Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Innovation from a Shoe-removing Nation

Problem for wheelchair users solved by Lithuanian disability products manufacturer

Dr. Emmer said: “For a decade we have sold RehaDesign Wheelchair Slipper covers for rear wheelchair tires to wheelchair users around the world from our company based in Vilnius old town. Wheelchair users have told us that they appreciate that Wheelchair Slippers help to keep their floors clean from dirt and free from black tire marks. But for many years wheelchair users have demanded a solution for the front casters, too. Until now, we have always given the disappointing answer that it was impossible to cover casters due to the way the caster is mounted on the wheelchair”.


When asked about the names “Wheelchair Slippers” and “Wheelchair Socks”, Dr Emmer explained: When able-bodied people come home, many put on slippers or take off their shoes and wear socks in order to prevent tracking outside dirt and germs throughout the house. Now wheelchair users can use their Wheelchair Slippers and Wheelchair Socks in order to prevent tracking dirt and germs throughout the house. In addition, Wheelchair Socks and Wheelchair Slippers will help prevent damage and tire marks to floors and carpets.

Isn't this wonderful?

Monday, December 28, 2015

99 Lives: 84 Reasons to Love Bulgaria

99 Lives: 84 Reasons to Love Bulgaria

61. We take our shoes off at the door of our homes.

I am glad they identified that as a reason to love Bulgaria.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Greek Lady

As usual, I have been spending Christmas at my parents' house. They are hospitable people and this Christmas, they invited a Greek woman and her son to spend Christmas day with us.

My parents do not mind whether guests take their shoes off or not. The Greek lady did not remove her shoes and she did not remove her son's shoes when he entered. I can't really blame her; I don't think it is the custom to remove shoes in Greece. However, it was a wet day and I think most British guests would at least have offered to remove their shoes and told their children to remove their shoes. This is pretty standard etiquette these days.

It always feels a bit strange being in a home with somebody who has their shoes on, especially a child wearing shoes. It just feels a bit wrong, even if my parents aren't bothered about it.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Fashion Magazine: The best house party shoes and socks for when the host makes you take your heels off (ugh)

Fashion Magazine: The best house party shoes and socks for when the host makes you take your heels off (ugh)

There are two kinds of holiday hosts: the ones who let you slip past the welcome mat with your shoes on, and the ones who don’t. We get that they’re avoiding dirty shoes traipsing through the den and spindly stilettos getting caught in the rug, but after hours of outfit prep, having to leave a perfectly planned pair of sparkly pumps at the door when they enforce the no-shoe rule can derail your whole look (let’s face it, having to go barefoot or in your cat-print pair just won’t do). Barring stuffing a pair of socks in your clutch before leaving home, how do we get away with looking fashionable in indoor appropriate footwear?

Gucci’s fuzzy mules to the rescue! This season’s It-shoe is all the inspiration we need. It’s the perfect bridge between a chic slipper and a cozy one, and they come in every version from the simplest ivory slide to sequined paisley prints. Stow them in a shoe bag and make the quick switch as soon as you step inside. You’ll still feel polished and party-ready even though there isn’t a heel in sight. If all else fails, a pair of special socks will do the trick too. Metallic stars, painterly swirls and velvet ruffles will have you looking festive from head to toe.

This is a bit negative, but it's good to see this issue coming up in a fashion context.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

A Different Perspective

A news story from last month.

The Ugly Truth: Rabbi complains after being told to remove shoes in Heathrow multi-faith prayer room

(Sorry about the Antisemitism on this site. Most definitely not endorsed by this blogger)

"The multi-faith prayer room in Heathrow is a simple room, very clean, very quite and peaceful, with no religious sign or ‘decoration’ and where any person, of any religion can go to for prayer, meditation, contemplation etc. I have personally seen Muslims, Christian nuns, Hindus, Buddhists visit that room. Every one removes his/her shoes and no one has ever complained nor even questioned why shoes should be removed.

Until now. Enters the rabbi who does not understand that for other faiths, a prayer room is not a garbage bin and we have Heathrow ordered to apologize."

Leaving aside the Antisemitic subtext of this post, I agree with this alternative perspective on that news story.

The story about the rabbi being asked to take his shoes off and then Heathrow later apologising for this was treated by the media as either a "Muslims taking over" story or a generic "Political correctness gone mad" story.

I thought the rabbi's attitude was very unimpressive. Lots of religions other than Islam remove shoes to pray, It was therefore reasonable to treat the room as a sacred space. When I tried to argue this on Twitter last month, I got shouted down. Of course, some of the people commenting on that page ought to be shouted down too.

You Just Have to Ask

What To Expect Forum: OT- Taking Your Shoes Off

The OP on this parenting thread expressed annoyance that people were coming into her home with their shoes on. Somebody offered the obvious reply:

"Just kindly ask them to take their shoes off. They can't read your mind. No need to get so upset, just tell them to please take their shoes off."

A lot of people unnecessarily agonize about this subject. They need to stop getting angry and annoyed and just politely ask for shoes-off. They need less of the passive-aggression and more assertion.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Not on this Blog

This blog is not a forum for fetish-related discussions.

If you have a fetish for women in stockings, there are forums and websites where you can go and discuss those things in as much detail as you want. This blog is not one of those places.

I am seeing more and more comments that are geared towards fetish fuel and I have noted the usual suspects.

If a reader mentions in a comment that a woman removed her shoes in such and such a situation, I do not want to see that reader interrogated for every detail about what she is wearing, I know what those comments are about.

I am going to get more vigilant about this and I will delete comments that I deem inappropriate.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thank Your Body: Reduce home toxins by 60% (and you’ll never guess how easy it is!)

Thank Your Body: Reduce home toxins by 60% (and you’ll never guess how easy it is!)

"Ready to reduce home toxins by 60%? Yeah, I thought so. And you’ll love how simple the solution is. Ready for it? I’m going to tell you right here in the first paragraph: Take your shoes off.

That’s it! Reduce home toxins that easily. Seems to good to be true, right? But it is. The truth is that research has shown that 85% of the soil and contaminants inside your home can be found within 10 to 12 feet of the exterior doors. Think about all the places your feet go throughout a day. The grocery store. The gas station. The park. Now think about how many other feet are also trekking around those places. Feet that have been who-knows-where.

Research has shown that there may be a whole lot more coming into your house than you might be aware of. Things like insect fragments, lead dust, pesticides, pollen, dust mites, animal dander, hair, human skin flakes, fungal spores or cigarette ash. In other words, a lot of gross and a lot of home toxins. In fact, a recent study indicates that cockroach exoskeletons and droppings found in household dust can trigger asthma."

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Guardian: Should slippers shuffle off this mortal coil?

Guardian: Should slippers shuffle off this mortal coil?

Apparently sales of slippers have declined massively. People do not wear them very much nowadays (this is not necessarily my experience- I've seen a fair few people wearing slippers recently). Two Guardian journalists discuss whether this is a good or bad thing. Interestingly, they don't touch on wearing shoes in the house; they assume that people not wearing slippers will be in socks or bare feet.

