Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Neat Freaks?


It is commonly thought that people who insist on shoes-off in their homes are neat freaks who are obsessed with keeping their homes clean and tidy.

I dare say that there are some people who prefer shoes-off who are genuine neat freaks. And those who are Obsessive-Compulsive about cleanliness may well be among the shoes-off community.

Of course this is culturally relative. In Japan it is thought that money is dirty and unhygeinic because it is handled by untold numbers of people. Japanese people also regard any objects placed in bathrooms, such as books or ornaments to be 'dirty'. A person in a western society who held such attitudes would almost certainly be regarded as Obsessive-Compulsive.

I have known a number of people who really were excessive in their desire to keep their homes clean. Interestingly, these people did not require visitors to remove their shoes. I suspect that they probably spent so much time in cleaning their homes that they were happy to waste time cleaning up after their visitors.

Many people who keep their homes shoe-free are not domestic goddesses who like nothing better than spending whole days doing spring cleaning. Rather, they are busy working people who have far better things to do. They do not want to clean up for the sake of it, but they know that living in a clean environment is healthier and far more pleasent. Knowing that time is precious they would rather keep the mess to the minimum and spend as little time as possible cleaning up after their visitors. Prevention is better than cure.

Nobody needs a house that is spotless, but it is pointless to allow dirt and dust to accumulate when it could easily be kept out by leaving shoes at the door. A floor is meant to be walked upon, but that does not mean that one should not reduce wear and tear and save time and money.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guardian: Police criticised for staging mock burglaries

Guardian: Police criticised for staging mock burglaries

It was meant to be an imaginative way of hammering home the message that some householders are making life too easy for burglars. But police were under fire today after admitting they had been sneaking into people's homes through open doors and windows and gathering up their valuables into "swag" bags.

I am sure they meant well, but I would not like some police officer coming in my home with her dirty shoes on and walking about

Monday, March 29, 2010

Degrees of Offalism


0. All children and adults may keep their shoes on.

1. Small children required to remove shoes, teenagers and adults may keep them on.

2. Children and teenagers required to remove their shoes, adults may keep them on.

3. All family members required to remove their shoes, visitors may keep them on.

4. Family members and close friends asked to remove their shoes, other visitors may keep them on.

5. Family members and visitors normally asked to remove their shoes, but exceptions made for parties and some formal occasions.

6. Family members and visitors are normally required to remove their shoes on all occasions, including parties.

I would say that you only count as having a shoes-off policy if you are at level 5. Level 4 is close, but in my opinion is not really a true shoes-off policy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tip For Party Hosts

If you are hosting a shoeless party and a guest arrives who is wearing a very nice pair of shoes or a pair of shoes you know to be new, always complement them. That way, they will not mind so much leaving them at the door.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pattersons on Hope Avenue: Barefoot is Better

Pattersons on Hope Avenue: Barefoot is Better

Rob & I decided that in our new place, no shoes are allowed. That means, everyone (EVERYONE) can leave their shoes at the door. There are a few reasons for this. First, I know this is super weird I am somewhat concerned about the germs that your shoes pick up. I mean you walk all over the place, parking lots, public bathrooms, restaurants with dirty mops and spilled food, etc. and then you bring the germs back into your house when you wear your shoes in.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Crazy Sexy Life: Do You Go Shoeless?

Crazy Sexy Life: Do You Go Shoeless?

It is actually a little alarming when you consider that no matter how pesticide-free your own yard might be, you probably walk through all kinds of toxic horrors on a daily basis. Pesticides are routinely sprayed on many sidewalks and car parks, they run off front yards onto sidewalks, they’re found on parks, playgrounds and just about any area where you see grass. And that is just the pesticide problem; what about oil, dog excrement, chewing gum, spit-up and all the other gross things (I’m sure you can think of a few more) that foul our public pathways? Enough said, but truly, the pesticides are the worst because if you have small children or pets, their little hands/paws (and even mouths!) are very close to the ground.

A Mountain Hearth: Please Remove Your Shoes: An In-depth Look at the Barefoot Truth

A Mountain Hearth: Please Remove Your Shoes: An In-depth Look at the Barefoot Truth

You show up at someones house to visit and you notice shoes piled outside the door. This may seem curious, until children come running up to greet you and let you know in the same sentence as their greeting, to please remove your shoes. It may seem radical, but this is a shoe-free house. I discovered this foot loose and fancy free lifestyle when I was going to baby playgroups, and noticed that many of the other mamas had shoe shelves outside and no shoes allowed inside. With little people crawling around on the floor putting everything in their mouth, this was one of the best home policies I had ever heard of. I quickly implemented this idea and discovered that I loved it! No more mud and leaves tracked in or strange smelling bits of who knows what. No more frequent floor cleanings! Now came the tricky part of getting other people on board. The etiquette of shoe removal is surprisingly delicate. How does one express to family and friends that shoes need to come off while maintaining warm hospitality and an atmosphere of welcome? I decided to ask a few fellow barefoot friends to share their wisdom on the matter.

