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Shoes Off

December 9, 2001

It would appear that a 'shoes off' policy is global.

I live in Yorkshire, England and I have a strict shoes off policy in my home. I do not allow any visitors whether they are family, friends or tradesmen e.g.repairmen, phone installers etc. to wear shoes in my home.

I have no problem with telling visitors to take their shoes off, I even provide slippers in various sizes for visitors who do not like being in stocking feet or are embarrassed in case they have foot odour!!!

I have had to work very hard to carpet and furnish my home so it is logical not to allow shoes to be worn indoors.

Why does anyone need to wear shoes indoors?

Many of my family and friends also have a 'no shoes' policy in their homes, it appears to be an increasing trend particularly among the under fifties and is probably due to the popularity of plain light coloured carpets and polished wood flooring.

I am an electrical contractor and lighting designer and when I visit a prospective customers home to survey and quote for work I take my shoes off, which shows customer care, this creates a good impression with the prospective customer which makes them more likely to offer me the work than another contractor who has trampled into their home in dirty shoes.

If I am working in an area of a customers home that is carpeted or has a polished wood floor I will usually work in my socks or wear slippers. Obviously this is not always practical such as when working in roof or under-floor voids.

All companies should instruct their employees to take their boots/shoes off when visiting or working in peoples homes, for example there is no need for a salesman to wear shoes when visiting a customers home, or for a service engineer, appliance repairman, interior decorator etc. to wear shoes when in someones home.

To a customer it is often bad enough having a stranger in their home, even worse is when they trample around their home in dirty boots or shoes!!!!

I would be very interested to know if there are any companies who do instruct their employees to remove their shoes, or who provide their employees with slippers.!

Comments (122)

  • prairie_girl

    Wow! What a hot topic. I'm from western Canada, but have been to friends and relatives houses all over the country. I have never worn my shoes indoors, and everyone removes their shoes when they come to my house. I have had many parties and get-togethers, and I have never had to ask anyone to remove their shoes. It is commonplace here, and as far as I knew...everyone does it. Apparently I'm wrong after reading chase and Ann's posts. My dog and my cat do not wear booties. I wipe their feet after they come inside. I don't think there is anything wrong with this, and I certainly don't find it tacky or a sign of one's level of class.

    The only time shoes are permitted indoors are if you're breaking them in, and have never been worn outside before. just have to run in quickly to grab something. This is only to be done if no one else is there to see it.

  • lindac

    Do you mean to say that you have a dressy party....with men in suits and women in cocktail outfits......AND everyone takes their shoes off at the door??????
    Do you invite a bunch of people to a wedding shower, with champagne, candles a hired bartender a table set with your best china and silver.....AND you expect people to remove their shoes? Do you have 12 women for luncheon and an afternoon of cards....AND they all remove their shoes at the door???
    I really can't believe that!
    Linda C

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  • trekaren

    Holy Cow! We agree!

    (was that a pig that just flew by the window?)

  • prairie_girl


    It's not what I expect that matters, it's the way things are here. I can't say that I have had a cocktail party with suits and cocktail dresses myself, but I have been to some, and yes people remove their shoes. If I have a luncheon, dinner party, etc. the guests remove their shoes. Like I said, it is just what is done. I've never had to ask anyone to remove their shoes, and if they were truly part of the outfit, I probably wouldn't. I don't think this should be so upsetting to people, I'm not upset that you wear shoes in your homes. I went with a friend to visit family in California a couple of years ago, and we had no problem keeping our shoes on. It just doesn't seem like an issue for people to get so riled up about. I think it's just weird that people's opinions on this are so varied.

  • ann_t

    Prarie Girl,

    I agree that it certainly isn't something to get riled about. But.........I also think that one shouldn't make blanket statements like "it is just what is done". I too have been in many homes between Newfoundland and British Columbia and I have never once been asked to remove my shoes in a persons home. I have been the guest in a number of homes in Calgary without this ever happening. Having lived in the US as well, I can also make the statement that I have never been asked to remove my shoes any where in the US either. The fact that your experience with the people that you associate with do require the removal of shoes is fine, but please do make it sound like it it written in stone somewhere that all Canadians remove their shoes in homes. It is just "not so."