I would have have expected slipper sales to have picked up a bit with all the East Europeans in the country, but maybe they too are starting to prefer socks or bare feet to slippers.

Mumfidential: A sick-bug free Christmas? Take off your shoes!

Mumfidential: A sick-bug free Christmas? Take off your shoes!

"Girls, perhaps it is time to get tougher? There’s 90 per cent chance that your shoes carry Colform, an organism that originates from faecal matter, according to studies, while C-Difficile, a diarrhoea bug, which affects half a million people a year, is found on 39% of shoes.

So for a sick-bug free Christmas – take off your shoes!!"

A Texan Whines About Having to Remove his Shoes in Madison

Isthmus| Tell All: Don’t make me take my shoes off at your house!

The response:

"Call me a Madison native, but I think you’re making too big a deal out of this. Why not humor your hosts for a couple of hours? If walking around in socks is enough to ruin your evening, you’re the most delicate manly-man I’ve ever encountered.
That said, I have a solution to your problem. Next time a host asks you to remove your shoes, reply, “I’d rather not.” I doubt if even the most shoe-phobic Madison homeowner would take it to the next level and force you out of your precious boots.
For someone so concerned with masculinity, Hands Off, I’m surprised you hadn’t thought of simply standing up for yourself."

Indeed. This is an interesting response, as it is a point not often made. When people are asked to remove their shoes, they can always say no. Those of us who ask for shoes off must then either excuse them or tell them to beat it. Perhaps not everyone will feel confident to do that, but you should feel free to speak your mind. It's called communication. Those with a genuine medical reason for keeping their shoes on should certainly free to say no.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Good Housekeeping: 9 Reasons You Should Never Wear Shoes in the House

Good Housekeeping: 9 Reasons You Should Never Wear Shoes in the House

Article by Lauren Smith

"Even though it might seem like a simple (read: less important) task, slipping your sneakers or heels off as soon as you walk through the front door is a step you shouldn't skip. Don't believe us? Here's every reason you should impose a "no shoes allowed" rule in your house immediately."

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Not So Pointless?

This week The Economist ran an article criticising airport security. It pointed out that no attempted shoe-bombers have been caught since Richard Reid in 2002, suggesting that asking passengers to take their shoes off for checks was pointless. However, I would suggest that perhaps the reason no would-be shoe-bombers have been caught is because the checks on shoes deter terrorists from adopting such a tactic. I think that would be a logical conclusion.

Saturday, November 07, 2015


Daily Mail: Moldovan judge is nicknamed 'the sexiest magistrate in the world' after posting controversial photos on Facebook

A judge in Moldova posted a number of pictures of herself on Facebook looking sexy. The question has been raised as to whether this is appropriate behaviour for a judge.

Notice the shoes by the door. As with most former Soviet countries, people in Moldova always remove their shoes before going in homes.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

African Wedding Cancelled

Church Aborts Couple’s Wedding Over Groom’s Refusal To Remove His Designer Shoes

Another story from Africa.

Some African churches require worshipers to remove their shoes during worship. In such a church in Nigeria, a couple were to be married. Tragically, their wedding was cancelled because the bridegroom refused to remove his expensive Italian-made designer shoes. You might have expected that a bride would be the one to be upset about having to remove dressy heels.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Some still do that

It has been commented on this blog that the practice of retail staff removing their shoes before dressing shop windows has substantially declined. Nevertheless, I saw a woman who had removed her shoes dressing the window in H & M in Hemel Hempstead today, so it still does happen.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Local: Seven Swedish habits you get without trying

The Local: Seven Swedish habits you get without trying

'Back in the UK there's often an awkward moment when you arrive at someone's house. Should you take your shoes off? And if you ask and your host says "no it's fine", do they actually mean "yes please we've got a new carpet"? (welcome to the British habit of being over polite). In Sweden, it's a no-brainer. Everyone takes their shoes off. This is a tradition that's mostly explained by the fact that Swedes spend a lot of time outdoors, so they don't want to bring dirt or snow inside. In Swedish cities, where space is at a premium and plenty of people live in studios, you also run the risk of messing up someone's sleeping quarters. I'm a fan of this habit because it saves me housework after I have visitors. The downside is that I can't wear heels to a Swedish party.'

Mark Wright

Hello!: Mark Wright tells HELLO! about his close family bond

Apparently some radio and television presented called Mark Wright, married to Michelle Keegan, has a no-shoes rule:

"I like a clean house," the radio presenter admitted. "If it gets scruffy, I can't stand it. I want everyone to take their shoes off."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


A bed and breakfast in London with a shoes off policy addresses the issue on its Frequently Asked Questions page:

12) Don't you feel it is rude to ask guests to take off their shoes when they enter the guesthouse?

No because this is a large house really: guest house. This is not a hotel. if you do not wish to keep your shoes in the porch or cloakroom you are welcome to book a hotel.


An estate agent in Southampton, Blue Door, states on its website:

… and we take our shoes off when we step through your front door. How’s that for different?

So they have a policy of asking their staff to remove their shoes when visiting sellers' homes? It's interesting that this is being used as a selling point in their advertising to set them apart from other estate agents.

Would you like one of these Doormats?

Shoes Off, Bitches – Custom Door Mat

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Houzz: 11 Reasons to Love Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Again

Houzz: 11 Reasons to Love Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Again

This is not about removing shoes, but it is relevant. Sometimes when people offer protecting carpets as a reason for requiring shoes-off, somebody will ask why they have carpets in the first place. There are good reasons for opting for carpets.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Russian Readers

Wow, I'm getting a lot of Russian visitors, or else one Russian reader whose spending a lot of time viewing this blog.

Any Russian readers care to comment? I suppose with Russians I'm preaching to the converted.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

PopSugar: Why Americans Really Should Embrace the "No Shoes in the House" Rule

PopSugar: Why Americans Really Should Embrace the "No Shoes in the House" Rule

It's been a long day at work. You're unlocking the front door with one hand and juggling a week's worth of groceries in the other. The last thing you think of doing upon entry is setting your bags down to take off your shoes, right? Here are five solid reasons why you should.

In the comments section on this, some people suggested getting rid of carpets to improve air quality. That is not necessarily the outcome you will get. If you don't have a carpet, you are more exposed to dust, unless you sweep up very frequently. Carpets also have advantages like noise reduction and less risk of falls for children and the elderly. Carpets or no carpets, however, shoes-off is always best.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

SPLASH Sun-Times: Should you remove your shoes indoors?

SPLASH Sun-Times: Should you remove your shoes indoors?