An Open Letter to David and Samantha Cameron

Dear David and Samantha

Let me congratulate you on the prospect of a new addition to your family. You have my prayers for the safe delivery of your child.

Given that you are going to have another baby and you already have two young children, I would urge you to consider making your home strictly shoe-free.

It may be that you already avoid wearing shoes in your home most of the time and encourage visitors to remove their shoes. If so, forgive this communication, but I have seen photographs of you wearing shoes at home.

On this blog, you will find a variety of different reasons why having a no-shoes rule makes sense. Some of these simply relate to protecting floors and carpets, but others concern health. As children spend time playing on floors, it is vital that they are kept safe from harmful toxins and unhealthy elements. Shoes can potentially pick up animal faesces, lead, toxoplasmosis, roundworms and harmful bacteria. Exposure to such things presents risks for small children; risks that can easily be avoided.

Mr. Cameron, you have spoken before about 'wellbeing', that there are things that can contribute to a more healthy and psychologically better lifestyle. I believe that having a shoes-off policy can contribute to a sense of wellbeing not only in keeping out harmful toxins, but also making the home a more special, intimate place, where the day-to-day world is kept out.

Perhaps some of the senior Conservatives who visit you might not relish removing their shoes, but I am sure you make your family's wellbeing your first priority.

I write as a member of the Conservative party who is hopeful for an end to some of the anti-family values of the present Labour government. I wish you success in taking no.10 Downing Street.

I believe you are the man to provide new leadership for the British nation. I would love to see you showing that leadership by setting the example for British families by adopting a shoes-off policy in your home.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Matthew Clarke, PhD

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Sacramental Significance of a Cluster of Shoes

Another post on house churches.

In my view, it is better for churches to meet in homes, as the earliest Christians did. I believe that provides a much deeper level of intimacy and fellowship.

Naturally, a home which hosts church meetings would be wise to have a shoes-off rule, to protect the carpet or flooring from the tread of a large number of visitors. If so, I think the large collection of shoes by the door could have an almost sacramental significance reflecting the truth of the church's nature and purpose.

The church, body of Christ, is a people who experience unity in diversity. We are called out of all nations, ethnic groups and peoples. We come from all walks of life, rich and poor, working class and middle class. Males and females are equally valued (or should be) in the church. All ages have a part to play in the rich tapestry of the church of God, in displaying the light of His grace. Each member has his or her own distinct gift and contribution to the life of the church.

The cluster of shoes at the door would reflect that wonderful diversity. We would see the tiny shoes of a child, and the much larger shoes of her father. We would see the shiny brogues of a businessman and the sandals of a student. We would see the sporty trainers of a young man and the sensible velcro-strapped shoes of a more senior man. We might see ethnic diversity; the elegant heels of a French school teacher and the flip flops of a Filipino nurse. We might see the two pairs of shoes of a newly married couple set closely together by the door.

Shoes in all different shapes and sizes, relecting the diversity of the church. Yet all are removed and left by the door, for the owners have come together to worship and to share in the fellowship of the body of Christ.

Okay, I am a theologian who has done a PhD on the subject of the ecclesiology, so I am bound to write stuff like this.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Save Money In Your Home: Remove Your Shoes

Save Money In Your Home: Remove Your Shoes

When we moved back to the desert southwest, it never even crossed my mind to have a ‘No Shoes’ policy for our home. My thoughts on removing shoes before coming in to the house changed though when I had BabyGirl. When she started creeping and crawling around, I didn’t want her to be near so much dirt. I had the carpets and tiled cleaned and decided we would take our shoes off before coming in. Within a few days I immediately noticed a difference. I didn’t need to vacuum or swiffer every few days like I used to. I didn’t have to dust as much either.



Remember that game?

I remember when I was a teenager I used to go to parties and they would get me to play Twister. I used to find the game really irritating.

Twister is one game which must be played in socks or bare feet.

Being a shoe-less game, Twister might seem the perfect accompaniment for a shoe-less party. But is this a good idea?

Being a prudish fundamentalist, I would question whether Twister in mixed-sex adult company is really quite decent, but I will leave the morality of it to one side.