  • Jillis

    Wow. I have 2 friends who ask me to take off my shoes, and I do not mind! I would love for SOME people to take off their shoes in my house. I would NEVER request it at a party! My kids must, if staying in, remove their shoes, because they put their feet on everything. My 2 friends who request it...they ARE control of them jumps all over you if you don't use one of her kid's FULL names...but the friendship is worth it so I don't sweat it. I live in NORTHERN Vermont, so in winter, all muddy, snowy foot gear must be removed at the door. There are some who don't, and I do mention it if they are tracking in! I do so nicely, however. For me, obviously, it is situational. I kind of agree that we make an investment in our furnishings and should protect them as far as is REASONABLE, but that you can get a little TOO MUCH---home's are meant for living in, and you don't want to make an idol out of a carpet...
    Interesting thread...

  • trekaren

    Jillis, removing muddy shoes on a slushy snowy day is a bit different than asking all who enter your home to take off their dress shoes.

    My pest control guy and others who have jobs that track dirt, actually bring two pairs of shoes; one for outdoor, and then they change into their indoor-only shoes before entering the house.

    My house is even worse than most I have lived in previously. But there are worse things to worry about than shoe-wearing guests. All my other homes had entrances that came into a foyer, or the kitchen. This flooring was usually vinyl, parquet or some other non-carpet surface.

    This house has two entrances. One into the living room (carpeted) where guests usually enter, and the other into the basement. So for example, when I come home with groceries, I carry them from the garage, into the carpeted basement, up carpeted stairs, thru the carpeted living room, and finally into the kitchen. It would not be feasible to carry groceries from garage into the basement, remove my sneakers, continue to the kitchen and stow bags, go back down, put shoes back on, get next load, take shoes off, etc etc. What I really want is hardwoods in my living room. I'm saving up for it as we speak!!!

  • Cindy_Mac

    Karen, Even if you weren't a Trekkie, your name would still be appropriate ... that's a lot of trekking through the house.

  • Cooker

    Wow, I cant believe I read all these!
    Well I guess this is the entertainment forum for a reason. My two cents - I like to take off my shoes to relax at home but would not expect others too. Germs, haha I aint afraid of no stinking germs, heck I can drop something on my shoe house floor and unless it sticks I can still eat it if I want. I am still living, and very rarely get sick. Does anyone eat at a restaurant at all..I have worked at a few and if you could only see what happens behind the closed door, foot traffic wouldnt bother you at all. But I am no pig either- if my shoes are muddy, wet, or dirty I will remove them at my house and if its your house I will tell you I better not come in my shoes are dirty. If you are a friend and I am to stay I will gladly remove my shoes. But if you asked me to remove my shoes everytime I came over then I probably would come over less and less. Dont get me wrong, I would take shoes off most of the time in my house once I am in to stay but frequently go in/out so most of the time they stay on. By the way my carpet is 8 years old and still looks great.

  • avajo

    Well, I just can't believe I sat here and read this whole thing instead of doing something constructive!Since I've already wasted my time I'm gonna go ahead and put my two cents worth in so here goes.....I take my shoes off when I'm at home and I am neither a hick or a snob-but prehaps somewhere in between!I do it because I am more comfortable that way and I love the way my clean soft carpet feels on my barefeet. People that come to my house can leave their shoes on or they can take them off-doesn't matter to me. at someone elses house it would not offend me to be asked to take my shoes off or to leave them on..I just don't care.I'm easy.Everyone that I know has enough sense of their own to take them off if they are muddy,etc. I have six boys.Four of them are grown and now I ahve a 2 year old and a 1 year old and none of them have ever gotten sick from a little dirt. I agree that what is on the bottoms of peoples shoes is nastier than their feet but I am careful with my carpets and they still look new (even though I wouldn't want to eat off of them rather people wore shoes or not) We also have a dog, and we just keep him clean and keep our floors clean and I don't worry about what I can't see. (I spray lysol on them about once a week) My babies play on the floor and the carpet and with the dog and they have never been sick except for earache. I think that having a pet and learning to be cosiderate of peoples feelings are more important to their growing minds than being paranoid. They have respect for the carpets (knowing that they can only eat in their highchairs,etc) I guess what I am trying to say is I keep my floors as clean as I can and I take very good care of my house and children(I have been to some homes where I would never put my children on the floor to play or want to walk barefoot on it) Thats the best I can do and I save my brain for worrying about more important things.

