Sunday, December 18, 2016

Is Dirt Good for Children?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Daily Mail: Do YOU ask guests to take their shoes off when they arrive at your house? One mother says visitors who don't make her ‘blood boil’ – but others insist it’s ‘common’

Daily Mail: Do YOU ask guests to take their shoes off when they arrive at your house? One mother says visitors who don't make her ‘blood boil’ – but others insist it’s ‘common’

A mother who insists upon guests removing their shoes when they visit her house has sparked a furious debate online.

The woman told Mumsnet it makes her 'blood boil' when her in-laws walk through her house in their outdoor shoes - but some women said asking guests to take them off was 'common' or 'suburban'.

Mumsnet is such a warzone.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


On the Beach, in the House

Saturday, December 03, 2016


Given the popularity of the Hygge fad among the British middle class, it is perhaps surprising I haven't mentioned this before. Hygge is the Danish culture of coziness. It's all about woolly jumpers, warm fires and scented candles. It seems to be taking Britain by storm.

It's worth bearing in mind that in Denmark, people generally don't wear shoes indoors. Stomping around your house in shoes is very un-Hygge. Woolly socks are very essential to Hygge.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Kristin Schell: Barefoot Hospitality

Kristin Schell: Barefoot Hospitality

"My neighbor and I walked slowly side-by-side down our street to her house. She opened the front door and motioned with her hand to a rack neatly lined with shoes.

“Please,” she said in a heavy accent I have grown to understand. I slipped my shoes off, acutely aware of my need for a pedicure.

This was the first time I had been invited inside my neighbor’s home. We usually meet in the front yard at the Turquoise Table or at neighborhood gatherings. Barefoot, I followed my host into the kitchen for a delightful morning of conversation while savoring homemade chai.

Taking your shoes off before entering someone’s home is one of the world’s most universal customs. To put off the shoes, or sandals, has long been an act of respect in many cultures and religions. In ancient times, it was forbidden to enter a temple or holy place with shoes on. Jews removed their shoes whenever they entered a house as a sign of civility and reverence. The priests of Israel wore no shoes while ministering. Moses and Joshua were commanded to take off their shoes when on holy ground."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

When in Qatar..


I found out this week that I have something in common with President Elect Donald Trump. Both he and I prefer our steaks well cooked.

Yes, I am one of those awful classless people who like their steaks blackened to a crisp. You might think with my Europhile metropolitan politics, that I would be a sophisticated foodie type, but I am in fact thoroughly plebian and provincial in my tastes. Alongside well-cooked steaks, I always drink beer with my meals, never wine, I like spam and I prefer death metal to opera. And I wear Crocs.

I am probably not the best person to try and persuade others that having a shoes-off policy can be classy and not at all tacky when I'm such a classless jerk myself.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Celebrities on Yachts

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Europhile Tories know best!

A Twitter exchange with the excellent Charles Tannock, a Conservative member of the European Parliament and a solid voice against the delusional Brexiteers.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

HellaWella: The 6 sneaky ways you’re making your home dustier

HellaWella: The 6 sneaky ways you’re making your home dustier

"Walk in the house, take your shoes off. It sounds simple, but after a hard day’s work, stopping on your way to the couch sounds like a pain. Instead, think of it as a way to save yourself from extra dusting duty. Even a few scuffs on the doormat won’t keep dirt, dust and grime from being tracked into your home on your shoes.

Stepping out of your kicks helps you chill out, too. When you take off your shoes, you’ll physically signal that the day is over and you can relax. Sold? Make things easier by placing a basket by the front door to catch shoes or lay out a mat to set dirty or wet shoes on as soon as you step inside."

64% of Britons say you Should Take your Shoes Off at the Door

Mail Online: The 10 etiquette rules you should NEVER break when visiting someone's house (including looking in the fridge and asking for the Wi-Fi password)

House-proud Brits also flagged wearing shoes on the carpet as a house-guest no-no, with 64 per cent revealing they think guests should take off their shoes when entering someone else’s home.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nina Bradley Clarke: Why We Have a “No Shoes” Rule In Our House (and You Should Too)

Nina Bradley Clarke: Why We Have a “No Shoes” Rule In Our House (and You Should Too)

"So where does this bacteria come from? Mostly from the feces we walk on left behind by birds, dogs, and humans (from public restrooms…OMG…gross). 96 percent “of coliform and E. coli bacteria on the outside of the shoes indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors. Our study also indicated that bacteria can be tracked by shoes over a long distance into your home or personal space after the shoes were contaminated with bacteria,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona.

But bacteria isn’t the only thing your shoes can bring into your house. Chemicals and toxins like pesticides can also make their way into your home from the chemicals that are found on lawns. Other chemicals include coal tar from asphalt roads and gasoline from rainwater. If you have pets or children at home, they are the ones who are at greater risk of exposure since they are the ones who are crawling and laying on the floor."

Hotel-Style Slippers

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Understanding my Sign

I went to a restaurant with some neighbours from my apartment block yesterday evening. I invited them back to mine for drinks afterwards. One lady acknowledged the sign on my door and said she would take her shoes off. She obviously understood it.

A few people have said they can't understand my sign because it is in German. That surprises me. I never studied German at school, but I knew 'bitte' means please. There are pictures of shoes on the sign and one might guess that 'schuhe' means shoes. I don't think it should take any great intelligence to conclude that it means 'please take off your shoes.'

Not that it matters; I am quite happy to ask people politely to remove their shoes.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Real Housewives of Auckland Episode 2

Some inane reality show from New Zealand. In this episode this group of socialite ladies visit another wealthy lady who has a no-shoes rule to protect her marble floors. Good for her. Marble floors are strong, but they can still get scratched or marked.