Are you a household where shoes are always removed before entering the home? Or do you prefer to wear shoes inside your house? Have you ever been taken aback when a friend insists you remove your shoes before entering their home (especially when you’ve just spent a lot of money and even more time picking out just the right pair)? In the U.S., asking your guests to remove their shoes before entering your home can cause reactions as opinionated as if you’d just asked them to outline the peace process in the Middle East. Why? In America we often applaud people for maintaining traditions of their culture, yet we’re quick to criticize another family’s habits (especially when it infringes upon our own). We are often a society of over-thinkers and over-analyzers, and sometimes rely too heavily upon the pseudo facts that fill our Facebook feeds. Although whether or not shoes should be removed before entering the home is rife with controversy (if you don’t believe me just search for “remove shoes indoors” and read the polarized opinions), I prefer a more calm approach. So let’s look at a few facts and figures so you can make your own informed decision about this topic.

New Vision: RDC refuses to remove shoes, thrown out of radio station

New Vision: RDC refuses to remove shoes, thrown out of radio station

A story from Uganda about some government official who was prevented from taking part in a public health radio program because he refused to remove his shoes in the studio. Apparently the studio did not allow shoes inside to prevent dust damaging the equipment.

Africans do not have western bourgeois manners. If an African person wants you to take your shoes off, she makes it very clear.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

I bet they do

I saw a forty-something couple walking their dogs in an affluent part of town the other day. They were both wearing crocs; the bloke was wearing black crocs and his wife was wearing yellow crocs.

A couple who value comfort and practicality over style, wearing shoes that are easy to slip off. I bet they keep a shoe-free home.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Endevourly: Remove Your Shoes At The Door

Endevourly: Remove Your Shoes At The Door

'With the outbreak of viruses and the flu season comes the fear of getting attacked with malignant things we sure do not want living in our body system. Want one of the many solutions to this? Simply remove your shoes at the door. Yes, it might sound simple and common sense, yet so many people/ families don’t do it. This simple action at the entering of your home can save you from so many troubles.'

Big in Finland: House slippers in Finland: the Reino

Big in Finland: House slippers in Finland: the Reino

"One of the Finnish customs is to remove one’s shoes when entering a house. But anyone who has done that during a time of the year that wasn’t summer in Finland knows that your feet can get cold very fast.

In order to avoid that, you can do plenty of different things: fill your house with rags or carpet, or wear thick socks – for instance made out of wool – over your normal socks. You can also have a different pair of footwear for indoors (that’s my preferred solution: Because in Spain there is no tradition of taking the shoes off, I just wore different ones when I was home and the snow could melt by the door, over some paper towels). Or you can wear house slippers."

Monday, September 07, 2015

Apartment Therapy: Alice, My Relatives Won't Take Off Their Shoes

Apartment Therapy: Alice, My Relatives Won't Take Off Their Shoes

"Wow, that does sound incredibly frustrating, especially since you don't really understand why they're resisting your policy (since they themselves subscribe to the same ideals). But let's not worry about motives, let's focus on action.

Whatever your family's feelings are about shoes off or on in the house, the fact remains that they are coming into your home and therefore should respect your rules. It sounds like you've done all you can in the moment and to no avail. I think it's time to take a next step: a preemptive strike.

Before their next visit, either call them on the phone or write an email and explain that you're concerned about dirt in the living room because your son is at that lick-the-floor age so you and your husband have decided that all visitors need to immediately remove their shoes at the door. Suggest that they bring along a pair of slippers or house shoes to put on if they want (and maybe leave them at your house if they visit often)."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Globalisation: Does the Future belong to Shoes On or Shoes Off?

We live in a globalised world, a world in which billions of Africans wear flip flops mass produced in China and where children in Malaysia support British football teams like Manchester United and Arsenal. How will this trend towards an increasingly localised planet affect the practice or non-practice of removing shoes in homes?

In the West, I think the trend will be towards removing shoes. Increased travel has made us more familiar with cultures where shoes are removed and many will adopt this. Immigration of peoples from countries where removing shoes is customary will also have this effect, especially as people of European ethnicity intermarry with Asians. I have noted before on this blog, the enthusiasm of young people for Japanese culture and I think that will have some small effect. In addition, the high cost of housing in countries like the UK means that people will want to look after their homes.

Yet there is a factor that works towards people keeping shoes on. This is the import of western movies and television in which shoes are worn at home, realistically or not. In the minds of many, keeping shoes on is associated with living a western lifestyle and a sign of affluence. Plenty of people in Africa the Middle East and Asia may hold the USA in contempt, but they still want to live what they perceive as an American lifestyle. I understand in many East European countries, removing shoes is seen as a bit old fashioned and keeping shoes on is associated with living a modern western lifestyle.

Yet I think the shoes off still has the advantage. Cultures will be selective in what they take from the West, as Japan has always been. In some Asian countries films are produced in which characters wear shoes indoors, despite the fact that nobody in those countries would do that in real life. The viewers are presumably able to distinguish this from real behaviour. But the ultimate advantage that shoes off has is that it is practical. No matter how popular western culture may be, the streets will still be just as dirty.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Samaa TV: Bank fined for forcing client to remove his shoes

Samaa TV: Bank fined for forcing client to remove his shoes

RIO DE JANEIRO: A Brazilian bank didn’t have a leg to stand on when it forced a client to remove his shoes and do business in his socks, a judge ruled.

Many banks in crime-ridden Brazil have tight security with metal detectors and, on entering the Caixa Economica Federal (CEF) branch in Sao Paulo state, Lourivaldo de Santana was asked to empty his pockets.

But after the watch, phone and other small items, one of the guards “asked him also to remove his boots and then said that if he wanted to enter he’d have to go in socks,” the Sao Paulo federal court spokesman said Tuesday.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Shoes off at my door

A little glimpse of my life: the entrance to my apartment with my 'Please take off your shoes' doormat.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Crime Survey Appointment

Thinking about whether to ask on arrival or inform in advance of a shoes-off rule....

I got selected, apparently at random, to take part in the National Crime Survey. The interviewer called at my door last week to arrange an appointment to do the interview. I had to make the decision as to whether to tell her I would expect shoes off or not. I decided not to bother telling her in advance. I assumed that if she was visiting lots of houses, she would probably be expecting to have to remove her shoes at some of them.

The lady came today. She was a very nice, elegant posh lady. I asked her to take her shoes off as we entered my apartment and she seemed fine about it. She came in barefoot, having removed her soft black loafers.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

NorthJersey.com: Guests removing their shoes? Hosts love it or hate it

NorthJersey.com: Guests removing their shoes? Hosts love it or hate it

You go to someone's home wearing shoes that aren't — or, at least, don't appear to be — dirty. So, do you take them off, as a growing number of young people are doing? Do you leave them on? Or do you stand in the doorway, waiting for your host's instructions? (Followed, perhaps, by a brief lecture on bacteria, toxins and good old-fashioned D-I-R-T?)

The North Jerseyans we posed the question to on social media were almost evenly split on the matter.

Every American online newspaper seems to cover this topic in a general interest article at some point. I rarely see this topic discussed in British newspapers, except in the etiquette column.

Mumsnet: AIBU to tell people 'house rules' before they come & stay?

