Friday, December 21, 2012

Something is Done: Formal/Informal Parties and Take Your Shoes Off!

Something is Done: Formal/Informal Parties and Take Your Shoes Off!

"I don’t throw parties where people come in dress shoes and stilettos. In fact, if you come over, I would like you to remove your shoes, so make sure you wear cute socks and get a pedicure. Unless you have a foot odor problem or fungus, of course. Then you’re allowed to keep them on.

BabyG WILL lick the hardwood floors, no matter how many times I tell her no. She’s 8 months old, so that might be part of the reason."

MindBodyGreen: Why Your Home Should Be a Shoe-free Zone

MindBodyGreen: Why Your Home Should Be a Shoe-free Zone

"Establishing a “no shoe” policy in your home is good for your health. In one easy step, you can reduce your risk of injury, infection, and exposure to harmful chemicals. Kick those shoes off at the door!"

Surviving In Sweden: Take Off Your Shoes!

Surviving In Sweden: Take Off Your Shoes!

"I don’t usually write about little things about Sweden mostly because I have been here for so long that I don’t notice them anymore. But one of the first things everyone always comments about upon visiting Swedes -- if you are from the US anyway-- is that everyone takes off their shoes when they come inside.

It is considered rather rude to enter someone’s house with your shoes on."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Great Comment

We don't value our floors over friends, as some one will say.
We value our homes, our lifestyles, and we want to share that with others.

I found this on a comment thread on Apartment Therapy.

Probablyrachel: Please Take Off Your Shoes

Probablyrachel: Please Take Off Your Shoes

"There are two types of households (okay there are probably more but humor me please): Shoes-on and shoes-off.

The K-Couple has a shoes-off home. To some this is completely normal, to others it’s strange. I sometimes feel like a criminal for stopping people at the door when they visit and asking for them to remove their shoes. I feel that having a shoes-off home requires explanation sometimes for understanding. The fact that “it’s my house and I say so” doesn’t fly with many."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I love Martha Stewart

I really do. Not only is she an attractive mature woman who has aged well, she is a shining model of those qualities that make America great.

Like so many of those American success stories, Martha Stewart was the child of immigrant parents, in her case, from Poland. She was born under the maiden name of Kostrya.

Martha's massive empire was built on the back of her own personal skills. She was great at sewing, decorating and organizing birthday parties. She used those skills to market her products and to inspire countless women.

She was practically unknown in the UK until her financial scandal in 2003. Her five-month prison sentence is one of the things she is probably most famous for. Yet she served her time with dignity and strength, a massive contrast with Paris Hilton's whining and crying.

A lot of people thought that Martha would sink after her time in the clink, yet it made her stronger and she rose again and made her company and her image profitable again.

Not only is she a truly inspirational figure, but she is also a big advocate of removing shoes at the door and asking guests and visitors to remove theirs. Most of her websites seem to offer that advice and I'm not sure it's a coincidence that the generally Martha Stewart owned Good Housekeeping Magazine in the UK is generally pro-shoes-off.

The USA needs more women like Martha Stewart. The UK does too.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Decor Tiles Blog: Cleaning Limestone Tiles

Decor Tiles Blog: Cleaning Limestone Tiles

Do you have limescale tileson your floor? Here is some advice about cleaning them. This article recommends having a shoes-off rule, as grit on shoes can cause permanent damage to tiling.

All types of floor are vulnerable to shoe traffic- not just carpets!

Shihyenshoes: House slippers and the culture of taking shoes off indoors

Shihyenshoes: House slippers and the culture of taking shoes off indoors

'Taking shoes off indoors is not uncommon. It is the culture in Japan, Korea and all across South East Asia. You know a culture is serious about removing shoes indoors when there’s a special area in a house or building just for taking shoes off. In Japan, it is called ‘genkan’ (玄関) while in South Korea this area is called ‘hyeon gwan’ (현관) It’s a small area just inside the front door where people take their shoes off before entering the house or building. There may also be a shoe box or rack in this area to put shoes in. In Japan, this box is called ‘geta bako’ (下駄箱) which literally translates as geta-box, because in the past it was the traditional Japanese geta that would have been placed inside the box.