  • BeverlyAL

    I love to wear socks only in the house but due to a foot problem I have to wear heels all of the time. I agree that to keep the carpet clean you cannot wear shoes in the house however, under no circumstances would I ever ask a guest to remove their shoes before entering my home. I would never return to someone's house who did that to me either even though I do remove my shoes when entering some of my friends homes. Which is more important - your family and friends, which money can't buy or a carpet which can be replaced?

  • LouiseZ3AB

    Just my 2 cents - I'm another Canadian who has never seen anyone not take off their shoes in someone else's home unless specifically told to leave them on (for instance - at the cabin). Any home I've been in it is just expected. That said, I wouldn't ask someone to remove their shoes unless it was a child who might need to be reminded. But that said, if someone did leave shoes on I would consider it to be very rude and an insult. My husband and I also have seen American TV shoes with the actors putting their shoes up on a couch or worse - a bed - and can't believe it. Around here it's just good manners to remove your footwear.

  • mitchdesj

    I can't believe this thread has been revived, possibly with the colder weather.... I agree that not ALL canadians have the shoes off policy, I certainly don't in this house.....
    It's too easy to slip and slide wearing stockings only....
    It's mostly adults who visit us and we go according to the weather.... very muddy and snowy, shoes off, but then people usually wear boots that have to go off anyway.
    I have a carpet at the door for people to wipe their feet on.
    I wouldn't appreciate visiting someone and be nicely dressed and have to trek on my stockinged feet....
    I have stone floors on my main level so it would be uncomfortable for anyone to walk on stockinged feet.....

  • SAG1

    Most people automatically do in my house. I wonder if women are more resentful of this issue than men, having to remove shoes. It seems lately in the U.S. the women have the high heels, but the men don't. A subconscious power issue?

  • colleenoz

    Here in very casual Australia, asking a visitor to remove their shoes would earn you a blank stare in most places. Even though I wander around my own home sans shoes, I would be surprised if a visitor removed his/hers, and I certainly would be unlikely to take mine off somewhere else unless I was visiting a very close friend or family member. Obviously if my footwear was dirty due to poor weather etc or if I'd just walked through a farmyard I'd take it off before going into a home.
    If shoe removing were a condition of entry, I don't think I'd bother visiting again. I think it's wierd to value floor coverings over people.

  • trekaren

    LATELY the women have the high heels and the men don't???

    Ok, when did men have them and women didn't?

    Even when men wore platform shoes, so did the women.

    Whats the high heel point anyway?

    Ok first it was a U.S. - Canada thing. Now it's a women men issue? Huh?

  • eYEm4U2nV

    After giving what these respondents have said deep thought, i have came to the conclusion that not everyone is willing to let their feet breath someone else's air, but they ARE willing to cost you lots of damage to your carpet and wooded floors. i find that for many it is easier to get around without shoes.

    maybe the problem with inviting guests over is that they don't know ahead of time to take their shoes off. i'd suggest a notation at the bottom of an invitation announcing this news and informing them of what they CAN wear. " Sorry, no shoes. The house will be warm and you can bring slippers or holiday socks. thank you."

    If not having a party, just make sure that people know ahead of time. i love to take off my shoes...but not if i've been wearing them all day long and my feet smell really bad. then my parents will take me to a friend (of theirs) house and i am expected to take off my shoes. that is the worst part.