Mumsnet: AIBU to tell people 'house rules' before they come & stay?

Contrary to what is often said, a lot of posters on this thread suggested it is better to ask for shoes-off on arrival, rather than in advance.

I love it when this issue comes up on Mumsnet.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bubblelews: Shoes on or off in the house?

Bubblelews: Shoes on or off in the house?

In America many people living here ask visitors, guests and residents to remove and to leave their shoes outside when entering a home. I ask my guests to remove their shoes and I have an area inside for them to be stowed until they depart.

My request is partially because I happen to live in an area with an abundance of farmland, and filthy sidewalks that are littered by men (and some un-lady like women) carelessly spitting, goose and duck excrement, cigarette butts just to name a few unsanitary reasons. I personally love to be barefoot and enjoy the luxury of my toes on carpet.

Friday, July 10, 2015



A recent study out of the University of Houston found that 39 percent of shoe soles sampled were contaminated with the bacteria C. diff (Clostridium difficile), a public health threat that is now resistant to a number of antibiotics. C. diff infections can cause severe diarrhea that may progress to colon inflammation and more serious health issues, especially if it does not respond to antibiotic treatment.

“Shoes are contaminated from diverse sources, and we are regularly contaminating our doorsteps by shoes,” says study author M. Jahangir Alam, Ph.D.

Sunday, July 05, 2015



'Certainly this has always been a topic of conversation in my house. In my family, we were raised to remove our shoes at the doorway and I have continued that practice in my own home. Most members of my extended family practiced the same behavior. Those that did not generally had little to no issue with being asked to remove their shoes at the door. There were a select few that took exception with this practice and those were not looked upon favorably.

For those of us that practice the removing of shoes in the home we probably give it little thought until that one person steps into our home and either reluctantly removes their shoes or begrudgingly does so with a myriad of questions or complaints. In my experience, the removing of shoes often seems to be more of an issue for the cable service person or other repair technicians than friends or family, but there are still others that unnecessarily and unreasonably take exception with the practice.'

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

PopSugar: The Lazy Girl's Guide to a Clean Home

PopSugar: The Lazy Girl's Guide to a Clean Home

'Taking off your shoes before going into your home may feel strange, but it actually helps minimize cleaning time. You won't have to vacuum up and mop away all the dirt and grime that you've been stepping on all day. It goes without saying that you should also clean your pets' paws before letting them enter your home.'

Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Mail: Keep your shoes off the sofa, always flush the toilet and NEVER leave dishes to soak overnight: The 50 most common house rules in Britain revealed

Daily Mail: Keep your shoes off the sofa, always flush the toilet and NEVER leave dishes to soak overnight: The 50 most common house rules in Britain revealed

'New research in the home lives of 2,000 people has revealed the 50 most common laws of the land, and perhaps unsurprisingly, mothers were twice as likely to have laid them down than fathers.'

'A third of people polled said they ask family and friends to take their shoes off when visiting, and in turn, three in ten have been made to feel awkward for forgetting to do the same at someone else's house.'

'Shoes off' is listed here as the third most common house rule in the UK.

A third of homes in the UK have a shoes-off policy? Not bad. In most of those thart don't shoes are more often likely to be removed anyway.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Improvised Life: Take Your Shoes Off ? (Signs, Opinions + Warhol)

Improvised Life: Take Your Shoes Off ? (Signs, Opinions + Warhol)

'We’re down with asking people to take their shoes off (except for the occasional party where people are dressed UP and fab shoes make the outfit.) It protects our soft-wood white floors and keeps out city dirt and vibes. And it’s a strange leveler: When people take their shoes off, they remove a part of the costume, and are left standing on… their own two feet.

Many cultures make it a practice, to keep the space clear and quiet.'

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Urban Beach Baby: Shoes Off Please...

Urban Beach Baby: Shoes Off Please...

'When I became a mom I wanted to share my childhood traditions and create a beachy home for my family. Once my daughter started crawling I realized the need for a shoes off house rule. The most used part of my house became the floor and I saw everything with fresh eyes. Dust, crumb bits and sand. Oh the sand was everywhere! I did the one thing that drove me bonkers and insisted family and guests keep their shoes at the door. Goodbye shoes mean hello clean floors and a smiling mama. Viola you can save time by sweeping up less dirt and scrubbing away unnecessary germs.'

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Milton Real Estate Guy: Please remove your shoes!

The Milton Real Estate Guy: Please remove your shoes!

'When you’ve listed your property for sale in the past, have you ever been annoyed by visitors walking through your home with their shoes on?

As a seller, you’re in a bit of a tough situation. You want your property to sell, so you don’t want to seem “difficult” to buyers by imposing all these rules on them. At the same time, you want to keep your home clean. I still think it’s common etiquette for people to remove their shoes when they enter your property, so I don’t think it’s a big deal to ask your listing agent to try to ensure that this happens.'

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Traffic Lighting

I am imagining a map of the world with countries coloured according to how strong the practice of removing shoes is.

Countries marked red would be those where removing shoes is the automatic norm and not removing shoes is largely unknown. Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore would be in the red zone, but possibly also Ukraine and maybe Russia.

Orange countries would be those where removing shoes is by far the most common practices, but exceptions are not unheard of. Norway and Sweden would probably be orange. In Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India might be orange.

Yellow countries would be those where removing shoes is more common than not removing shoes without it being a universal rule. Poland, which seems to be the least shoe-removing East European country would seem to be in the yellow zone. I think Canada is probably more yellow than orange.

The UK is definitely in the green zone. This would be countries where removing shoes and not removing shoes is equally common. Germany might also be green.

The blue zone would be countries where removing shoes is not the majority custom, but some people will keep shoe-free homes. Australia is probably blue. Large parts of the USA would be blue, but other parts green or yellow. Hawaii and Alaska are probably in the orange zone.

Black countries would be those where keeping shoes on is very much the norm and removing shoes contrary to custom. Spain, most of Italy and Latin American countries would be in the black zone.

My suggestions are based on what I have read on the internet and newspapers. Those who have been to these countries might have a different take.

Any other suggestions as to what countries might come under which colour code?

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Good Housekeeping: 7 Not-So Subtle Ways to Get Guests to Remove Their Shoes

Good Housekeeping: 7 Not-So Subtle Ways to Get Guests to Remove Their Shoes

'Even though going shoeless is often comfier (and certainly cleaner), it can be awkward to ask visitors to please check their footwear at the door. But if you're really irked by the sound of loafers on your new area rug, you might have to resort to some extreme measures (just prepare to be laughed at — we surely would)'

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Cannes Film Festival 2015

It's that time of year again. We have come to the end of the Cannes Film Festival and once again we have seen lots of celebrities on shoe-free yachts, looking glamorous in spite of their lack of heels. Images brought you by the Daily Mail.

Just remember, if it's glamorous on a yacht, it's glamorous at a dinner party.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Forgetting something, Kim?

