Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Collection of Shoes

The apartment opposite mine had a collection of shoes in different shapes and sizes outside its door yesterday. I think they had visitors and with all the drizzle, had left their shoes on the landing.

Plenty of people will disagree, but I think an assortment of different shoes is a rather charming sight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Visiting Hoddesdon Police Station

I was shadowing my colleague again. Today we visited Hoddesdon Police Station's cells.

This police station follows the same policy that Sandro recommended for hotels- the guests must leave their shoes (including shoes without laces) outside their rooms.

(The picture is not Hoddesdon police station)

Monday, February 22, 2010


Those of you with cats will know about Toxoplasmosis. Its a nasty parasitic infection that our feline friends get from eating bad meat.

Toxoplasmosis can survive in soil over a year. That means that being careful not to step on cats' mess is not going to make a difference; you cannot see the stuff in the soil.

Toxoplasmosis that is brought into the house and onto your floor can infect small children. This can lead to fever, pneumonia and damaged vision.

Just insist on all shoes being removed at your door. Its not rocket science.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Huffington Post: Shoes Off at the Door? New Reasons Why

The Huffington Post: Shoes Off at the Door? New Reasons Why

by Annie B. Bond

The author does not like taking her shoes off when visiting people, but she admits there are some good reasons to do so. For instance;

"In a new study, and the largest ever conducted, 22 pesticides were commonly found in the dust of homes in Salinas, California. Salinas is an agricultural community, but not all the pesticides found were agricultural pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health have found that low level chronic pesticide exposure as found in these homes can cause numerous health problems, especially for fetuses and young children. The study was by the California state Department of Public Health and researchers with the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) with the University of California, Berkeley. Protection Agency."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's not a cold weather thing

Occasionally some people suggest that the difference between countries where shoes are removed and where they are kept on is the climate. This is pretty misleading.

It is true that most countries with harsh winters like Canada and Finland are in the shoes-off camp, while the gentle weather of Mediterranean Europe is enjoyed by Spanish and Italians who for the most part, keep their shoes on indoors.

However, there are many countries with warm climates that practice the shoes-off rule. These include:




Hawaii (USA)

United Arab Emirates

Saudi Arabia







Sri Lanka

And in some countries which have cold winters, but warm summers, for instance Albania and Croatia, shoes are removed over the whole year, winter and summer.

The fact is that whether the weather is hot or cold, dirt is still dirt. The fact that the weather outside is warm does not mean that the streets and the soil outside is clean.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Athlete's Foot


An unpleasent fungal infection.

A lot of people mention Athlete's Foot as an argument against people having a shoes-off policy. However, this is a quite unnecessary concern.

Athlete's Foot is generally associated with swimming pools and changing rooms. It is possible to catch Athlete's Foot on one's barefeet at a swimming pool or in a locker room. However, recent research indicates that this is not so likely as was previously thought.

Most importantly, the reason people catch Athlete's Foot in those places is not because people there are barefoot, but because the fungus needs a warm and wet environment. People get exposed to the fungus in the damp conditions. If they fail to dry their feet, the fungus is very comfortable and even more so if the victim puts on sweaty socks.

The fungus will not survive long on the clean, dry floor or carpet of a person's home and so you are very unlikely to catch Athlete's Foot in somebody's house, even if the owner has the condition.

What is more, people who are not wearing socks are likely to put on sandals when they leave, as opposed to closed shoes. Thus, they will not create the right environment for the condition to thrive.

Of course, if you are worried about it, you can always bring some slippers or socks when you visit a shoes-off home.

People who have a shoes-off policy ought to let their visitors know in advance and be willing to lend a pair of clean socks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

John Tesh: Should You Have Your Guests Remove Their Shoes at a Party?

John Tesh: Should You Have Your Guests Remove Their Shoes at a Party?

I loved this statement:

"Let the rule slide for someone with a medical condition. Although your friend, who shows up in the four inch stilettos, is probably lying if she tells you her plantar fasciitis is acting up and she can’t take off her heels."

This will probably interest some of you..

Some of you seem to love discussing removing shoes at work, so do what you will with this.

I am on holiday at the moment and went into a pub in Hastings for an half pint. It was in the morning and the pub was not very busy. I noticed one of the young barmaids had no shoes on and was barefoot. I imagine she would not be shoeless at busier times in the evening.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Should One Provide Slippers For Guests?


In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. It is argued that this will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

I am not inclined to think so. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go barefoot, rather than wear slippers that are not their own. In conversations I have had with people about Japan, I have noticed people go 'ew' at the idea of wearing borrowed slippers.

It might be a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Got To Visit the Cop Shop!

I shadowed a colleague today. She is a drugs worker who works with drug users who have entered the criminal justice system (I work with drinkers who end up in hospital).

My colleague took me on her round at Stevenage police station's cells. Here in Britain we euphemistically call our holding tanks custody suites.

At Stevenage custody suite, all prisoners have their shoes confiscated, including those without laces. They are given rubber beach sandals to wear. A very sensible policy in my opinion.

