

However, if you really feel that the shoes of your friends/guests is cause for an issue with your back or your asthma, then you need to find a neutral, non-judgmental way of letting them know in advance. It sounds like you are assuming they should remove their shoes because of their Russian background or knowing about your asthma. That's not fair to them, they may not realize what you are thinking and feeling. So please just let them know and understand that yes, they may be put off by it and not want to come over very often. Truth be told, I do avoid the houses of friends that insist on shoe removal. I'm just not comfortable!

I believe that when people come to my house, I want my guests to be as comfortable as possible. Some guests have come over and removed their shoes as that is their norm and that is fine. Anon

Unsightly pile of shoes in shoeless house - what to do?

Aug 2011

We have a no-shoes-in-the-house policy, which my husband and I both prefer, and we are teaching our kids to follow suit. But we hate the pile of shoes and boots that accumulates near our front door! Even though we have a shoe bench (with spots for 8 pairs of shoes), we still end up with a pile and trip over them constantly. My husband has suggested that we go in and out of our back or side door, as this would be less unsightly...but this doesn't stop the problem, as we would still have a pile of shoes by those doors. I've thought about leaving them outside, but this also looks pretty ugly and then we have cold shoes (plus, would someone take them?). Does anyone have a good solution that you have found for your shoeless house? A shoeless mess

What door you take your shoes off at depends on your house--where to sit while taking them off, where is there room to put them, what door is easiest to reach. We have a laundry room with a door to the outside, but it's not convenient for everyone to get to. Our front hallway has a built-in coat nook and we had a custom built shoe rack made for it that holds 12 adult pairs but still have the same problem as you. We keep flip-flops on the porch and by the garage door so they can go on and off in a hurry. Wet rainboots usually end up in the bathroom which is near the front door. Spare pairs of slippers (''guest slippers'') are in a separate shelf near the front door. My dress shoes and my husband's are kept in boxes in our bedroom. Except for our teenage son, none of us has the shoe gene so I don't understand why we have so many, either. Maybe if you don't wear shoes in the house, you actually end up with more pairs because you have more different needs--slippers inside, regular shoes away from the house, and slip-on shoes for around the yard. Francesca

We are also a shoeless house. I struggled with piles of shoes for a long time and finally found a solution that works for us. We don't have space for a bench or a foyer to store things. I ended up going to Ikea and purchasing several shoe racks (many to choose from and fairly inexpensive). Several went in a closet to store shoes that aren't worn to often, then one went near the front door (inside the house. It holds about 12 pairs of shoes) along with a basket. We all take our shoes off outside then carry them and place them on the rack. Simple as that. The basket holds rain boots, flip flops and other shoes. The kids trained pretty quick. Now our shoes are warm and dry in the morning (vs. damp and cold from the fog). Shoeless Household

We have this same issue in our house. One thing that has helped: I got two fabric-lined baskets from Michael's and put them by the door, side by side. This is where we leave our shoes and it helps keep the area looking much neater. They are also stackable when I really want to make it look more compact. When guests come over, they either put their shoes in the baskets or on the floor nearby. Still neater than a huge pile of shoes. There are pieces of furniture designed just for this, so give that a try if you're looking for something with a bit more permanence and want to spend a bit more. Team Shoeless

We bought a shoe cabinet from one of the home catalog companies (also the airline on board catalog) for about $65. They come in white, black, and wood grain and are particle board construction. They have a door hinged at the bottom and flip open to reveal 3 shelves to slip shoes into-about 12 pair. At about 18'' high you can stack two units for 24 pairs if need be. Though not the strongest construction they last for 15 years or more with responsible use (no slamming open or closed). We have one at the back door and it has been just great. A cheaper DIY version is a cabinet from IKEA with a curtain stapled across the front. These things are common in Japan where shoes are removed at the entry to each home. no shoe house

At the entrance, we have a shoe rack for less-often-used shoes. The shoes that my husband and I use most often are lined up in front of the shoe rack, for easy on/off. The kids' shoes are thrown in a basket next to the shoe rack. --a basket makes a pile look acceptable --

We have show racks for each member of the family (in the closets) and a show rack in the entrance. Only the shoes that are used very frequently go on the front, and once in a while we tidy up the front shoe rack so it stays manageable. Works for us! EP

I bought a few cute baskets for the shoes that are in daily use - they sit next to the door where we come in, and it looks a bit better than all the loose shoes spread on the floor. The ones that are not worn frequently go in the closets elsewhere in the house. Kitty

2004 - 2008 Discussions

No Shoes in House - Logistics??

Jan 2008

I want to start a 'no outside shoes in house' routine in our home to preserve our hardwood floors (or slow the damage already done) and to reduce lead exposure to our 6-month-old. My husband has been reluctant, but is now grudgingly agreeing. Now I need some advice on logistics ... have never lived in a 'no shoes' home before.

1 - advice on a place to find decent-looking but inexpensive shoe storage for our entryway? I checked Ikea and they didn't seem to have anything. Low shelving or open or closed bench would probably work best? Other storage ideas or places to shop?