Even now, I feel a kind of psychological barrier at the front door of any house, and if I wear my shoes inside a house, I have to mentally make myself cross that barrier. When my friends from other cultures put their feet up on their bed or other furniture while wearing outdoor shoes, I cringe internally. And picture them stepping on dog poo or something and then smearing it on the bedspread or sofa!'

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A Yacht Party at Venice Film Festival

Some photos of celebrity guests at a shoeless yacht party hosted by Livia Firth.

Toxoplasma in the News

The Independent- Beware of the cat: Britain's hidden toxoplasma problem

This newspaper headline points out the massive risks of infection from Toxoplasma, a parasite carried by cats. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable and infection can result in congenital birth deformities, blindness, dementia and even death.

This parasite can infect soil through cat excrement. Taking your shoes off before you enter your home and asking visitors to do the same can therefore help to reduce the risk of infection.

Monday, August 13, 2012

French Student Arrived

My mother teaches English as a foreign language. Throughout the summer she has had students staying with her.

While I was there this weekend, a French student arrived. When she came in, she asked if she should remove her shoes. My mother explained that she would need to remove her shoes before going upstairs, where there was light carpet, but she could wear them downstairs where there is wood flooring.

So my mother is currently in the 'no shoes upstairs' camp.

Olympic Swimming

I have not been an avid watcher of the Olympics (I don't own a television anyway), but I saw some of it in a pub.

One thing that surprised me was that the swimmers came onto the poolside wearing tracksuits and sneakers. There were also a lot of sports officials on the poolside wearing shoes.

At every swimming pool I have been to, you are required to take off your shoes and socks and use the footbath before entering the poolside. I imagine the reason the swimmers come dressed and shod onto the poolside is because they need to keep warm. But do the sports officials and attendants not need to use a footbath?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Student Nurse

I mentioned the issue of shoes-off in homes in conversation today. It was with a student mental health nurse who is working in our service.

I brought up the subject after talking a bit about my experiences in Japan. She was rather surprised at the idea of removing shoes in the hairdressers, as you would do in Japan, and was not keen on that idea. However, she didn't like people wearing shoes in her apartment and usually asked visitors to remove their shoes. She did admit to forgetting to remove her own sometimes though!

This student was black. It does seem like a lot of black people do prefer shoes-off in their homes. This seems true of African British, some Afro-Carribean British and African Americans, though I'm not sure how much of a norm it is among those ethnic groupings.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Shoeless Leanring Spaces

Professor Stephen Heppell has a lot to say about educational environments. He thinks that shoeless classrooms or schools are a good idea:

Shoeless Learning Spaces

He raises some reasons why they are a good idea:

- the children seem simply to behave better - perhaps it becomes more like home, or for some there is something quite sacred about taking shoes off. The noise is quieter, gentler as children circulate;
- carpets are much cleaner - and children are much more willing to sit on floors - less furniture makes for a less crowded space too;
- teachers do not end up arguing about the "right kind" of shoes ("no trainers!" - - "but sir, it's not a trainer!!")

Swedish Language Blog: Eye Contact and Shoeless Feet in Sweden

Swedish Language Blog: Eye Contact and Shoeless Feet in Sweden

'Learning Swedish, or any language really, also means learning a bit about the culture. Whether it is finding out more about the politics of a country or understanding the dinner habits, as you grow more comfortable with a language, it becomes more important to also grow comfortable with the culture. Or at least understand that culture. Not too long after I moved back to the US from Sweden, I wrote Swedish Cultural Exchange and discussed a few of the different cultural things I brought back with me. Taking my shoes off whenever I enter someone’s home is one of the things that is most obvious to me.'

Everyday Green: Taking Off Your Shoes for a Greener, Cleaner Home

Everyday Green: Taking Off Your Shoes for a Greener, Cleaner Home

'Think of all the different surfaces you walk on getting to and from work or even just running a single errand. On any given day you probably tread on pavement, dirt, grass, and the grimy floors of public buildings. When you return home the soles of your shoes carry in not just dirt, but several pollutants and allergens as well.