    People should get over it though because there are even restaurants now that you MUST take off your shoes to enter...there are holding places for them though. Hope i helped in any way. : : : : [ s t a r g a z e r ] : : : :

  • ReneeKY

    Come to think of it, at our last house most people did remove their shoes. We never asked anyone to do so, but I guess they took one look at that carpet (off white) and just did it. We didn't care either way, but I don't wear shoes in the house and DH wears slippers. I guess from their viewpoint, they saw us barefoot or in slippers, saw the cream carpet and just made their own decision. Frankly, that carpet was gorgeous but a $%(@*&$% to keep clean, so I was happy enough that most people did remove their shoes. (Note to self -- NEVER again, no matter how nice it looks or feels, get a carpet that color!)

    If I were going to be a stickler and require it, I would put a shelf for shoes by the door and have a basket of soft, washable slippers or socks for people.

  • michie1

    I too tend to wear slippers from the moment I get home, but I too would NEVER visit anyone who suggested I remove my shoes when going to visit. It's downright rude! I suggest either better start cleaning or get darker carpeting.

    As far as getting workers to take off your shoes that's so offensive I can't even think you don't even think so. My husband is a plumbing contractor. He has worked in Japanese homes where they prefer you remove your shoes. Out of coutesy my husband has, even though he & I both think it's a ridiculous request. He has though on occassion refused to do so b/c he does work with heavy equipment & electrical machinery & has to lift tubs & appliances & the shoes offer foot protection.

    You must have a very lonely house with not many visitors!

  • alexmisc

    LOL This thread is hilarious! Do people actually stop being friends because they were asked for shoes to be taken off?

    I would certainly respect the homeowner's request if asked politely and ESPECIALLY if it is a cultural custom.

  • Lars

    I just found this thread - I guess it's almost a year old by now!! I can't remember what everyone has said because the comments ran the gamut. However, IMO, floors are made to be walked on without having to think about it, unless there is an unusual weather condition that creates a problem with mud. No one wants mud tracked into their house, but unless you are in Japan (or another country with similar customs), people should feel free to walk in without having their feet examined.

    Personally, I have a hard enough time getting service people to come inside my house at all, and I would never think of jeopardizing that by asking them to remove their shoes--unless I were expecting them to remove a bit more as well, which I'm not, but you get the point. I track dirt in and out of my house many times every day, and then I sweep it up every couple of days. If you have a crawling infant, it is a different story, but that is a special case and not appropriate for every day living. I hate sterile interiors. Man used to live in caves with dirt floors, and we survived. Take a trip to Africa or South America and visit some remote villages.

    My BIL's first wife was Japanese, and he always takes shoes off at the door, but I don't when I visit his house because I don't have slippers, and it is not my custom to remove shoes at the door. I don't remove shoes when I enter an office or a store or a restaurant, which would actually be illegal! IMO, the guest should ask whether he should be allowed to remove his shoes rather than be required to. If your floors can't handle street shoes, you need to have your floors redone. There are some excellent new wooden floor materials that resist all scratches. Personally, I don't like carpet, as it collects dust and affect my allergies.

    If a homeowner asks me to remove my shoes, I remove myself instead, unless I have been forewarned. This is not something you should spring on any unsuspecting visitor, including servicepeople. If their feet are sometimes muddy, then you should install a faucet at the front door and hose them off before they enter.


  • lindac

    ( clap clap clap!) Well said Lars!
    Linda C

  • ann_t

    Linda, Lars, you are welcome in my house any time with your shoes. LOL


  • ReneeKY

    Hey, Lars, if you're hosing off servicemen at your front door, that might explain why you can't get them to come to the house anymore. :)

    You're also welcome in my house, with shoues or without, anytime.

    Alexmisc - yep, you better believe it. I've known friends to stop speaking over some of the most inconsequential things imaginable. I can only theorize that there's other issues and they are looking for an excuse to end the "friendship" anyway.