2 - So, do you keep a pair of 'inside' shoes near the door? I assume something that easily slips on/off to reduce hassle? Recommendations for inside-the-house shoe- types? We definitely don't want to use 'slippers'. My husband is a 'shoe' kinda guy. But I'm guessing something without laces will be a lot easier. And do you keep most of your 'outdoor' shoes by the entry or just a select few that you wear the most?

3 - Now, most confusing to me, the fact that we have front and back doors. Do we have a separate pair of 'outside' shoes also for the backyard? It seems like a hassle to have to go get shoes from the front of the house every time you just want to slip into the backyard for a few minutes. (or head to the back to pick up your outside shoes if that's where you last left them) If you have more than one commonly-used entrance to your home, how do you deal with the shoe-changing issue?

I don't know why this seems so complicated to me, but it does. And I want to try implementing this in as hassle-free a way as possible to improve the chances that my husband and I (and our kids in the future) will actually stick to it. Thanks for all suggestions! Shoe-Lazy

We have always been a no-shoes house. logistics: small shoe closet in hallway holds everyday shoes; other shoes are in our individual closets. Cheap sandals/shoes get left outside front door for general use and different shoes /clogs etc get left by back door. If needed, we bring back door shoes to front for use. House slippers get left in front closet or by back door. THere's a bit more clutter than a shoe wearing house, but I wouldn't have it any other way. no shoe house

We recently instituted a no shoes policy in our house. I had all the same questions you have, which led me to postpone and postpone. It seemed so many arrangements needed to be made first. Then one I day I decided just to put a sign up at the door and do it. It's a lot easier than it seems. We leave our shoes by the front door and inside the garage door (which fortunately are near each other). My slippers seem to travel around the house and sometimes I need to look for them. I am still thinking of getting a designated storage bin and maybe crocs as inside shoes. But the important thing is just to start and then your needs will become clearer. Beth G.

I grew up in a no-shoe household and when I visit my parents and my brother to this day, the no-shoe rule holds. I have to say - while I like it to protect carpets - it's a pain in the patootie. First of all, you will ALWAYS have shoe clutter. I don't care if you buy shelves, a bench or what. Shoes will pile up by the door and it always looks messy.

And even though it's your house and you can do what you want, I think it's off- putting to visitors to impose the no-shoe rule.

As for what to wear inside - yes, you'd really have to do slippers. My parents use hard rubber soled Merrell type shoes - but that's not going to protect your hardwood floors.

I just think it's more hassle than it's worth. In fact, when my parents retired, sold their house and bought a condo, they did their no-shoe thing in the complex and kept their shoes outside the door (for two people they had a TON of shoes outside the door). It was pretty inconsiderate and an eyesore, quite frankly, and they got so many complaints from one neighbor that they had to move. My mom is indignant to this day about it, but hey, at least she has a house again and can do her no-shoe thing to her heart's content. --Shoeless Joe Jackson would've LOVED my mom

I'd like to speak to a somewhat different aspect of no-shoe policies.

I have friends who do it and require guests to remove their shoes. They keep several pairs of comfy guest slippers by the front door, which is fine by me most of the time, but when I visit for a special event or dinner and have dressed up nicely I really do not want to take off my nice and carefully chosen shoes and put on funky slippers! I resent it, and figure that everybody has to clean up after such events, so what's the big deal with a little shoe debris now and then?

I have asked them if I may make an exception under those circumstances and they've somewhat begrudgingly agreed. So I've gotten what I want, but I sure wish that I didn't have to feel like I was being a bother, wish they were a bit more understanding and gracious about it. Cece

I grew up with an Asian mother and we never wore shoes in the house. I find it disgusting to think about what people are tracking into their homes and grinding into their carpets on their shoes. Today my family (including my American husband) always removes their shoes upon entering the house. To answer your questions:

1. We have a bench with cubbies underneath in the front entryway as shoe storage and also a place to sit and take off/put on shoes. I believe it was from Ikea. We keep our most often worn shoes there and the rest in the hall closet.

2. We don't use ''inside'' shoes; we just walk around in socks or barefoot. If it's cold, we wear slippers or ''slipper socks'' which have rubbery stuff on the bottom to prevent slipping (important for the kids).

3. We do have one set of ''backyard'' shoes by the back door -- flip flops, rubber rain boots, crocs -- that type of thing. Yes, sometimes you have to go back and forth to get your shoes but this generally works for us.

Some other notes -- I never ask guests to remove their shoes. Most will automatically when they see the pile of shoes by the front door but if people aren't comfortable doing this, I don't make a big deal about it. And sometimes I do wear shoes, if we are having a dinner party or something where I feel like I have to be wearing a complete ''outfit.''

One last thing -- before we were married, my husband used to have problems with athletes foot. Since we've been married and he spends more time shoeless, it's completely gone away, probably from his feet having more air to breathe. prefer to be barefoot

I grew up in a no-shoes house where we had a lot of carpeting, so we just wore socks around the house. Now I live in a house with a lot of floors (cold!), so I have taken to wearing house shoes, like my husband's family does.

We wear shoes called slides (rubber sandals with a single wide band across the foot--Adidas makes the ones we wear: http://www.shopadidas.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=2362238, but other sport shoe companies make similar things). These are ugly as sin, but they are easy to slide into and out of (the top band doesn't collapse like, say, those of broken-in Birkenstocks do), they work both with and without socks, and they provide good insulation to keep the foot warm, without getting them all stinky and sweaty.