A regular pair of shoes, after just 14 days of wear, hosts a slew of bacteria, including E. coli. In the largest study of its kind, the California State Department of Public Health found an average of 22 pesticides in the dust of homes studied. Another study found that coal tar, a carcinogen used in products like driveway sealant, is tracked into homes from driveways and parking lots. And even though it's been removed from paint and gasoline, lead is still remarkably prevalent in the environment and can be tracked inside (along with mercury and other heavy metals) on people's shoes. The buildup of pollutants is even greater in homes with carpeting because carpet traps pollutants and is usually not cleaned well enough and often enough to prevent buildup.'

Friday, June 29, 2012

Health Check Machine

At the hospital I work, there is a machine in the main foyer which gives one an instant health check. It measures your weight and height and then calculates your body mass. It also takes your pulse and asks you how much fluid you drink in order to work out your hydration levels.

I notice that some people take their shoes off before using it, while other people keep their shoes on. There is no sign to indicate what one is supposed to do, but I would have thought one's shoes would affect the weight it registers.

Friday, June 22, 2012

beautyandthebeast12: Rest Your Soles and Remove Your Shoes….like it or not.

beautyandthebeast12: Rest Your Soles and Remove Your Shoes….like it or not.

"Many argue that homeowners who ask guests to remove their shoes are not good hosts and hostesses. I do not agree with this line of thinking at all. Since when do I have to sacrifice the things that we pay for to prove that I want my guests to be comfortable? I have heard it said that people who expect guests to remove their shoes are more concerned about their ” precious floors” than the comfort of their guests. Again, I say, is it not my home and is it not my hard work that goes into maintaining my home? If my guests want to wear shoes in their homes, that is their prerogative."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

That Time of Year

The Cannes Film Festival is now in session. This brings with it the celebrity circuit having endless yacht parties. Hence, the tabloids and gossip magazines get splashed with photos of celebrity women looking glamorous with their shoes off.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Christian Headcovering, Removing Shoes and a Punk Attitude


It is my belief that Christian women should wear an headscarf or veil during worship. This is not a fashionable idea amongst modern evangelicals, but I believe it is biblical.

Occasionally I hear from Christian women who feel some conviction over the issue, yet who say something like:

'I am starting to feel that the Bible does teach headcovering, but I am scared to wear one because of what other women at church might think.'

I find this attitude remarkably similar to what some people say about having a shoes-off policy:

'I would really like people to remove their shoes in my home, but I am scared to ask because of what they might think.'

Notice the similarity?

I think this fear of other peoples opinion is just so destructive. It paralyses people and traps them in a mundane world of convention. It holds back any attempt to try out alternative ideas.

You have probably gathered that I am a very conservative person in my values, but when it comes to this phobia, the part of me that loves Punk Rock really kicks in. When it comes to this fear of change because of the opinion of others, I am reminded of the need for the Punk attitude.

The virtue of Punk is a rebellion against conventions that limit us and prevent us from being true to what we really think and feel. Its about being true to yourself and what you stand for.

The Christian woman who has come to believe in the necessity of headcovering should be free to cover and stand against the shallowness of those who sneer at a covered hairstyle or the timidity of pastors who are afraid to preach on the issue. They should not fear the dirty looks or the accusation of rocking the boat.

Likewise, those of us who want shoes off in our homes should not be afraid. We must be true and honest about ourselves.

Who cares if people think we are 'clean freaks' or visitors mutter after they leave our homes? People who are really our friends like us enough to respect our preferences and will enjoy our company shoes-off or not.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Childminding Service

I was delivering some Conservative party leaflets for the election on Thursday. One of the houses I delivered to had a signpost outside advertising its childminding service. I was pleased to see a rack of shoes outside the door.

A lot of childminders have a shoes-off rule in their homes for hygiene reasons and it is something encouraged by Ofsted, the body that inspects childminders.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bridal Wear Shops

A while ago this blog was visited by a commenter who ran a bridal wear shop. In her shop customers were asked to remove their shoes and staff were required to be in slippers or stocking feet. This was to protect the dresses from dirt on the floor. This is a very common policy among bridal wear shops in the UK and in North America too.