Daily Mail: The moment every woman dreads: Kim Kardashian is forced to remove her heels as she goes through airport security

Woah! Hold on a minute there!

I'm sure I have seen dozens of photos of Kim Kardashian having to remove her shoes at airport security. It seems unlikely that she forgot this time. Perhaps she hoped the TSA officers would not notice she still had her stilettos on during the security check. They did not and she was sent back to remove them.

That's more like it

Monday, May 18, 2015

Or was it her decision?

Sue Arnold: Friends, Yam-Yams and countrymen and women . . . you can take the girl out of Walsall but you can’t take Walsall out of the girl

I reported that an unsuccessful Conservative parliamentary candidate had been required to remove her high heeled shoes to protect the floor of the venue at the election count. However, on her blog she implies it was her own decision to remove them:

The reason for my ‘no shoe’ floor show was simple. My high heels could seriously damage the floor of the university’s Walsall campus sports centre where the count was taking place – and I have far more respect for the surface than to just keep pacing up and down causing unnecessary damage.

It's encouraging to see a Conservative candidate showing such courtesy and respect. Of course, a Conservative would see the value of maintaining property paid for by hard-working tax-payers.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Conservative Candidate asked to remove her shoes at election count

Demotix: Conservative candidate asked to remove shoes at election count station

Conservative Party Candidate Sue Arnold was asked to remove her high heel shoes for risk of damaging the wooden basketball floor at the Walsall Constituency vote count station on the basketball court at The University of Wolverhampton.

Unusually practical, but it seems a bit unfair to make only those ladies wearing high heeled shoes remove them. They might have had their feet trampled by the people wearing shoes.

At the election, I stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative candidate for Stevenage Borough Council (I came second). I therefore attended both the general and local election counts just over a week ago. Like this count in Walsall, the counts were held in a sports hall. However, the floor was in a terrible state of repair; covered in scratches and black marks. Presumably this was a result of being regularly used for public events. It was a sad sight.

When I was at sixth-form, exams were held in the gym, but they used to lay down plastic sheeting to protect the floor from the students' shoes. If they were not prepared to ask for shoes off at the election count, they could have could at least have done that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mahogany Drive: No Shoes Allowed

Mahogany Drive: No Shoes Allowed

What about my flip flops? Can I wear those in the house?
Do you wear them outside?
Yes, but they aren't real shoes.
Do you wear them in public restrooms?
Then you can't wear them in the house.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

The Sidorovs

This is not new. I've seen it on a few places on the web, including on DeviantArt. I don't know who the original artist is.

The Sidorovs are the Simpsons re-designed as a Russian family, with all the tropes of everyday Russian life, such as the icon on the wall and drinking Baltica beer. Like all Russians, they are all wearing slippers at home.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Pinoy Transplant in Iowa: Shoeless Party

Pinoy Transplant in Iowa: Shoeless Party

'Filipinos and shoes have some kind of notoriety, when Imelda Marcos was found to have more than 2000 pairs of shoes that she left behind in MalacaƱang Palace during the People Power Revolution in 1986. But that is a different subject altogether.

Not just in the Philippines, but many Asian countries have this common custom of taking off their shoes when entering their own home or somebody’s home. The practice is more cultural rather than religious. It also has a practical reason for it, like in Japan, where they sit, eat, and even sleep on the floor, so keeping street shoes off would maintain the cleanliness of the floor.'

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Samantha Cameron demonstrates Modern British Etiquette

Daily Mail: Time for a pedicure? SamCam shows off a set of polish-free toenails after removing her shoes while taking tea with a voter

Samantha Cameron removed her shoes while visiting the home of a voter. It's great to see a public figure like the prime minister's wife doing this. It shows that removing shoes in homes is pretty much the norm for most people in Britain today.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mumsnet: To ban the wearing of shoes in our house?

Mumsnet: To ban the wearing of shoes in our house?

More polarised debate on Mumsnet. Both shoes-off and shoes-on views are strongly represented there.

The people who say "We don't wear shoes in the house, but we would never ask guests" are not the middle-ground in this debate; they are on the shoes-on side. Nobody is debating whether you should take your own shoes off or make your children remove their shoes. The big question is whether you should ask guests for shoes-off.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fry Sauce and Grits: 12 Creative Ways to Ask Guests to Take Off their Shoes

Fry Sauce and Grits: 12 Creative Ways to Ask Guests to Take Off their Shoes

'Remember, your house is your home and you set the rules at your house. It’s never rude to enforce rules in your home. If people don’t follow your rules, they’re the ones being rude and disrespectful for not caring about you as an individual and the rules you’ve set place in your home.'

Saturday, April 04, 2015

I am now a Catholic

Not that it has anything to do with removing shoes in homes, but I am now a Catholic. I was received into the Catholic Church at tonight's Easter Vigil Mass.

Many thanks to Bob from North Carolina and his wife for being a great example of Catholics who keep a shoe-free home.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bed and Breakfasts in the UK

It does seem to have become very common for B & B's in the UK to ask guests to remove their shoes at the door. It is encouraging that they feel able to ask this of paying customers. It makes sense to do this as they are taking in visitors into their homes on a regular basis. They don't want their carpets or flooring ruined.

It seems to be most common for bed and breakfast places in the Scottish highlands to ask for shoes off. That is unsurprising, as their guests are going to be doing a lot of walking. However, there seem to be a fair view bed and breakfasts on the south coast and other parts of England with a no-shoes policy.

It sometimes gets negative reviews on TripAdvisor and other review sites. I suppose it is part of the different experience of the British 'Staycation.' People may be used to holidaying abroad and staying in hotels where they can keep their shoes on. Staying in somebody's house and having to shed the shoes may seem a bit strange for a lot of holidaymakers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Et tu, Magistra

A short story I wrote some time ago. It's not one of my best.

In British schools, there has been legal requirment for a "daily act of worship, of broadly Christian character." I imagine that sounds completely bizarre to Americans. These 'worship' ceremonies are called assmblies and typically involve no more than the headmaster telling a story with a moral lesson ('broadly Christian character'). It's not a rigidly enforced, but it is still technically a legal requirement (please don't argue with me about this).

These assemblies are often held in gyms, hence this story. I remember when I was eleven years old, our head of form used to wear really high heels and kick them off for the school assembly in the gym.

Kate was just grabbing a coffee in the school staff room when she was approached by Judy, the headmistress.

"I liked the display you put up in your classroom, Jane," said Judy. "Those kids put some real effort into that work and it shows."

"Thanks a lot, Judy," replied Kate.

"Um, I know this might sound awkward, Kate, but I have noticed that when your class take their shoes off in the gym for the assembly, you keep yours on," said Judy, looking slightly embarassed.

"Yes, I do. I always make sure the class take their shoes off before they come in the gym though," replied Kate. "I've always kept mine on. Jennifer and Helen keep their shoes on too."

Judy nodded.

"Um, yes. Well I was going to speak to Jennifer and Helen too. I just caught you first," said Judy.