Shoes do accumulate at the front door, but we try to keep it just to the shoes we wear most often. We have a wooden shoe rack at the front door to help organize the pile. Bed, Bath, and Beyond has lots of different shoe racks.

My husband wears his house shoes outside for short trips, i.e., to the garage or to take out the trash. I prefer to slip into other shoes, even for short trips outside, because I don't want to walk around the house in ''dirty'' shoes. I have a pair of Birkenstocks at the front door and flip-flops at the back door for this purpose.

My toddler has some house shoes as well, but mostly just wears socks, because they're too much bother. Houseshoe convert

My husband and I have a 'no shoes inside' house and it has been working very well. He is Bulgarian and it is common practice there to not wear shoes in the house. I have had some experience abroad with this as well and find that you need to few things to make it work:

1. Inside shoes (slippers or other kinds of shoes that you only wear inside--I like slippers, but something like crocs that you only wear inside would also work well). You should also provide extra pairs of slippers/indoor shoes for visitors--you can buy cheap slippers at Ikea.

2. Shoe storage near the front door--I got a low bench with 8 cubbies for shoes from Ikea--you mentioned you didn't find anything there, but I bought the bench in the 'Leksvik' series--they might not have it anymore. You can also search online for 'shoe storage' -- I found several options when I was looking for shoe storage.

3. Though it seems strange to many Americans, it is common for people in countries where they have 'no shoes inside' policies to have separate 'backyard' shoes by the back door. For us, they are crocs and plastic indoor/outdoor sandals.

It took some time for me to get used to the 'no shoes inside' policy when I first lived abroad, but I really like it now. The floors in my house are always very clean -- which is nice. I would expect a fairly long adjustment period, though, for people who are not used to it. Anne

It's a nice idea, but can be really inconvenient for all. In our house, I've always had the kids take shoes off so they could put their feet on the furniture. My kids (12 and 16) still take their shoes off and prefer barefoot. I tend to wear shoes in the house but I also wear slippers a lot. I have my muddy outside shoes by the door on the outside. I have back yard mud shoes adn front yard/dog walking shoes.

I'm sure there's a way your family can work it out, but how will you deal with guests? I used to have friends who build a beautiful house and didn't want shoes in the house. Everytime we went to visit (they lived in Woodside) I'd have to remember to bring my slippers or inside shoes...and if I forgot...I'd freeze cause I get cold feet,or my feet would hurt cause I've had Plantar Fascaitis and was supposed to always wear sturdy shoes....It was hard for other visitors to spend an evening or afternoon barefoot when they weren't expecting it.

So, I like the idea of no shoes in the house but I'm not sure it's really practical. As a visitor to a no shoes house it was kind of irritating. Good luck. comfy in shoes

Hi, I was born and raised in Japan where we do not wear shoes in the house. My house here is shoe free, and it is not difficult at all. My husband is now used to taking his shoes off as soon as he enters the door.

1. Traditionally in Japan, we have a distinct entry area(GENKAN) where everybody takes their shoes off. Typically, there are floor elevation changes at the entry in Japan, but it is not common in US. At our house, we have a door mat outside the door and a doormat inside the door. We take our shoes off at the indoor doormat, and we have a little wooden bench/ shoe rack from Ikea. I think this bench/shoe rack was not intended to use as bench/shoerack at Ikea showroom. Item name is MOLGER. It does not hold many shoes.

2. I wear slippers and my husband wares Uggs in the house. We keep our indoor shoes near the entry. I guess you can wear crogg or slip-in shoes as indoor shoes. We keep everyday shoes in the Ikea rack at the entry way. I usually keep non everyday shoes in shoe boxes in closet. I take those shoes out when I wear them and put back in the box afterward.

3. We keep separate outdoor shoes at separate doors like croggs type of shoes that slip in and out. Shoe free house definitely protects your floor as well as keeping your house much cleaner. We have a 8.5 months old baby. If we ware shoes in the house, I would be worrying about her crawling in our house.

Once you get used to your system, no shoes in house is not that complicated. I think hardest part of keeping house shoe free is guests. We usually have to ask our guest to remove their shoes. By now, most of our friends know that they should take their shoes off where we have the bench/shoe rack. Most people take their shoes off when they see the rack full of shoes. Some people need a constant reminder. We will remind them and if they need socks, I usually provide a pair of socks or extra pars of slippers. Good Luck. letsbuild

We leave our shoes at the front door. I actually invested in a really lovely Japanese tansu chest, with sliding doors and shelves inside. This hides the large shoe collection and keeps things looking neat. We keep most of our shoes near the front door, because that's where we take them off. I don't recommend a bench with storage inside or anything where the shoes will get jumbled or where the shoes are hard to see or where things could get piled on the lid. You will just get frustrated finding a matching pair or having to take shoes out. Don't be afraid to adapt furniture that wasn't designed for shoes but make sure you take measurements of your larger shoes (in inches) with you when you go shopping so you can ensure that it will work.

Having said that, kids shoes are much easier. For our son, we have a cubic basket from IKEA with a lid, and he just dumps his shoes in there when he comes home. Their shoes are smaller and they tend to have fewer pairs, so it's easy to give them their own basket or container.