If you have shopped for wedding dresses, was this your experience? And if you have not, do you think it would bother you to have to remove your shoes in the showrooms when looking for dresses for your big day?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pride Magazine: No Shoes Allowed at Diddy house party

Pride Magazine: No Shoes Allowed at Diddy house party

"Taking your shoes off when you walk through the front door might not seem very glamorous but that was reportedly what rapper Diddy demanded of his guests as they stepped over the threshold at his most recent house party."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Houzz- House Rule: Off With Your Shoes

Houzz- House Rule: Off With Your Shoes

'Do you prefer your guests to go shoeless in your house? Here are some ways to encourage stockinged feet'

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Daily Mail: Primary school bans children from wearing shoes indoors because they don't want to get the new carpet dirty

Daily Mail: Primary school bans children from wearing shoes indoors because they don't want to get the new carpet dirty

The Daily Mail ran an almost identical story to this last year. They don't half like to make a fuss.

Have a good look at the comments; most of them point out how sensible this rule is and the silliness of those complaining.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

What do you think feet are supposed to look like?


Sometimes you hear people commenting that feet are a part of the human anatomy that are weird, odd or ugly.

Some people do have unsightly feet. This is because of age, illness, injury or just wearing daft high heels. However, most people do not have feet like this. Some people are of the opinion that male feet are ugly, but female feet look nice. While men do tend to have larger and sometimes hairier feet (and often don't look after their toenails), their feet are usually free from the bunions and ravages caused by wearing silly high heels that female feet often suffer.

When people say that feet are an ugly part of the body, just what do they think feet ought to look like? Would they rather have cloven hooves or a pig's trotters? Or how about wheels?

I find it especially strange when Christians make this comment. They are effectively scorning the Creator's handiwork.

Our Lord Jesus walked this earth on human feet and now His feet are as burning brass (Revelation 1:15). When the saints are resurrected to glory, they will perhaps have feet of the same quality.

I believe the angels of heaven are not purely spirits, but have bodies that are in some ways like ours. I am sure they have feet like ours.

Romans 10:15

"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!"

If anyone thinks that feet cannot be beautiful, I suggest that they be locked up for a week in an art gallery filled with paintings by William Adolphe Bouguereau.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Steady Hand: Yes or No- Wearing Shoes in the House

The Steady Hand: Yes or No- Wearing Shoes in the House

'Now my husband on the other hand…will wear his shoes everywhere. From the moment he gets dressed in the morning until he goes to bed, his shoes are on. How is that comfortable? I told him that I do not like him wearing his shoes in the house but that doesn’t go very far. The only fight I have won is that he will not wear his shoes upstairs…ever. No one gets to wear their shoes upstairs…unless you want to clean the carpet on the stairs for me.

Shoes track dirt everywhere! That is why I don’t see any reason why you should wear your shoes in the house (well, at least my house). Yes, I am that much of a clean freak. It didn’t get this bad until after my daughter. Kids are on the floor all the time. Touching it, dropping stuff on it, etc. Especially based on the fact that most of the floors in my house are light-colored so that they show even the smallest amount of dirt. Don’t get me started on carpet stains!'

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Skirts with Socks


I think it is fair to say that in general skirts do not go at all well with socks. Skirts look fine with nylons or bare feet, but with socks the look is not good. A young woman in her twenties might be able to get away with wearing a pair of brightly coloured socks with a skirt, creating a slightly preppy or schoolgirlish look, but on an older woman this would look disastrous.

My ex-girlfriend pointed this out to me one time. She had removed her shoes at the door when wearing a long, pencil skirt and later complained that her stocking feet were cold on the kitchen floor. She asked if she could put her shoes back on. I suggested she put on the socks she had brought for with her (she had a change of clothes for when we went walking later). She did so, but said she felt very silly. She looked cute, but had looked far more elegant before she put the socks on. After this, she started bringing slippers when she visited me.