"You want us to take our shoes off too?" asked Kate, making a face.

"Well, yes."

"Seriously? Is that really necessary? I mean, the kids take their shoes off in assembly, so it can't make that much difference," argued Kate.

"Yes, but their shoes are all flat. Your shoes have heels. And I have noticed a few scratches in the gym," said Judy.

"I'd rather not take my shoes off. I'd feel a bit silly with my class in my stocking feet," said Kate.

"You're not the one giving the lesson. I'm the one standing in front of them all and I take my shoes off," said Judy.

"You don't feel at all silly?" asked Kate.

"No. And it gives my feet a break," replied Judy.

"But you know what my class are like. When they are coming in for assembly, they are pulling each other's hair and talking. How am I supposed to keep my authority with them when I'm standing their with no shoes on? I'll be a good deal shorter as well," protested Kate.

"You really think it would make that much difference, Kate?" asked Judy, who was starting to look exasperated. "I'm not sure why you are being difficult about this."

"I dress for work. I dress to present an image of authority and elegance. And now you want to take that away from me."

"I'm not asking you to teach the class in a boiler suit. I'm not asking you to have your shoes off all day. I'm asking you to take your shoes off for twenty minutes during assembly. Is that so difficult?" asked Judy.

Kate said nothing.

"You can always wear slippers in the gym," suggested Judy.

Kate gave a disgusted look.

"No thanks! I'd feel ridiculous in my bedroom slippers. I'd rather be barefoot if I have to be," she replied. "You are absolutely firm on this?"

"Yes, Kate. We spent a lot of money on that gymnasium. There is no money in the budget for replacing the floor."

"Fine, but if you get ill, I'm not leading the assembly," said Kate with a shrug.

"Sure Kate. Get the vicar in to give a talk if that happens," said Judy, satisfied with winning the argument.

"If he does, I'll leave it to Helen to ask him to take his shoes off."

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Daily Tonic: 4 Reasons to Leave Your Shoes at the Door

The Daily Tonic: 4 Reasons to Leave Your Shoes at the Door

'I didn’t always but, now that I have little ones crawling all over my floor, I ask people to take off their shoes upon entering my home. Most of the time I feel bad asking that of them, especially if it isn’t their first instinct (I’m working on that). But, the more I learned about why it’s a good idea (as if the fact that those shoes have most likely been in a public bathroom recently isn’t enough), the more I felt confident in my request. Below, see my top 4 reasons to remove your shoes when you walk in the door.'

Bob's Stuff: Reasons It's GOOD To Ask Guests To Remove Shoes When Visiting

Bob's Stuff: Reasons It's GOOD To Ask Guests To Remove Shoes When Visiting

'OK...at the Bonenfant household we're one of "THOSE" people. Yes, we ask guests to take their shoes off when visiting inside. Check out this story:

Do you annoy your friends by making them take their shoes off when they come over? Well here are five reasons you're NOT crazy for doing it.'

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Houzz: Take a Step Back and Turn Your Home Into a Shoe-Free Zone

Houzz: Take a Step Back and Turn Your Home Into a Shoe-Free Zone

The momentyou enter your home after a long day is an opportunity to slow down — and one simple way to ensure you do that is by getting in the habit of taking off your shoes and slipping on a pair of comfy slippers. This small daily ritual says that the inside of your home is a special place. It encourages relaxation and ease. Why not give it a try?

Realtor.com: Why You May Have to Take Your Shoes Off at an Open House

Realtor.com: Why You May Have to Take Your Shoes Off at an Open House

It’s been a long week, and now you’re spending your weekend house hunting, running from one open house to another. You’re tired but still hopeful as you step into yet another home, only to be greeted with a command: Take off your shoes. What gives?

It might sound like a ridiculous request, but it’s not. Sellers have good reasons to make their open houses shoeless, but they should also take care not to offend buyers in the process.

What’s the big deal about shoes?

Sellers go through the trouble of making their homes sparkling clean before an open house, paying for that shine from their wallets or with their own sweat. Open houses can attract hundreds of people—and twice that number of feet—so some sellers want to reduce the chance of floor damage, like from the following

Big in Finland: No shoes at home in Finland

Big in Finland: No shoes at home in Finland

'Not only Japanese people remove their shoes when they walk into a home: Finnish people do so too.

To everyone who isn’t used to remove their shoes at the entrances of the houses – like me – this is quite shocking.

I went to Finland at the end of a summer, and it was then when I learned about this tradition. I must admit that in summer it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference, but in winter you truly understand why Finns do what they do.

And not doing it is truly a faux-pas in Finland.'

Green Mom: Reasons to Remove Shoes Inside

Green Mom: Reasons to Remove Shoes Inside

When you visit other people in their homes, do you keep your shoes on or remove them? I come across more and more people who ask visitors to remove their shoes, and I am completely comfortable with this request. Over the years I have discovered that this informal policy is not appreciated by everyone and is quite controversial, depending on whom you ask.
People have various reasons behind wanting shoes taken off before entering a home. In some countries, it is considered disrespectful to walk into a home with shoes on. However, in the United States and Canada, most people leave them on. Many remove shoes due to cultural customs, but I began to wonder what other motivations there are to remove shoes when entering a home.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Decision Revisited

A new short story.

It was Tuesday evening, which meant it was the church youth group's Bible study. The church's teenagers began arriving at the house of Alan the youth pastor and his wife, Wendy. Some of them were being dropped off by their parents, others had walked.

The young guests removed their shoes as they entered, as they knew that Wendy and Alan asked for shoes-off in their little house to protect their carpets.

One of the members of the youth group stepped into the house. She was a pretty blond girl of sixteen, by the name of Emily.

Emily was wearing a pair of towering high-heeled shoes.

"Nice shoes," commented Alan after she stepped inside.

"They're new," replied Emily. "My dad bought them for me the other day." Emily's parents were divorced. She did not see her father as often as she would have liked, but he seemed to make up for it by buying her lots of presents.

Emily began walking down the hallway. She made no move to remove her shoes.

The girl gave Alan and Wendy a pouty look as if daring them to ask her to take off her stilettos.

Alan looked at Wendy in a silent inquiry as to whether to say something to the girl. Wendy shrugged, as if to say this was typical Emily-behaviour and to be humoured.

Emily was staggering in her new shoes. She was clearly not used to walking in high heels. Wendy stifled a laugh.

"Sexy!" said one of the boys, looking down at Emily's shoes. "Shut up!" said one of the other girls, while another boy gave him a playful thump.

Emily sat down on the sofa in the living room where they held their Bible study.

A girl called Hannah, who was sat on the floor near to the sofa turned to Emily.

"You should take your shoes off, Emily," Hannah chided.

"I don't want to! These shoes are new," replied Emily.

"OK, people, can I have your attention?" announced the youth pastor.

The noise of chatter died down slowly.