You'll also need a place to sit near the front door when you are putting your shoes on.

Finally, we use nice leather slippers inside. You could probably use anything, but I would recommend making it slip on, And keep a pair of crocs or clogs by the back door for going out in the yard. Give yourselves sometime to adjust to your new system.Once you get used to it, it's easy and great for the house. rb

I live in a no-shoes house as do most of my friends. We leave our shoes at the front door and slip on Crocs for indoor wear. At night we bring our shoes up to our closets so that there aren't too many by the door. I would suggest the same for both of your doors. Keep whichever shoes you'll be wearing that day at the door in a nice basket and put them away before you go to bed. anon

Hi there, We have a shoe-free house. Our reasons aren't cultural. We just don't like the thought of what crud is outside that gets tracked into the house: pesticides, dirt, urine, feces (all the dogs that we see peeing & pooing...and every other little critter), lugeys, motor oil, fertilizer, etc. You name it. If it's on the ground, it's on your shoes.

Here's what works for us.

Our front entry way happens to have a coat closet. Inside that coat closet, we have two shoe racks. We also have a padded bench with cubby holes in our front entry way. In those cubby holes are our highest use shoes - a few pairs of sneaks for the hubby, clogs and whatnot for me. We use the padded bench to sit on while putting on or taking off our shoes. It just becomes what we do as soon as we come in. Like taking off our coat and putting it in the coat closet. Not a big deal, it becomes the habit/routine.

Also parked right there in the front entry are my 'house shoes', which are $2 flip flops. My hubby prefers to let his toes run free and is almost always barefoot inside, I like the little bit of padding that my flip flops provide. If it's a cold day/evening, we just put on fluffy socks and cruise around in those.

About back door logistics. We have a backyard and an unfinished basement, the doors to both are right next to each other in one corner of our kitchen. We have parked right by those doors a couple of pair of shoes just for that purpose - padding down to the basement, or going out into the backyard. My husband has an old pair of slip on sneaks sitting there, and I have a couple pair of flip flops.

About the rest of our shoes - heels, dress shoes for suits, fancy winter boots, etc. We keep those in our bedroom clothes closet, b/c they aren't worn that often. When the season comes around that my heeled boots are worn more often, they just become part of the collection by the front door, or inside that coat closet I mentioned. When I stop wearing them, into the bedroom closet they go. Good luck! -

I have se veral friends who don't do shoes in the house. One is Japanese and has slippers. Others make you walk around in your socks/barefoot. I hate going to their houses - and I'm not a picky person!

This is the way I see it - hospitality is about making the guests feel comfortable. I'm not comfortable without my shoes in your house - if I am, I'll take them off voluntarily, which does happen sometimes. However, I get really cold without my shoes.

Also, for women, there's more problems - if the woman is wearing stockings, are you goign to buy her a new pair when they are ruined from one little snag on the floor? The worst experience I had was when I went to a party - didn't know it was a shoes off house - and I was wering a really cute black dress and black knee high boots, but for warmth was wearing thick wool socks under the boots. Imagine how stupid I looked when asked to take my shoes off? All of a sudden my cute outfit went to ridiculous. I don't normally care about how I look, but that was a little humiliating. And many of the women who were walking around barefoot or in borrowed slippers that were way too big felt the same.

Have a shoes off policy for your own family. If you're that concerned about guests, don't have people over!! me

I wear outside shoes in my house, but I highly recommend Crocs for indoor shoes. They are absolutely wonderful, lightweight, offer some arch support, comfortable, and can slip on. I have 3 pair! http://www.crocs.com (I have either the beach or the cayman style) Julie

We have been a no-shoe household since our son was born (2 years) and found it surprisingly easier to stick to than we anticipated. Once we got into the habit of it, it just became second nature for us. My husband was reluctant at first, because he needs arch support and can't walk around in socks or barefoot like I can so he was accustomed to having his shoes on indoors. We got him a pair of slide-on indoor shoes (suede with rubber soles) with arch support and the transition was pretty easy. I think we got them from Sportsmansguide.com in their casual shoe section, but I'm sure they are easy to find anywhere. We also got him a second pair for working around the house (outdoors) and in the garage, so that he can easily swap them rather than lacing up his street shoes when he takes out the garbage for instance.

We keep the shoes we wear most by the door, (in winter, our rain boots and summer, sandals, etc). Because my son and I are the most frequent users of the back door, I keep one pair of his sneakers and my gardening shoes back there. Things don't always stay put, but for the most part, our system seems to work.

We never found an ideal storage method, mainly because I wanted to keep things simple and not start amassing our entire shoe collection by the front door. I just keep the shoes neatly lined in the entryway and that seems to work for us.