For a low-key, informal party with close friends where shoes-off is expected, Twister would be a perfect game to play.

Nevertheless, some people think removing shoes at a party is really tacky. If you then ask these people to play Twister, they will consider your party to be embarassingly juvenile. While we should make no apology for asking such guests to remove their shoes, it is arguable that we must win them over by the quality of our wine, the delights of our food and the intelligence of our conversation.

On the other hand, you have asked them to remove their shoes and get more intimate. With a few drinks to loosen inhibitions, you could argue that Twister is the logical progression from asking party guests to slip off their shoes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Rather Obvious Answer


"If you are so obsessed with keeping your floor clean, don't invite anybody to your home."

If you are so obsessed with what you are wearing, don't visit anybody's home.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Always in Slippers

In my opinion, providing slippers for guests is not necessary. If people know the home is shoes-off, they can bring their own slippers and if they have not visited before it is hardly a great endurance to be in socks or bare feet.

Some people insist that providing slippers is a must by pointing out the example of Japan:

In Japan, you are not expected to go bare foot; the host will always give you slippers.

This is actually an half-truth. It is true that hosts will normally provide slippers in Japanese homes. However, these are intend to be worn in the hallway and kitchen. Bedrooms and living rooms normally have tatami (grass mat) flooring. It is expected that one removes slippers and step on the tatami in either stocking or bare feet.

Carpet has become more common in Japan and often it is expected that one removes slippers even before stepping into carpeted rooms.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Stupid, Patronizing and Probably Offensive Article about Czechs

Prague Post: Worst foot forward

This peculiar shoe-removing custom catches newcomers by surprise: You are finally invited for dinner at the home of your Czech boss, colleague or friend. You wash and shave meticulously, wear a nice suit and bring an impressive bouquet of flowers or a good bottle of wine. You join Czech friends also attending the dinner and ring the bell. Then, as the door opens, something surreal happens: Your Czech friends hand over the flowers and wine, and then, without any prompt from the host or other apparent reason, they proceed to take off their shoes, leave them at the entrance and accept, with gratitude, shoes from their host. Old, frayed, stained and smelly home-shoes quickly replace the dress or high-heeled shoes under the suits and evening dresses.

Thankfully, a number of the comments recognise the stupidity of this article.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Housewarming Parties


If you are moving into a new house or apartment and you want to make a clean start and have a no-shoes rule, you have an ideal opportunity to kick it off with an housewarming party.

The best thing to do is to indicate clearly on invitations that you will be requiring shoes-off. That way people will have no surpises. They can bring slippers, wear clean socks with no holes or a floaty skirt that looks great with barefeet (Trinny and Susanah actually recommend that hostesses of dinner parties should wear a long skirt with barefeet or slippers).

Having an housewarming party is such an excellent way to send the message that your new house will be a shoe-free zone. Even those of your friends who do not come will see on the invitation that you want shoes-off.

Requiring shoes-off at a housewarming party sends the message that you are really serious about the rule and that it is not just an exception for a wet winter evening. After all, some people with shoeless homes actually make an exception and allow shoes-on in parties. However, having shoes-off at an housewarming makes it clear that you want the house to stay as it was when you bought it.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Irrelevant News

This is not really relevant to removing shoes, but for your information, I have now passed my PhD course.

In telling you that I have done a PhD, I am not making any claim to expertise on the subject of etiquette, health, environmental science or anything related to removing shoes in homes. My PhD is in historical theology and has nothing to do with the subject of this blog.

This blog is not a scholarly journal. It happens to be written by a person who has done a PhD, but it could just as easily have been written by an high school drop-out. This blog is my hobby. While I hope you will find the information useful and informative, it is also meant to be fun.

Friday, March 12, 2010



I am always a little surprised when I see children wearing shoes at home, whether on television or in person. It surprises me because when I was a child, my parents expected me to remove my shoes at the door. When I visited my friends' homes, their parents often expected me to take my shoes off. So it always seems a little strange when I see children keeping their shoes on at home.

The practise of removing shoes was expected until I reached the age of about 12. My parents became less stringent about it as I got older. Occasionally this house rule would be revived in later years. It was restored when I was 21 when my parents and I moved to a house with cream carpets, though they were not consistent in keeping to it.

There are some homes, in the UK, where the hosts will expect the children of guests to remove their shoes, but would not expect it of adult guests. Some guests will insist that their children remove their shoes without removing their own. I can understand why some people may be more concerned about children's shoes; children do tend to be less careful about what they step in and are more likely to run around in long and wet grass. However, adults should never forget that their own shoes pick up an awful lot of less noticeable dirt. There is also the fact that children learn to follow rules better when adults act consistently. There is a certain amount of 'do as I say, not do as I do' in the requirement of shoes-off for children only.