"We're going to be looking at a passage in the Bible tonight. But first we need to find it. I've written the reference on a piece of paper that is hidden somewhere in this room. You need to look very hard to find it," instructed Alan.

"If we can't find it, can we watch television instead?" asked one of the boys.

"No!" replied Alan and Wendy together.

The young people immediately began busying themselves looking through every corner of the room. All except Emily. She remained seated on the sofa. Perhaps she was starting to worry about damaging the carpet and thought it best to remain still.

Wendy sighed. She supposed she should have just asked Emily nicely to remove her shoes when she had first arrived. It was rather too late now. If she did it next time, she would just have to be straight with her.

Eventually, the paper with the passage was found; lodged carefully between two CDs.

"It's Isaiah 53:1-10; if you've got your Bibles with you," announced Wendy.

Wendy then proceeded to read the passage in a brightly coloured edition of the New International Version.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Alan then gave a short summary of the passage, explaining that the passage was a prophecy regarding Jesus Christ, explaining that it foretold Jesus' suffering and death on the cross.

"On the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins," said Alan. "He was punished for all our cheating, all our stealing, for all the bad language we used and for all the lies we told. Have you ever been mean or disrespectful to somebody? Jesus was punished on the cross so you could be forgiven."

Throughout Alan's short sermon, Emily looked very uncomfortable.

One of the girls asked a question about whether forgiveness was automatic or whether repentance was needed. Alan gave her a careful reply. Once that was done he took out his acoustic guitar and began leading the young people in a worship song.

During the song, Emily slipped off her high-heeled shoes and tiptoed out to the hall. She then pattered back in her bare feet now looking far more cheerful than she had when she came in.

Wendy gave her a warm smile. At least something of the evening's message had sunk in.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Visiting the Vicarage

A short story I wrote a while ago.

Phoebe Walker, wife of the Rev. Martin Walker, was dusting when the doorbell rang.

Phoebe pattered over to the vicarage door and opened it to find Helen Lewis. Helen was a slim, dark haired lady in her forties. She was wearing a floral dress and sandals.

"Helen, it's nice to see you," said Phoebe.

The visitor stepped into the house.

"I've come to show you the Sunday school rota I've drawn up. I wanted to check it with you first," said Helen, as she entered the hallway. "We definitely need to get it done before the term starts and before everyone goes on holiday. I know Mary is planning on going to France for three weeks and Louise is away most of August. We also need to put Tina on the rota now that she said she could help.."

What Helen was saying barely registered with Phoebe. All she could think about was the sight of Helen's sandaled feet moving across her carpeted hallway, desecrating and despoiling it.

Phoebe took her eyes off Helen's feet.

"Have you forgotten something, Helen?" asked Phoebe.

Helen looked back blankly.

Phoebe couldn't believe that Helen had forgotten about the shoes-off rule in the vicarage. She had visited plenty of times before, including coffee mornings with a whole bunch of ladies in their stocking feet. Not to mention the huge pile of shoes, sandals and boots she had just walked past.

The vicar's wife gave Helen the look she always gave people who forgot to take their shoes off. She looked down at Helen's feet, then looked up at her, making a faint smile with gritted teeth. It usually did the trick.

"Ah, of course. I forgot," said Helen with a smile. "You have to take your shoes off here. I'm visiting the Mosque. Or is it a Gudwara?"

Phoebe was a little irritated at Helen's sarcasm.

"We get visitors every day. We don't want to wear out the carpets," said Phoebe.

Helen did not move away from where she stood on the carpet. She seemed to be standing her ground.

Phoebe looked down at Helen's feet again and stepped forward.

Helen was forced to retreat towards the door. Instead of removing her shoes, she gave a laugh.

"Very sensible, Phoebe. What with the weather being so awful," she said.

The woman was of course being sarcastic. The weather had been delightful over the past week with sunshine and not a drop of rain.

"Whatever the weather, the streets are never clean," replied Phoebe.

Phoebe knew the game Helen was playing. She wanted her to say It's okay, you can leave your shoes on.

Helen looked down at her feet, as though contemplating removing her sandals.

"I'm only going to be five minutes," she said.

Helen seemed to be testing her limits, seeing how far she could push the other woman. Her eleven year old niece had behaved the same way when she had stayed at the vicarage for a week, straining at the boundaries of her aunt's patience.

"It won't take you long to put them back on again," replied Phoebe.

Helen gave Phoebe a pleading look. She was still hoping that Phoebe would say It's okay, you can leave your shoes on.

The visitor lifted up her leg, as though about to slip off her sandal. She gave Phoebe one last desperate look, trying hard to look a little like Bambi just after his mother had been shot.

Phoebe remained silent.

The defeated Helen removed one sandal and dropped it to the floor by the door.

The vicar's wife was starting to look forward to the prospect of unruly children at Sunday school.

Knowing the game was up, Helen finally removed her other sandal.

Phoebe wondered if perhaps Helen did not want to be barefoot.

"Did you want to borrow some socks?" she offered.

"No thanks. As I said, I'll only be five minutes, I'll be fine in my bare feet," she replied, giving a loud sigh.

Phoebe smiled, elated at having stood her ground. Was that really so painful?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

From Here to Saint Valentine's Day #8

Things we love about having a shoe-free home.

All the family together with their shoes off.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

From Here to St. Valentine's Day #6

Things we love about having a shoe-free home.

Shoeless parties- they're fun!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

From Here to St. Valentine's Day #5

Things we love about having a shoe-free home.

A safe indoor environment for children to grow up in.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

From Here to St. Valentine's Day #4

Things we love about having a shoe-free home

Equality: No matter how important or famous you may be- the shoes-off rule applies to you.

It's not a surprise that removing shoes is strong in social democratic Scandinavia and in former Communist Eastern Europe.

Monday, February 09, 2015

From Here to St. Valentine's Day #3

Things we love about having a shoe-free home.

Keeping nasty stuff out of the house.

Animal excrement, lead paint, weed killer, toxoplasmosis- we don't want that tracked into our homes.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

From Here to St. Valentine's Day #2

Things we love about having a shoe-free home

You can put your feet up on the sofa without having to take your shoes off first.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

From Here to St. Valentine's Day #1

Things we love about having a shoe-free home

The feel of carpet under our feet

(Series suggested by Itinerante)

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


I was in London today, having some training in professional boundaries. Boundaries are those rules and conventions which professionals like myself maintain. Things like not accepting phone calls from clients outside work hours, not mixing up work and politics, not lending money to clients are all boundaries.

Beginning the training, the facilitator asked us to offer examples of boundaries that we encounter in everyday life. I offered up the example of requiring shoes-off in homes.

Having a shoes-off rule is an important boundary; it marks out the fact that the home is the owner's private space and that it must be respected. One cannot expect to enter another person's home without taking into account the wishes and preferences of the person living there, however welcoming they may be.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Houston Chronicle: Shoeless dad wants slippers inside his daughters' homes

Houston Chronicle: Shoeless dad wants slippers inside his daughters' homes

Dear Abby:

We have a couple of daughters who have told us we must take off our shoes if we visit them (and our grandchildren). Although I'm not sure of their reasons for this, I do know for sure that we have never tracked any kind of dirt into their house when we visited.