  • Cindy_Mac

    I've said it before, I'll say it again ... I'd love to live in a house where no one wore shoes, but that's totally unrealistic.

    I like the fact that we leave our shoes at the door of my yoga class, but that's really more a symbolic measure than anything. It's just another attempt to leave the "outside" world behind.

  • SAG1

    Yes, in some ways this is a man/woman issue. Which gender has more problems with the shoes off policy? The women.

  • trekaren

    And someone else said Canadians had a problem with it. There's no way to generalize. In this thread, there are examples of both women and men on both sides of the issue.

    The workers who come into my home, on their own, have two pair of shoes, one for dirty outside work, and one they change into to come inside and do work. I don't ask, they volunteer, and I'm always impressed when they do. But I'd personally rather not have them barefoot. Don't know that that would be any more cleanly, after a hard day's work.

  • mitchdesj

    I would certainly not want to walk around in someone's house, as a guest, in my stockinged feet, how ridiculous or even wearing slippers provided for me.... I would go barefeet before I wore borrowed slippers...... I have lower back pain and wear shoes in my own house at all times...
    Of course, living in Canada , we carry our shoes with us and remove our boots when entering a home, so therefore our shoes are clean and dry.... I have slipped on stockinged feet and injured myself so I prefer to wear shoes....

  • bluesbarby

    If you guys are so OC about germs and dirt why don't you buy a bunch of hospital booties (they are real cheap) and give them to your guests to put over their shoes. And what about repairman who go in and out getting tools etc when working on your house. They charge by the hour and I don't want to spend my money paying for them to take their shoes on and off. Besides, working in risk management I have to agree with the above poster, their WC policy would be nullified if they aren't in proper gear. You could be sued. I only know one person who requires the shoes off thing. Her house is all white marble. I wore socks (she warned me) and promptly slipped and fell and broke my wrist. They come to our house now.

  • lindac

    Oh what a giggle!!! A 4 year old thread ressurected!!! LOL! I thought the shoes off stuff was in limbo!!

  • chase_gw

    OMG, I always found this thread to be such a hoot! Sorat glad it's back, let's see what this generation of posters have to say! LOL

    Love to see the names, so many familiar ones.

    Asking a guest to remove their shoes, not in my home!

  • linda_in

    I would never get mad because a friend or family member wanted me to take my shoes off. I would never let "shoes" come between my relationship with friends/family. (especially to the point of never going back) It would take a lot more than that to keep me away from my friends & family ~ they mean more to me than any shoes or carpet. It is their house/carpet. I think you need to do what works best for you. If a friend didn't care anymore about me to come back to my house just because I asked them to take their shoes off ~ we must have not been "friends" to start with. Don't mean to step on any toes. I really care about my friends & love my family. I can't imagine letting shoes/carpet stand in the way.

  • nancylouise5me

    If a "friend" put the value of material things over the comfort and pleasure of their invited friend then you are absolutely right Linda they probably weren't real friends to begin with. The comfort of my friends/family is a priority to me. Not material things. I would never ask any one to remove shoes, or any other article of clothing when they came to my home. I have a broom, mop, and central vac in my home and I know how to use them. NancyLouise

  • yborgal

    I wouldn't ask a guest to remove his shoes upon entering my home, but I have had friends offer to do so when their shoes were wet, or dirty. I've told them it was up to them..on or off was their choice.

    I've never been asked to take my shoes off when entering a friend's home but have offered to do so. They've insisted it was not necessary so the shoes stayed on after I made sure they were wiped clean on an entry mat.

    Would I let a "no shoes allowed" rule break up a friendship? No. But I would be uncomfortable going barefoot.

    I volunteer to host 2-3 charity functions in our home every year. Generally, this involves 25-40 guests each evening that I may/may not know and I would never ask them to remove their shoes. It's hard to believe that a host could do that and that all of the guests would comply.

    And for those guests that don't want to take off their shoes....
    Would you ask the guests to leave?