Shoes off in the house; shoes off in the cells.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

More on the Fifth Avenue Couple

Pop News Daily: Rich Lady Wants You and Your Grubby Shoes to Know She Is Not a Bad Hostess

A celebrity gossip writer stands corrected. High society hostess, Suzanne Murphy made it clear on her invitation that she wanted shoes-off at her party. She and her husband, Robert Albertson, are big names in the finance industry.

Monday, February 08, 2010

NZ National Business Review: Leave your troubles at the door – and your shoes

NZ National Business Review: Leave your troubles at the door – and your shoes

'Leaving the shoe at the door to protect precious carpeting is an increasing sight in New Zealand homes, but it’s also becoming a more familiar sight in some of the country’s biggest offices.'

Sometimes Star Trek is beyond belief

On the Star Trek spin-off show, Deep Space Nine, there is a Japanese character, Keiko O'Brien. Surprisingly, Keiko and her family do not remove their shoes in their apartment on the space station.

It may be the far future and it may be that the floors are cleaned by invisible nanobots, but I am quite confident that the Japanese are not going to start wearing their shoes at home.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Sermon on Shoes!

The pastor of Kingdom Baptist Church, Joey Faust preached a sermon on shoes! You can find it here.

Faust strongly attacked women's high heeled shoes as immodest and unhealthy. Its kind of refreshing to hear the kind of old-fashioned fundamentalism that has something to say about clothing. Personally, I think Christian women are at liberty to wear high heeled shoes if they wish, but I think they should at least consider whether they are really modest or appropriate.

Faust's sermon seems to have been at least partly inspired by recent scientific evidence, evidence which he referred to, which suggests that expensive running shoes are a waste of money and counter-productive. It seems the more ankle support and padding you put on your feet, the weaker and more vulnerable to injury they become. This philosophy is good news for people like me who love to wear flip flops with zero support.

Faust would have horrified the fashionistas by his suggestion that if Christian women wear sandals, they should wear socks. As much as I love Faust's preaching and endorse his ministry, I hope this idea does not catch on. I think women look lovely in flip flops with no heel.

Need2LearnChinese Blog: Asian House

Need2LearnChinese Blog: Asian House

Nice article on different attitudes to removing shoes in Asia and the West.

Can you believe this guy?

Yahoo! Answers: What do I do about my girlfriend's Asian roomate and my shoes?

The guy who asked this question has one seriously daft attitude, as nearly everybody who answered agreed.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

RIP Brittany Murphy

The late Brittany Murphy is asked to remove her shoes in the movie Uptown Girls.

Thanks go to Sandro for pointing this one out.

Funnily enough, I mentioned another Brittanny Murphy film on this blog a while ago, Ramen Girl.

Friday, February 05, 2010



Some people are of the opinion that it is very important that guests have the choice of whether to keep their shoes on or not.

However, it is not as simple as that. Some choices may impose on the choices of others.

Some visitors may want to take their shoes off, but may fear that doing so will be considered rude. Being informed that shoes-off is encouraged will be a great welcome for these people.

The shoes-on folks might then argue, "Yes, but you can still let people keep their shoes on without imposing on the people who prefer to go shoeless."

However, this is not the case. Firstly, those people who want to take their shoes off may fear, if there are lots of other guests, particularly at a party, that their feet may get squashed by other peoples' shoes. In a crowded party, it can be hard to avoid having people tread on your toes.

Secondly, people who take their shoes off will prefer to walk on a floor that is cleaner. In fact, there is another issue here, as Angie pointed out in a previous post. Some guests will enjoy sitting on the floor. And sitting on the floor is a much more pleasent experience when it is clean. So allowing guests the choice of wearing shoes imposes on those who like to sit on the floor.

The simple truth is that no host can please everybody. However, there are far more good reasons to insist on shoes coming off at the door than for allowing shoes to stay on. Let guests chose between slippers, socks ot barefeet. That is choice enough.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


You ever get that eerie feeling when you don't remember doing something that you have done?

Yesterday at the home fellowship meeting I realised I could not remember removing my shoes. I had no idea whether I had left them in the porch or in the hallway of the home where the meeting was held. For a moment, I had to check I had removed them.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

One More Disagreement

I mentioned this blog to a colleague. He told me that he felt no need to remove his shoes in his place and would not be incliend to visit a home where he was asked to remove his shoes. I reeled off a list of reasons why a no-shoes rule makes sense, but he was not convinced.

I tend to find myself disagreeing with this chap on quite a few issues, with his views being generally left of centre views and my own being more to the right.

Never mind. He is in his forties. That generation did things there way. Younger people are more inclined to see the sense of removing shoes and tend to see it as a necessary courtesy.

Feel free to recommend this blog to your friends and colleagues.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Burglar Alarms

It does bother me that in many houses, the burglar alarm control panels are situated at some distance from the doors.

This is fine if like me, you wear shoes without laces (a sensible choice if you are a shoes-off person), but if you are wearing laces you will end up having to walk across the hallway in your shoes or else risk the alarm going off.

Can the installers of these devices not see the sense in putting the control panels closer to the doors?