Also, we found that cleaning the floors got much easier once we switched to a no-shoe household. --no-more tracking in the dirt Anon

I recommend clogs as house and garden shoes. Dansko makes very comfortable clogs that are comfy for women and men, don't at all look like slippers, and are easy to slip on and off. Another option is Ugg shoes or boots. We generally have a no shoes policy, especially upstairs in bedrooms, and wear clogs around the house and yard. I find the biggest challenge is when visitors come over since I don't want to make them feel they need to take off their shoes. A friend once had a sign on her door that said ''welcome to our shoe-free house'' - I thought that sent the message in a nice way. Clog lover

You got lots of good logistical advice about how to manage your no shoes policy. I just wanted to write in and give support to the idea (given all the naysayers who also wrote in). It can take some time to get used to, and I also used to feel slight irritation when I went to a no shoes household, but now I wouldn't have it any other way. Someone wrote, ''who cares about a little shoe debris?'' Well, it's more than a little shoe debris. Think about what you walk on -- it's a lot more than dirt -- animal urine and feces, loogies, spit, pesticide run off from lawns, molds, etc., etc. Tracking that into your house is really gross, especially if you have a crawling child!

Follow up re no-shoe policy and guests. With regard to several comments that it is inconsiderate for guests -- we have not found that at all to be the case. We started our no-shoe policy when our baby was born, and we simply explained that we were preparing for a crawling baby and everyone understood and were more than happy to accommodate. But then we noticed that enough people are accustomed to it and no one seemed to mind -- we rarely have to tell anyone, they just see the shoes by the door and understand it's a no shoe house.

On rare occasions when we have a large party with many guests we make an exception to the policy since our son is no longer crawling on floor and it's just one evening.

I lived in Canada once, where it was rude to track in mud to people's homes, and the practice is becoming more and more common here. It hasn't been a big deal for our guests, and on cold days, I always offer warm socks or slippers as well. - no more tracking in the dirt... Anon

One quick addition to the many replies on this topic: we have a shoe basket for everyone to keep one or two pairs of their most often-used shoes by the front door. Even in my usually messy house, the basket works really well because it's so easy to just throw the shoes in. Dress shoes stay in closets. Guests are never asked to go shoeless. Love my slippers

My kids and I don't do shoes in the house, but my husband does. I do like that it keeps things cleaner, but mostly, we just find it more comfortable. Most of our friends have shoe free houses as well. None of us do ''house shoes,'' we all walk around in our socks or tights when it's cold, bare feet when it's warm. Socks and bare feet for me!

You got a lot of good advice already, but I didn't see anyone address this issue directly. A ''no shoes in the house'' rule does not have to be absolute. We prefer not to have shoes in our house, but we don't enforce it for guests in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Only if guests want to go upstairs to the bedrooms do we ask them to leave their shoes at the bottom of the stairs. Remember, you are trying to minimize wear and tear and exposure to dirt, not keep every speck of some toxic poison out of your house. 90% of the time it is just us in the house, so we are not too concerned if guests occasionally keep their shoes on. Or if one of us runs back in the house to get something, we don't take off our shoes.

In our family, I (mom) am the only one who prefers to wear slippers. My husband and kids just wear socks or go barefoot. We have slippers available for guests, but even those who take off their shoes never use them (except maybe my mother). I would not bother with them. We keep our shoes in a storage unit we got from IKEA it is about 30'' wide and high and about 15'' deep. It also has a door you can put on it to hide the cluttered look of a lot of shoes. We each keep about 4 or 5 pairs of shoes in it, but there are still boots and such on the floor. (Although you probably wouldn't be wearing them in the house anyway.) The benefit of having a cupboard that high is that we can also use it for keeping a basket for keys & wallets, etc. and a box for mail. We also have a couple chairs next to it so one can sit to put on shoes. We also keep a couple pairs of garden shoes by the back door.

So, in short I would recommend a moderate approach: no shoes in the house most of the time, definitely no shoes in the bedrooms (if you are mainly trying to minimize dirt where the baby plays on the floor), cut your guests some slack if they don't want to take off their shoes and try to make them feel comfortable and welcome regardless. What to wear changes with the weather, but definitely slip-ons such as clogs, flip flops, crocs, or slippers. Or designated ''house shoes.'' --Good luck & don't be too absolute about it

Aside from cultural reasons, not wearing shoes inside the house has health and other benefits as well. There are studies showing that lead and other contaminants are brought inside the house on shoes and boots. This is why workers in industries that use lead and other toxic substances are advised to take their shoes off before they enter their homes. This is especially a concern if you have carpets, where contaminants can get trapped. If you have young children (who put everything in their mouths), they will get a higher dose of these potentially toxic substances. And the benefits of no shoes extend to wood floors as well: our contractor told us that not wearing shoes in the house will prolong the life and beauty of hardwood floors. Having to take your shoes off at someone's house when you are all dressed up may take some getting used-to. I've had guests who ignored our no-shoes rule because their shoes were part of their outfit. If you know you will be going to a no-shoes house, dress accordingly. This practice is becoming more common in the Bay Area. The benefits far outweigh fashion concerns. no shoes for many reasons

Sorry, I didn't see the original question, but I have to agree with someone else who said to institute it for your own family, but not to force visitors to do so. I have toe issues and have been very embarrassed to be forced to remove my shoes in someone's home. I think it can be unkind and rude.

I've been in a number of homes with dogs and cats with a no shoe policy and don't understand the contradiction between dirt on shoe soles being horrifying to the homeowner, but the dirt that comes in on dogs' and cats' feet as well as their abundant fur everywhere being okay.