  • lindac

    I would never ask someone to remove their shoes.....and I am offended when asked to remove mine...
    Recently I went to dinner at the home of an aquaintance with 3 or 4 others....and the table was nicely set and a lovely dinner was being prepared and they host and hostess greeted us in white sweat sox! I kicked my shoes off ( it was summer and I was barefoot and wearing sandals) but after ahout 20 minutes of standing with a glass of wine on the tile floor, my feet began to hurt and I said, I am sorry, but I have to put something on my feet. They said, of course! That's fine!...and were most gracious....but I was uncomfortable!
    There was a time when I was younger and had a lot of carpeting instead of tile and wood when I went bare foot a lot....but when the door bell rang, I slipped into my shoes, or if I got caught without my shoes, I apologized. And i have nice feet!! No corns, no bunions and red polish on my nails!
    Sorry but white sox just do not finish off a cocktail outfit like a pair of nice shoes do! LOL!
    Linda C

  • dalepar

    I am reminded of a friend of ours who does not let anyone walk on his floors with shoes on. It is his house, and his rule. He had a party and one of the guests refused to remove her shoes. She stayed out on the deck the whole time and talked to everyone through the window. She has been very close friends with the host for many years, and certainly knew what he is like. Most of the guests thought it was funny to watch her peering into the window. The overall thought was that she was being over petty and missed a good time. Go with the flow I guess.


  • emmhip

    This thread has made me think of the Sex In The City episode where Carrie regretfully takes off her Manolo Blaniks at a party and then they disappear....

    As many have said, if I am asked to take off my shoes at someone's house, I will happily do so, and I will not be offended. But, I will never EXPECT, or ASK someone to do so in my house. If the floors and carpet get dirty, I clean them. It's not worth the aggrivation to be that anal about shoes... there are more important things in this world than if my carpets are spotless, like having friends over for a great evening...

  • swampwitch

    We don't wear shoes at home because the bottoms of shoes are just too disgusting!

    But we never ask guests to remove their shoes. Most guests do automatically when they see us leave our shoes at the door.

    We just had some visitors who came by the house three times, and they all left their shoes on each time. They had been tourists all day downtown, using public restrooms, and had walked along the beach. We wanted our visitors to be comfortable, of course, so I did the extra cleaning to get the sand and road grime out of the carpet and hardwood floors.

    I'm from Texas and have lived in Boston and San Francisco. We now live on Vancouver Island (Canada), and always ask when entering someone's house if we should take our shoes off. If the host is indifferent, I keep my shoes on. I've been in houses where the floors made my socks/feet dirty.

    We just had an indoor/outdoor dinner party for 20 people and we expected everyone to keep their shoes on, of course! The mop water after cleaning the kitchen was BLACK. I can't imagine living on a floor like that every day.

    Cheers, from

  • cindy_lou_who

    It's true that people track "stuff" in on their shoes/feet. We know that. Looks like this debate's been going on here for years.

    Someone stated waaaayyyy up there somewhere about HIV/AIDS. That's a little extreme, dontcha think? I mean, when's the last time you heard of somone contracting HIV from relaxing on the carpet while watching a movie?

    I'm sure if you take your dog to the dog park and walk around, you'll bring something nasty home on the soles of your shoes. People spit on sidewalks. At the same time, little kids pick their noses and touch the remote....when's the last time you washed that???

  • wexywoo

    My carpets and hardwood flooring are not worth nearly as much to me as the dignity of ONE person who may come to my home with a hole in their sock or foot odor. I would NEVER ask someone to remove their shoes in my home. If they have been walking somewhere dirty or wet, I hope they do, but I will not ask anyone to remove their shoes. I have recently seen homes where they have a little engraved message on their door saying "Please remove your shoes". This makes me cringe! I don't usually have holes in my socks or foot odor, but I have been at gatherings at some of these homes and have seen people dealing with this embarrassment! Is your carpet really that precious to you? I think some people need to rethink their priorities!

  • bonelady

    I have washable aea rugs in my foyer, where guests can wipe their shoes. Although I never wear shoes in my house, I don't ask that guests remove theirs.