On the other hand I once invited over a girl with her husband for Sunday lunch. She was dressed very smartly and wearing a skirt with pantyhose. After she removed her shoes at the door I offered to lend her some socks in case her feet got cold. However, she had planned ahead and had brought a bright red pair of socks with her. She was obviously happy to make socks work with her formal wear.

I have a friend whose sole objection to the shoes-off rule was the worry that she might be asked to remove her boots when wearing athletic socks underneath with a skirt. Obviously, that would not need to happen if she was visiting an home where she expected shoes-off at the door. She could plan on wearing trousers or just nylons under her boots.

What if a lady with socks, boots and skirt visited a home and was asked to take her shoes-off unexpectedly? My own view is that it is okay to ask for shoes at the door without prior warning if needs be. If somebody makes an unannounced visit, the host is not likely to be dressed up, so she need not feel too self-conscious. If she is very bothered, she could always take the socks off quickly at the door.

Friday, February 03, 2012 No Shoes Indoors No Shoes Indoors

When I lived in Austria, I quickly learned that there was a totally different approach to indoor footgear. Everywhere you went, you were expected to take off your shoes and put on one of the many pairs of slippers (nearly always Ikea brand, incidentally) stored by the door. This was true even in my workplace—we all took off our shoes at the door and wore slippers for the rest of the day.

Austria’s a little strange, though. Despite the “no shoes indoors” rule, many workplaces still permit smoking indoors, which I still can’t believe. I concluded that the shoelessness situation was one of many things that were a little topsy-turvy in that part of the world.

Then I came to Sweden, where I discovered that Austria is not an anomaly at all. In fact, it is just one of the many shoeless nations in the world, a group that also includes the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Thailand, Korea, and Japan (as well as potentially the rest of East Asia and Eastern Europe, but I couldn’t confirm it).

On the other hand, the shoe-wearing nations seem to be made up of all the Anglo-speaking countries, plus, according to unverified sources, Mexico, Brazil, and presumably the rest of South America as well.

Happymomblogger's Blog: Germaphobes Unite- What your dirty floors won’t tell you!

Happymomblogger's Blog: Germaphobes Unite- What your dirty floors won’t tell you!

Imagine walking around outside all day, whether at the park, at your work, at school, at the bus station, or at the supermarket. Imagine you are walking at the park and you accidentally stepped on dog poo. And then you’re at the bus station and you stepped on someone’s leftover hot dog. And then you’re at the supermarket parking lot and you step on gum or what looks like gum, but could be anything sticky. Then imagine arriving at home and you walk inside your house, with your shoes on. Now you’ve brought into your lovely home all the stuff you just stepped on and has gathered ceremoniously onto the bottom of your shoes and is at that moment, being tracked all over your carpets, your wood floors, and your tiled floors. And then imagine your kids and your newborn crawling around on the same floors your shoes just smudged all over. Basically, they just got all that gunk that were on the bottom of your shoes onto their hands, clothes, or worse – in their mouths. Kids will be kids after all, and they don’t know about gross stuff underneath the bottom of shoes.

Expatriate Life: Please Remove Your Shoes

Expatriate Life: Please Remove Your Shoes

'We wore slippers at home when I was a child in England, but it was definitely a comfort thing, like changing out of your school uniform or work clothes into something loose and comfortable. Wearing slippers or taking off your shoes in someone else’s home would have been very presumptuous, like helping yourself from the fridge and almost bordering on an insult.

When I first arrived in Canada it was mid-winter, so I wasn’t surprised when I saw plastic boot trays inside the door of every Canadian home. In fact I thought “What a great idea!” given the slushy and salty streets of Toronto. But as summer rolled around and the boot trays disappeared the habit of removing shoes did not and I quickly realized it was a huge faux-pas to keep your shoes on in a Canadian home. Walking around in stocking feet or barefoot was the accepted norm for visitors.'