I've also been in no shoe houses where cats are allowed to use the litter box and then walk all over the countertops and tables. And this is okay. And in dirty homes with no shoe policies where my socks are dirtier when I leave then when I came in! Doesn't make any sense to me at all. I'd say really think it through. Let Visitors Keep Their Shoes On

I am from Canada and I ALWAYS ask people to take their shoes off. I have been to and had numerous large parties back home where everyone took their shoes off and left them at the door. In response to the person who thought it was rude to be asked to take off her shoes, I can see how cultural differences can lead people to have very different feelings on the matter, but my feeling is that when someone enters my home, they are in a sense entering my country and should be willing to be understanding of my culture. Would you think it was rude for a Japanese person to ask you to take your shoes off? Despite the cultural norms of a society at large, the home is a very personal space and if people can not respect your feelings about how you behave in your own home, they don't need to be there. I think this is an especially good practice when you have carpets. Look at the sidewalk that you walk on someday and ask yourself if you really want your baby crawling on that. Notably, I also believe that letting animals walk on counters and tables is extremely disgusting. As far as my cat goes, she walks around outside on the grass and has small paws that don't pick up as much mud as treads would, so I don't feel like she tracks in as much dirt as shoes do. That being said, I have found that in the States, because many people are not prepared to take off their shoes, it is useful to have a few pairs of cheap slippers for them to wear. anon

Is no shoes indoors sensible or unreasonable?

June 2005

I prefer that my husband and daughter and I take our shoes off when we come in the house. We live in an urban area, and we all do a fair amount of walking. As someone who's fond of sitting/sprawling on the floor, I think it's a good way to keep unnecessary dirt off the carpets and floors. I also think it keeps down the expense of shampooing carpets or having them shampooed.

My husband has never liked doing this--apparently a combination of his disagreeing with me and also not wanting to be told what to do in his home--and my teenage daughter is now starting to rebel. I'm not persnickety about it; I don't yell or comment when my daughter occasionally runs around with her shoes on. I have offered a compromise: just keep our shoes off upstairs where the bedrooms are, but they are still reluctant to do so.

Both my husband and daughter claim that the carpets are perfectly clean. The upstairs carpeting hasn't been professionally (or otherwise) cleaned since we moved in 9 years ago, and we also have one dog and two cats!

Any perspective on this? Does anyone else agree that it makes sense to take outdoor shoes off while indoors, or am I being unreasonable? Any advice that might add to everyone's contentment? Anonymous

Ask your family to think about what's really on the sidewalks outside, and whether they want the same stuff on their bedroom carpets, or on floors/carpets where people sit. We have been shoes-off for many years, and then when our children started crawling, it made even more sense. Would buying some nice comfy slippers inspire them to take their shoes off? anon

You are not crazy. People have been taking off their shoes before entering the house for centuries all over Asia! The vast majority of my friends and family (mostly Asian, but many not) also do this -- even when guests are over. It is cleaner AND more comfortable. Keep trying! No shoes in our house

Although it is an annoyance to some, I insist that family members and kid friends take off their shoes when entering my house. Yes, there's lots of junk that you walk on out there, and bringing all that dirt in is unnecessary. Taking your shoes off makes a HUGE difference to the amount of dirt that is on the floors and carpets (the carpets just hide it much better.) I, too, have to remind my husband occasionally, and maybe he's irritated, but hey, he doesn't clean! I don't insist that visitors do it, but many do offer, even tradespeople, before entering my home, when they see the stack of shoes outside. Other people I know put out a polite sign asking people to take off their shoes. I think your daughter and husband should respect your wishes, because it's not that big a deal and it really makes a difference. BTW, if you are the one who cleans, I think you have an absolute right to insist! anon

Boy, can I relate to this - it's a pet peeve! I'm from Canada and have British parents. We always took off our shoes at the door of our own home as well as other's homes. When I first moved here I couldn't understand why people kept their shoes on in the house. It seemed like such a dirty habit. Also, I noticed how trashed most people's carpets were and wondered why they even HAD carpets, they collect so much dirt.

I have since come to the conclusion that many people don't notice how trashed their carpets are, or at least don't narrow down the culprit to the filth they track in on the bottom of their shoes.

My husband is American and never took off his shoes in the house until fairly recently. I have always taken off my shoes even when he didn't.

A combination of things seems to have made him more likely to take his shoes of now. They are 1) I bought him some mocassin- type slippers, 2) We had children and I pointed out that if he didn't take his shoes off, then the kids would not take their's off either and they would not be so particular about what was on the bottom (mud, gum, etc). 3) I said I didn't mind him (and the kids) keeping their shoes on if we replaced all our carpet with hardwood which we could all take turns sweeping and washing. The cost of doing this seemed to freak him out. Seems like the combination of those three things (and consistent repitition) have made him more likely to take his shoes off most days.

My friend installed new carpets and a small, but obvious sign by the front door asking people to please remove their shoes. Also, I notice that when you take your shoes off in your own home and there are some pairs by the door, others are more likely to do the same. Keep trying - Let's start a shoes-off revolution. Good luck! Not a neat freak

I don't have any suggestions for encouraging your family to take their shoes off, but I do have a different perspective.

Personally, I take my shoes off inside because I prefer to be barefoot. I've never really believed the idea that shoes-off keeps the house cleaner because I don't think our shoes get that dirty in an urban setting. It would be different in a rural setting where we're walking in the dirt and mud all the time.