    In bad weather, I usually put out a few rugs so that by the time they reach the main living room, shoes are dry

  • marylmi

    Interesting thread! :)

    We wear our street shoes in our home most of the time, BUT we do take them off at the door if they are muddy, dirty, etc. and when visiting others, we do offer to take them off, especially if they are in their barefeet or slippers.

    In some homes I would NOT want to go in my barefeet for sure! I was visiting a lady once and her little girl was crawling around on the floor and just prior to that, her dog was dragging his behind across the carpet! I was sure glad I had my shoes on!!

  • sparksals

    This is my first post to this forum and the thread caught my eye because I have learned it to be a very contentious issue.

    First of all, I am from an area of Canada (Calgary) where shoe removal is the norm. The winters are wet, slushy, with gravel, salt and mud. For the most part, it is automatic to enter someone's home and remove shoes. A pile of shoes at the front door at a party, especially in the winter, is very common. I would never enter someone's home presuming I can wear my boots where I have walked in snow, mud, salt and gravel.

    For formal events like a cocktail party, people wear their boots and then change into indoor shoes that are dry. My mom hosted an annual Christmas Eve buffet which people would dress very nicely. Of course, we wouldn't ask the ladies to walk around in their lovely outfit without shoes, but it is a happy medium where people wear outdoor shoes and change into their indoor shoes upon entry to the home.

    When repairmen or the gas man comes to read the meter, they do not remove their boots and are not expected to do so. However, they go to great measures to wipe their feet. Many people also have mats outside the front door and inside.

    Summertime is a bit different. If someone is having an outdoor bbq and guests need to use the bathroom, generally shoes are not removed. It's almost a non-spoken convention. People just do it automatically, depending on the season. However, if the party is indoors, by sheer habit, most, if not all people take their shoes off. No one has to be asked.

    The person from the US who spent time in Calgary - I was raised there all my life. I have to guess you visited in summer when it was dry and not raining. If it was winter (unless chinooking), you most likely were wearing boots and I would consider lack of boot removal to be very rude. It's just not done.

    I moved to the US 4 years ago after spending a few years living in Korea. There, they remove shoes all the time and provide slippers at the door, because like someone mentioned, most Koreans sit on the floor to eat and they put their beds on the floor too.

    Because it was habit for me, I automatically removed my shoes upon entering homes in the US. I posted a question in a forum as to why people walked into my house with their shoes on and that is when I found out that many areas of the US, people do not remove shoes and they have various reasons. I was shocked people would be offended to be asked. Where I come from, no one had to be asked. It was just done. I had absolutely no idea that the host/ess would be offended by my doing so or that I was making myself too comfortable in their home. I was shocked that some people equated shoe removal to disrobing.

    Whenever I enter a home now, I ask if I should remove my shoes so to give the host/ess a choice, although the norm here in very dry AZ is to leave them on. I don't ask people to remove them here, although I would much prefer if they did. Since I have learned it's a regional thing, I am more accepting - although my husband and I do not wear shoes in the house. If I did, I would feel like I was drinking soup from the bowl or milk from a carton! My husband took a long time to "train", but now he does it automatically most of the time.

    For those whom are guests in home and feel their comfort exceeds the wishes of the host to keep their home in good condition, would you smoke in someone's home because it made you comfortable? Would you refuse to use a coaster on a beautiful mahogany coffee table because you don't want to? How are those issues different from someone wanting to prevent the costly task of cleaning carpet or hardwood floors?

    I was raised that when going to someone else's home, that it was THEIR home, to be on best behaviour and to be respectful of that. Since I am a guest, their rules are paramount and if they wanted me to leave my shoes on, I would do so because I'm not paying the mortgage.

    As it stands, I am on the "When in Rome" camp. I respected the culture in Korea, I respect the culture in the US and I would certainly hope that an American from a non-shoe removal area would respect the wishes of the host/ess in a Canadian home. My home is a different story and if I didn't know it was so darn offensive to some people, I would request shoe removal. I expect my husband to respect the culture when we visit Canada - and that is shoes off, unless told not to do so, although some from Canada have posted that they don't do it or expect it. I'm wondering if they live in an area like BC where there is little snow.