Some childcare experts are of the opinion that children should wear shoes to the minimum necessary and therefore recommend shoes-off indoors for health reasons.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Spanish Princess Removes Her Shoes For Abu Dhabi Mosque Visit

During a visit to Abu Dhabi, Princess Letizia of Spain removed her shoes when visiting the Sheikh Zayed mosque.

Hello Magazine 20 January 2010

Smelly Feet


The issue of 'smelly feet' is often raised as an argument against the Shoes-Off rule.

In Western society there seems to be a lot of paranoia about the phenomena of 'smelly feet'. I think this is simply a result of people not removing their shoes very often. Your feet will actually smell a lot less if you remove your shoes regularly. It is unfortunate that we in Britain have not yet reached the civilised heights of Finland, where it is acceptable to remove shoes in business meetings and on trains (not that people do not do so in Britain, but it is frowned upon somewhat).

Nevertheless, I think most people worry too much about this issue. People imagine their feet smell far more than they actually do. I have met very few people who let off much of an aroma after removing their shoes, and most of them were people who did not wash and change their socks regularly.

If people know in advance that they need to remove their shoes, they can make sure they wear clean socks, or even better, bring slippers with them. If they are especially worried about it, they can use some of those fancy foot deoderents.

Feet wil smell a lot less if people wear sandals. Sneakers tend to smell more than leather shoes, though I will admit I often wear sneakers when not in flip flops or crocs.

Some people will say 'I would rather put up with a dirty floor than people's smelly feet.' Well, I guess people decide on their own priorities. However, stinking feet will leave with the guests. A dirty floor will not. Nor will the dust they brought in on their shoes, and that is very bad for your health.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Message to Victoriap

Victoria, I have asked you to reply to my response to your comment. Please either apologise or defend your remark.

I value your comments, but it is not acceptable to make hit-and-run allegations of dishonesty.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Modern Simplicity: 37 Reasons Why You Should Have a Shoes-Off Policy

Modern Simplicity: 37 Reasons Why You Should Have a Shoes-Off Policy

Sandy at Modern Simplicity was nice enough to link here and quote my 37 reasons.

Conversation about Countries

A colleague heard me humming the Russian national anthem. I suggested that Russia would be a great place to visit because of its historic culture. He said he had no interest in visiting because of all the crime, poverty and corruption there. I pointed out that at least people remove their shoes at the door there (he is a non-shoe remover).

I asked him where in the world he would like to visit. He said he would like to visit Iceland, because of its interesting geology. I pointed out the fact that people in Iceland also remove their shoes in homes. :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

What do Filipinos do?

There are some countries where I hear conflicting messages about whether the custom is to remove shoes or keep them on. The Philippines is one of those countries.

Some Filipinos say that it is their custom to always remove shoes when entering homes. A lot of etiquette guides say this what you have to do. Yet a lot of Filipinos are adamant that they do not normally take their shoes off in their homes.

I visited a guy once who had a Filipino wife. The couple were wearing slippers, but they did not ask me or my friends to remove our shoes. That incident does not tell me much.

I suspect a regional variation is at work. The Philippines is made up of many islands and has ethnic and religious divisions. Some Filipinos look like the Chinese, others look like Pacific islanders. Most interestingly, there is a big Hispanic influence on the Philipines.

I think Filipinos are a cool people- they like fried food, they like wearing flip flops and a lot of them also like extreme heavy metal.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pre-Raphaelite Proportions

Some women are embarassed by having larger sized feet. They ought not to be. Some of the women in the paintings of Evelyn De Morgan clearly do not have smaller shoe sizes:

Ladies with a larger shoe-size should not be afraid when they remove their shoes; there is nothing wrong with their feet.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cheap slippers from Lidl

I went with my mother to the budget German supermarket, Lidl. There are always lots of interesting things on offer there.

Lidl was selling cheap men's slippers. My mother bought me a pair to wear when I visit her house. They reminded me of the sort of slippers that you can buy in practically every convenience store in Japan.

Personally, I don't believe it is necessary to provide slippers for guests, but if you do, those slippers would be a good, affordable choice.

Update on Burglar Alarms

I complained that many homes have burglar alarm keypads that are situated away from the door, necessitating entering the home without removing shoes.

I found out some homes have a fob device that you attach to your keys. It allows you to turn off your alarm without going to the keypad.