I would say there have been times at other shoes-off places when I wanted to keep my shoes on because I was afraid my feet were smelly. Could that be the case with your family? Perhaps they prefer to wear shoes and not walk around in socks or barefoot. Perhaps if you got your carpets professionally cleaned, your family would be more inclined to keep them clean by taking off their shoes. Just some ideas . . . Barefoot in the house

We do this at our home. It took a little getting used to but we do this in our culture and persistence paid in my case. I find many of my non-Indian or non-Asian friends who have carpeted homes doing the same. May be you can agree on a place near the stairs where you swap ''outside'' footwear for ''inside'' footwear. Good luck! likes clean floors

Supposedly 80% of the dirt in a house is tracked in by shoes (at least according to a recent issue of Parenting magazine), so there is some validity to taking your shoes off. Get shoes that slip on and off easily. Having to tie/untie your shoes every single time you go in and out is a pain. Keep some slippers or something by the front door so if you need to run out to the car (for example) you can just slip on the slippers quickly. If you haven't cleaned any carpets, then no one really knows how dirty they are. Get them cleaned and show everyone the dirty residue. That might be enlightening. Offer a trade-off. For example, if people don't take off their shoes, then they have to vacuum/sweep every week. If they do, then it's just once a month. The upstairs/downstairs thing is kind of irrelvant since you might want to run upstairs for just a momont, then come back down and to have to take your shoes on/off every time is a pain. Much easier to do at the front door.

I hate walking around without shoes on - it is uncomfortable, even painful, for my feet. I found a pair of soft cloglike slippers - they don't clonk, but they are hard, and they are super comfortable and easy to slip on. I also like flip flops but the flip-flopping noise bugs me. If your daughter and husband don't like the feel of walking around barefoot or in socks, they might like slippers or flip flops. I still haven't figured out what to do at friends' houses - I guess I should start bringing my slippers. (People with hardwood floors often don't want you to keep your shoes on either -- and that REALLY hurts my feet.) By the way, I got my carpets cleaned recently by Heaven's Best cleaners. They have a water only cleaning method and it is AMAZING. I could not believe how much better the carpets looked and it only cost a little over $200 for four large bedrooms, a hallway and stairs. Fran

I bet you'll get a lot of responses from Asian families! :-) Growing up, I was taught never to use shoes in the house (we had special house slippers for indoor use) and everyone who visited my parents respected that. Needless to say, we are Asian and so were my parents' friends, so it was an easy ''rule'' to follow. Now that we have a toddler in the home, my husband and I follow the same rule and have placed a sign next to the doorbell to remind people. No one has questioned it.

It's much cleaner for your home to keep your outdoor shoes outdoors. It may take some time to make it into a habit of taking ones's shoes off, though. but perhaps you can get ''house slippers'' for your daughter and husband. Maybe they won't feel so naked. anon

If your family is uncomfortable taking off shoes inside of the house and if they don't like slippers, why don't you buy ''indoor shoes'' for them, the shoes used only inside, just like shoes only used out side. This way they can still keep their ''shoes'' on, but in a sense they act like indoor slippers.

We take off our shoes just because we are from Japan. We bought a nice, large wooden storage by our entrance door, and leave our shoes in it as soon as we come in. Simply having a place to put shoes when entering may help develop habit to take off shoes. Mika

We take our shoes off at the door and switch to slippers or just our socks. Mostly we find it more comfortable, but we also think it is cleaner. (We offer slippers to our guests, but don't insist they take off their shoes.) I sympathize with your desire to get everyone to do it. It is too bad that they don't want to. I don't think you will be able to convince anyone using logic and arguments. I would talk to your husband about why he doesn't want to do it, and find out if there is any way he would be willing to do it simply as a favor to you, an easy way to make you more happy. Then I would make it as easy as possible with a shoe shelf by the front door and easy slip-on slippers for everyone. If he agrees to do it, it can become a habit relatively quickly just something one does without thinking about it. Good luck! --slipper-wearing family

I almost posted this originally and then didn't - but now seeing the plethora of responses on the other side of the argument, I have to add my two cents.

I hate (hate, hate, hate!) being asked to take off my shoes. Sure, I take my shoes off often enough in my own house, but I do not like being required to do so. I feel undressed. And I don't like walking around someone else's house barefoot (sure, your carpets which have never known shoes are probably cleaner than mine, but it gives me the willies). I especially don't like being offered slippers at someone else's house... as if wearing shoes worn by countless others is supposed to make me feel better about having to take off my own!

I understand your logical reasons for asking people to remove their shoes, but from my perspective dirt and such is just a fact of life. Yes, you are going to have to clean your carpets.