    From this long thread, which I can't believe is still going strong after over four years, it is obviously a regional/cultural issue. Those who are so adamant that their needs as a guest trump the wishes of the homeowner would not be welcome in my home. If someone's young child ran wild in my home, touched everything, broke things, I wouldn't invite them back. If someone started rummaging through my pantry or criticized the meal, they wouldn't be invited back. Why is respecting the wishes of a homeowner wanting show removal so different?

    Here's a photo of a very common sight in Canada in the winter:

  • carla35

    Shoes are like bras...

    Yes, in my own home, I often go shoeless and braless. I've even been known to get a little comfortable (with both shoes and bras) at, like, my mom's house or if I'm spending the night at my best friend's house.

    But, generally, when company comes over, I put on my bra and put on my shoes (or sandals in the summer). And, unless they were pilled high, really high, in mud, I wouldn't ask anyone to take off their shoes, just as I wouldn't ask anyone to take off their bra. Sometimes you just have to give up a little comfort to sustain a little class.

  • sparksals

    Shoes are equal to a bra? I don't mean to laugh, but that's quite funny. Obviously, a vast majority of Canadians go braless in other people's homeS! LOL (NOt)

    Class does not equate to culture or regional preferences. No one where I come from thinks its rude to require shoes off. No one has to ask. It's just the way it's done. People come to your house, they take off their shoes, but not their bras! ;)

  • ccc123

    Fun to read!

  • edgreen

    I take my shoes off at the door. I consider it common sense.

    First, it's more comfortable. Shoes are unnatural and change the way you walk for the worse. Our feet have evolved over millions of years for a smooth, flexible, rolling gait which is made impossible by shoes. Read this article here:

    Second, my home is not the same as outside. My home is clean wheresas the outside is dirty. Unlike a public restroom I don't have urine splashes on my floors. No one spits on my carpet, animals don't urinate and defecate on my floors, vehicles don't leak fluids and oils inside, etc, ad nauseum. If your feet are truly dirtier than the shoes that wade through this muck, then I suggest bathing and changing into clean socks each day. If you're embarrassed by holes in your socks, please buy new ones. That they are hidden under your shoes is no excuse to wear threadbare socks.

    Most first time visitors to my home remove their shoes at the door without being asked to do so. They take their cues from the large shoe rack at the entryway and my slipper-shod feet. I had several people over for the first time recently and nearly everyone took their shoes off at the door on their own. All but one. I didn't say anything but privately I marveled at the social ineptitude and "cluelessness" of this woman who trudged right in even as her five companions were taking off their shoes next to her.

    Lindac, you're right about one thing - shoes may have been worn inside for hundreds of years. However for hundreds of years, these same people lived with their animals in thatched cottages with filthy rushes strewn about the ground. The idea that wearing dirty shoes inside the home is classy is laughable. More like medieval peasant.

  • lindac

    And the idea of padding around in socks or house slippers and dress up clothes is really declasse.
    Or do your guests always wear jeans and sweat shirts?

  • jakkom

    It must be wonderful to enjoy being barefoot for hours on end. I have no idea what that is like. After 1/2 hour without good support shoes or sandals, my feet hurt, then my lower back gets more and more stiff. A few hours later I'm in real physical pain and need an Aleve.

    I'm glad there are so many fortunate people who can take their shoes off and move about comfortably. Since I can't, I guess I'm not welcome in your houses.

  • hostarhodo

    We change into slippers at the door at my house.
    Many of you may not realize that the workmen coming to your home are in their workplace. (Your home)and their jobs may require protective (safety) footwear. That's why many of them change into clean footwear at the door.
    When I worked for homecare we had to do the same, we always had to wear shoes, when doing floors you could pull back a chair or such and injure your foot or drop something or to prevent burns. Safety Foot requirement

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