I have very sensitive feet. I cannot even walk outside barefoot. On top of that, my feet get cold if they aren't covered. I have always worn house slippers at home if I didn't have shoes on.

In a discussion with my wife, I suggested that their request was both inconsiderate and disrespectful. I also said they should provide alternatives to shoes for visitors if they expect guests to remove their shoes. What is the proper etiquette?

Cold Feet in Iowa

Dear Cold Feet:

A person does not have to track "dirt" into a house to carry germs on the soles of one's shoes. If guests have walked on a sidewalk or driveway where someone has walked a dog or spat, then I can see why a parent might want shoes removed if children play on the floor.

Good manners in a case like this would be to cheerfully cooperate with your hosts and, if slippers are not provided, to bring a pair over that you can leave for the next time you visit.

Wandering Educators: The quiet custom of removing your shoes

Wandering Educators: The quiet custom of removing your shoes

'As a white American with Eastern European heritage, I come from a culture where you do not remove your shoes as soon as you enter someone else's house. You wear your shoes in the house, removing them when sitting or climbing on things such as a bed or sofa. Growing up, I had one friend whose family removed their shoes when they entered their house. I found this extremely strange as a child. I always had questions, such as do they leave all their shoes by the door? I had about eight pairs of shoes as a child, and I wondered if I lived there, would all eight pairs stay by the door all the time? How could you see how your outfit looked without seeing the whole complete outfit, including shoes? Does their dad get to keep less of his shoes by the door since they take up more room? What if you forgot something in the house and had to run back in at last minute? I had so many questions about this culturally strange custom.

Fast forward to 2011. I meet my now husband at a beach bonfire party in Bermuda where we both live and work. The first time I entered his house to "casually hang out," I saw him remove his shoes and place them by the front door. I followed suit, awkwardly removing my shoes as well, curling my toes under, as I felt slightly strange and exposed. Shoes, like clothes, can be worn like armor; imagine a pair of knee-high leather black books or even sexy high heels, all armor. A first "hang-out" with a guy you think is extremely attractive requires armor. I, however choose to wear flip-flops - it is Bermuda.

Many cultures participate in the custom of removing of shoes upon entering a home or religious place. Mainly Asian cultures, most notably Japanese and Indian, partake of this etiquette.'

Friday, January 23, 2015

Treehugger: 6 reasons to remove your shoes inside

Treehugger: 6 reasons to remove your shoes inside

Shoes are great. We’ve been wearing them for 40,000 years and needless to say, they’ve served us well. The first forms of protective footwear evolved from simple efforts to keep our trotters insulated from snow and cold – and given that we don’t live on a planet lined with smooth, silky grass and other assorted soothing surfaces, shoes are a basic comfort for many of us.

But do we need to wear them inside? Many cultures think not, yet in the United States and other countries, oftentimes the shoes come inside attached to the feet of their wearer. Some households have a no-shoes policy, which can be met with scorn from the unshod-shy. But there are plenty of reasons why it might be a good idea to leave the loafers off when you come indoors.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Vacuum Cleaner

I have been using the same vacuum cleaner for the past six years and it has become very worn out and ineffective. I got really fed up of it on Thursday evening and resolved to buy a new vacuum cleaner.

The new cleaner is like the old one, a bagless cylinder. I got it for £50 at Tescos. I was amazed at how powerful it is. It works like a dream and sucks up dirt like a black hole. I was in carpet heaven after I started using it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Calgary Herald: Ask Rita: Plenty of reasons to remove your shoes

Calgary Herald: Ask Rita: Plenty of reasons to remove your shoes

Q: I’m having a party and hate asking people to remove their shoes. Is there something I could offer at the front door to clean people’s shoes off with?

A: A professional shoe shiner? Now that would be a memorable party. Seriously? I guess a bottle of Lysol and some paper towels would do the trick. Or, you could buy those polypropylene shoe covers that furniture delivery people sometimes wear — Home Depot sells a package of 3 for $4.47 — but you may as well just make people take off their shoes and give them slippers or socks. Better, you could purchase multiple pairs of Slipper Genies — Walmart.ca has them for $6.97 a pair — and have your guests dust and polish your floors while they sip their cocktails!

I used to be one of those people who scoffed at having to remove one’s shoes at the door; in a column a few years back I railed against the shoes-off Nazis who clearly didn’t understand how the right footwear can make or break one’s outfit. I have since had a complete change of heart — yes, it’s been known to happen — and now believe it is always good manners to remove one’s shoes when indoors. There’s actually a guy in the U.K. named Celestial Fundy — I suspect it’s a pseudonym — who has a blog entirely devoted to the subject called, what else, Shoes Off At The Door Please.

On it, he lists 37 reasons why one should, among them: #11 Shoes pick up traces of animal excrement; and #23 An Asian, Scandinavian, or East European visitor will feel more at home. Indeed, this past summer a friend came by with a visitor from Japan and her two children, and I could tell it made the visitors very uncomfortable when I told them to leave their shoes on. I hadn’t washed and floor and didn’t want their socks to get dirty! This take your shoes off thing means you have to keep a clean house. Which is far easier when people aren’t tracking dirt in on their shoes! It also means that when invited to someone’s home, guests need to plan their outfits accordingly, practise good foot hygiene — a pedicure helps — and not have any holes in the socks. Or bring slippers. Fancy slippers to wear at house parties could become all the rage.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

"It's a house, not a museum"

It's a house, not a museum

Ever heard that before? On internet discussions about shoes-off rules, somebody on the shoes-on side usually makes this comment.

Logically one would think that this entails that removing shoes in a museum is normal, while removing shoes in an house is not. Have the people making this comment ever been required to remove their shoes in a museum? I have. It was in a museum devoted to Sumo Wrestling in Japan. In a country where removing shoes in public buildings is common, like Japan, one will find museums with a shoes-off rule. You might perhaps find them in a country with harsh winters, like Canada or Norway. However, you would have to search hard to find such a museum in the UK or the USA.

There are some very significant differences between museums and houses. A museum is likely to get a constant stream of foot traffic from visitors. Hence, contrary to the statement above, one would actually expect a carpet in a museum to be a lot dirtier than a carpet in an house.

You are not very likely to sit down on the floor of a museum. Nor are your children likely to spend much time playing on the floor of a museum, or at least you would prefer they did not. You won't be eating in a museum. You won't be walking barefoot on the floor of a museum, unless it is one of those rare museums we mentioned with a no-shoes rule.

A museum is also likely to have a dedicated team of cleaners working there every day. You might be fortunate enough to be able to afford one cleaner to visit your house once a week. but this is too expensive for many families.

Having a shoes-off rule in a museum might not be a bad idea, but you have a lot more reasons for wanting shoes-off in your house.