But more importantly, I just don't think this is a logical issue. It comes down to the fact that I don't feel totally comfortable walking around outside my own home without my shoes on, and I resent the idea that someone is asking me to take off some of my clothes. Sarah

You have had many posts on this but i didn't see one that is great especially in the winter. We live on a ranch and my husband is a farmer so shoes off are automatic...but for those who come with hard to take off boots or the older crowd I have the slippers that you slide your shoe in and shuffle around the house in. The one i have now is called ''drywalker'' i think there is also one called ''shuffler''. If they are at the entry way and you point them out...i use them especially in winter out here when my shoes are muddy and i needed to come in for only a minute...we also have a cute basket by the front door with all our easy-to-slip-on-shoes in and people get the idea... Sara

It's not a cleanliness issue, it's a health issue. Wearing shoes indoors allows people to track lead, pesticides, and other toxins into the house, where they sit on carpet fibers or become part of the house dust that you breathe. in addition, it's disgusting. Tell your family members to think of all the disgusting things they see on the street -- dog poo, lugeys, etc. That's what you walk over in your shoes, and that's what you track into your house if you keep them on. Ew! nelly

Here's an idea, if all else fails - if anyone in your family insists on wearing shoes indoors, try having them purchase a pair of ''indoor shoes'' - shoes that never leave the house. Once they get used to changing shoes at the door, they may be willing to try slippers. edwin

2003 & Earlier

Guest etiquette for no shoes policy

March 2003

We are about to move to a new home and are interested in starting a ''no shoes in the house'' policy. For those of you who practice this custom in your home, could you please advise about:
(a) how to tactfully ask guests to remove their shoes,
(b) how to sensibly provide things like houseslippers for those who chill easily or are self-conscious about their feet (what size do you get? how many pairs? what kind?),
(c) how to avoid shoe clutter at your entryway(s), and
(d) how to deal with multiple entries?
Thanks! lani

Hi-- We do this in my house and it has been pretty simple. There are three pairs of ''house shoes'' at the front door. Two in the garage and two out back (I say house shoes, but they are really just modified flip flops). We bought ours for a buck a pair in china town and they are generic enough in size to fit size 5 to probably size 10.

When we were in Maui last we bought a sign that says ''Please remove your slippers before entering. Mahalo''. It is ceramic and quite lovely, complete with gecko. :) It does the trick--most people when they see you barefooted at the door will get the message quickly and take their shoes off anyway.

As for shoe clutter...doesn't happen. We carry our shoes to the bedroom and put them away. Guests shoes are lined up behind the front door in the foyer.

Hope this helps! deniene-

(a) how to tactfully ask guests to remove their shoes: well, maybe I'm not so tactful, but for folks who are visiting our home for the home for the first time I say things like, ''Come on in. We're a no shoe house. You can leave your shoes here. There's a basket of slippers if you'd like... Now we live in Wisconsin and the winter floors can be chilly. Some of our friends who know our policy prefer to bring their own slippers.

(b) how to sensibly provide things like houseslippers for those who chill easily or are self-conscious about their feet : When we were still in Oakland, we went to China town and got those black cotton slippers: 2 women's pairs and 2 men's (about the equivalent of women's 7 and 9 and men's 10 and 12)Since then we've collected more winter slippers. When I find them on sale for cheap I get them. The above size ranges seem to work; with slippers you can wear a slightly bigger size if need be.

(c) how to avoid shoe clutter at your entryway(s): We enter through the mudroom, where we have a tray for shoes currently being worn (we try for no more than one pair per family member). If the shoes are dry we put them in the mud room closet where we have shoe shelves as well as one of those over the door shoe pocket things. The remainder of our shoes live in here too. Before we had a mud room we had a shoe shelf in the foyer. Out of season shoes got stored in the bedroom closet. Hold Everything makes something that looks kind of like a dresser with hiden shoe shelves. When we have a party, the foyer looks like a shoe department!

(d) how to deal with multiple entries: We make an ocassional trip in with shoes. If someone is holding a baby and needs to go back for a forgotten item, if the shoes are not slip on, we usually leave them on. I think Plough and Hearth makes slipper like things you put on over your slippers. You could put these on while lugging in groceries and slip them off and on easily enough, but we've gotten used to just taking off our shoes. We've had a no shoe house for a long time and love it. Hope this helps. susan

If I go casually (dropping by or 'just us folks', etc.) to a friend's no-shoe house, and they provide clean socks (if winter) and decent slippers or zories, and they let me leave my shoes inside- I'm fine with it.

But, if I go to an event such as a party or holiday dinner, and have dressed up nicely, I really resent having to take off my nice looking clean shoes and put on schleppy slippers. I feel deprived of looking my best and it strikes me as inconsiderate.

You always have to clean up after an event anyway, and a few sets of shod feet won't make or break a nice floor or carpet (especially compared to spilled food and drink), so what's the big deal!? anon

I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, and we were never allowed to wear shoes in our house or anyone eles's. It was considered rude to wear your shoes inside the house. To this day, I still follow this rule. I post a pretty sign outside our door saying, ''please remove your shoes upon entering''. If someone misses it, I politely request them to remove their shoes. I have beautiful oriental rugs which shoes and/or dirt from shoes would ruin, and I'm able to keep a cleaner home with the no shoes policy. For some reason, shoes inside the house gross me out! Maya

I find it unfortable when people request I remove my shoes before entering their house. Socks or slippers don't provide the same amount of support as shoes, especially those worn with orthotics. But it's equally unconfortable to request an exception. Anon

We have a no-shoes policy in our house, but decided not to ''enforce'' it with guests. After all, we are the ones most frequently tracking dirt in, since we live here. However, most guests seem to take the hint from the lined up shoes, and automatically take their shoes off. If they don't, we do not ask them to. anon