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daily Mail: All feet on deck: Tamara Ecclestone is forced to ditch her heels and go barefoot as she launches the London Boat Show

Daily Mail: All feet on deck: Tamara Ecclestone is forced to ditch her heels and go barefoot as she launches the London Boat Show

'With shoe collection of over 200 pairs that total more than £70,000 you would think she would have worn something on her feet.
Tamara Ecclestone opened the 2012 Tullett Prebon London Boat Show at The Excel, in unusual fashion by going barefoot today.
The reality TV star wore a glamorous pink two piece outfit with black lace detail on it but was missing a pair of her trademark Louboutin's.'

Read more:

Lost in Stockholm: Swedish Culture Win – Shoes Off Please

Lost in Stockholm: Swedish Culture Win – Shoes Off Please

'There’s this ongoing battle in many countries. The dispute can destroy dinner parties and make friendships awkward. Some people compare this battle to the War of the Roses, eternal until death do us part.
It is called – The Battle of Wearing Shoes Indoors!
I for one, do not allow shoes in the house. I never have. I never will.'

Monday, January 16, 2012

We're not all Sherlock Holmes

In discussions on this subject, it is often suggested that those who want to keep their home shoe-free should simply leave their shoes by the door and thus anybody visiting will pick up the clue and know to remove their shoes.

I very much doubt that will be enough. When being welcomed into a home, most guests are likely to have their attention on the host's greetings and are not likely to notice what is sitting by the door.

Even if the guest does notice, they may not always pick up on this. After all, I have been to plenty of homes where shoes are left by the door without the hosts either wanting a shoe-free home or always being shoeless themselves. A guest may think the shoes left by the door were discarded when it was wet or muddy or just removed after an hard day's work.

If you want people to take their shoes off, you are going to have to show a bit of confidence and ask politely.

Friday, January 13, 2012

daFUXup: Removing your Shoes

daFUXup: Removing your Shoes

It’s just our rule in the house: Remove Your Shoes Upon Entering.

Why is that? Do we think we have such a clean and pristine house that we simply allow no dirt to sully our fancy carpet and floors? Hell no. That’s nowhere near the reason. Let me take a minute and explain.

In various cultures, it is customary to remove your shoes upon entering a house. It’s customary in Japan, for example, and also it’s the custom of some homes based on religion. In our house, we don’t want people wearing shoes because of our wonderfully clean house. Our house isn’t any cleaner than anyone else’s house, and our carpets are actually in need of being replaced at the moment. Our rule about shoes is about not bringing the outside of the house INSIDE. In other words, once you enter our house, the outside world stays outside, or at least it stays at the front door, and doesn’t actually come into our house. Now, of course it also keeps any additional dirt from coming into the house too, but that’s not the reason we ask people to remove their shoes upon entering. We take great care to create our inside world here and we don’t want the outside world allowed in…pure and simple.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Brooklyn Twig: Leave Your Shoes Behind

Brooklyn Twig: Leave Your Shoes Behind

'It wasn't until I moved to the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn that I became aware of entire communities (outside of Asia!) that expect you to remove your shoes on entering a home. My sister had done it for years in her Boston home, to the chagrin of our parents whose holiday outfit plans included the shoes and who felt lost (and cold) without them.

But, there are a lot of good reasons to remove shoes in a home -- even one without kids. The key is to make it work for your visitors, so here are some tips and ideas from around the blogosphere to make it work for everyone.'

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Times are Changing

It has been many years since I have been to a swimming pool and clearly they have changed. A bit of research on Google revealed that it has now become common for UK swimming pools to require users to remove their shoes before entering the changing rooms. I understand this is common in Europe, but when I was younger it was practically unheard of in British swimming pools. You couldn't wear your shoes on the poolside, but you took them off in the changing room. Removing them before going in the changing room sounds much more sensible. Who wants to walk barefoot on a muddy floor?

New Years Eve Party

I was at a small New Years Eve party last night.

Apparently the hostess had asked the family that arrived before me to all take their shoes off. The husband had not heard this and kept his shoes on. His wife had changed into slippers and she had brought his slippers along.

The hostess politely asked the guy to remove his shoes from the carpet. However, he was in a cheerfully rebellious mood and kept them on for a while.