The ladies seem surprised and bothered at being asked to remove their shoes. I had the impression that removing shoes in homes was at least slightly more common in New Zealand than here in the UK and a lot of NZ people like going barefoot, but evidently not Kiwi ladies with lots of money.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

How to STOP wearing shoes in the house

This is Why You Should Avoid Wearing Shoes in Your Home

Twitter Exchange with a Ukrainian

This Ukrainian lady was baffled by the concept of a no-shoes rule, as from her experience, removing your shoes was what everyone does in an home. A shoes-off policy to her is presumably like having a 'no peeing on the carpet policy,' one just wouldn't do that.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Does New Jersey take off their shoes when entering someone's house?

Generally positive answers. It's a bit of a myth that Americans always keep their shoes on in homes.

Daily Mail: Take your shoes off, leave suitcases at home and don't ever shout: How to make it look like you belong on a superyacht

Daily Mail: Take your shoes off, leave suitcases at home and don't ever shout: How to make it look like you belong on a superyacht

by Caroline McGuire

Rupert Wakeley from Cosmos Yachting said: 'You should always remove your shoes before boarding the yacht, unless the Captain or owner says you may leave them on.

'There's an unwritten rule that you avoid shoes with marking soles or heels as they damage the teak decks, and boat shoes, such as deck shoes, are the preferred footwear onboard.'

Sunday, September 25, 2016 Here are a few Good Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes When You Walk in the Door Here are a few Good Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes When You Walk in the Door

"There's nothing more annoying that having someone walk onto my newly-scrubbed kitchen floor with their dirty shoes. My "remove your shoes" rule means less dirt to clean up and a cleaner home, and less work is very attractive to me!

Taking off your shoes saves you money, too. Your flooring is less likely to get scuffed, scratched or torn when you walk in slippers or socks instead of hard soled shoes. Plus, you won't need to clean your flooring as often, which prolongs the life of the finish and reduces damage over time.

If you ever visit me, you'll need to take off your shoes as soon as you walk in the door. Don't worry. I have cute slippers for you to wear. I look forward to doing the same if I ever visit your home!"

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

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

by Sarah Latta

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.

Your Perfect Space: Are your carpets making you sick?

Your Perfect Space: Are your carpets making you sick?

"In my home we take our shoes off before going inside, as one thing I know for sure is shoes worn all over the place can track some nasty stuff through a house, which manifests as toxic dust that can really impact your health.

Imagine you walk along or across a road even once a day. If you live in a town or city it will likely be a busy road. All of the nasty chemicals from passing cars, exhaust fumes, etc. are being picked up on your shoes. Then you go home and walk those same shoes through your house… Not a good scene for your health – especially if you have young children who spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor! It’s a fact that most household dust is tracked in from shoes with a significantly smaller proportion coming in from outdoor air."

It's Controversial

Forever Amber: 4 Unexpectedly Controversial Topics That Are Practically Guaranteed to Get People Talking on Your Blog

The internet is roughly divided into people who always remove their shoes indoors, and who think anyone who doesn’t do this is a disgusting slob, and those who don’t remove their shoes, and think those who insist on it are a bit uptight, really. Whichever side of this argument you fall on, you can guarantee a furious backlash from those on the other side – it’s like the Windows/MAC debate, basically, only much more heated.

Dip your toe (either shod or unshod) into these troubled waters at your peril – it will generate a LOT of discussion, but it probably won’t end well. (Oh, and be prepared to be told at least a dozen times that Canadians and Japanese people ALWAYS remove their shoes. Then prepare to be told the same thing a few dozen MORE times. Did you know that in Canada and Japan, it’s really frowned upon not to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home? Because in Canada and Japan, it’s really frowned upon not to remove your shoes when entering someone’s house. It’s also like that in Canada. Oh, and Japan! And Canada!)

That is why I get hundreds of visitors to this blog. Rarely less than 120 a day.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Changing Room Policy

GL1 Leisure Centre in Gloucester, England, announced on Twitter that they would be implementing a shoes-off policy in their changing rooms:

In Europe, it is pretty common for shoes off to be required in pool changing rooms. Here in the UK, that is a little less common. I remember being shocked when I was 16, when a shower block at a French campsite required shoes to be left outside.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mommy Outside the Box: Take Your Damn Shoes Off.

Mommy Outside the Box: Take Your Damn Shoes Off.

"At the front entrance of the daycare that my daughter goes to there is a big bold sign that says PLEASE REMOVE YOUR SHOES! I have, for the five years we have been part of the daycare, removed my shoes every single time I walked though that door. It doesn’t matter if my shoes are “clean” – that is I’m not tracking in mud or snow, the shoes come off no matter what. And every single day (well week day) I have watched somewhere in the neighbourhood of half the other parents completely ignore that sign. They trudge in with their flip flops, running shoes, even their winter boots. They open that door, with the big bold sign, completing ignoring the plea to take off their foot wear.

I know you’re asking, is this really a big deal? And the answer is yes, it is a big deal. It’s not such a big deal for maybe the healthy five year olds. Or the adults that run the joint, but down the hall and on the left is a room full of babies. Some just a few weeks old. All of them spending quality time on the floor exploring their big colorful room. Their little immune systems are a work in progress. They deserve, and we should expect, that they should be able to spend their days in an environment that isn’t contaminated with things like E Coli and C diff. Now I know this is a daycare and daycares are full of all kinds of bugs simply because they are full of kids. So what do we do? We enforce things like hand washing. We teach kids to cough into a tissue or their elbow. We tell parents to keep obviously sick kids home. The daycare keeps the centre as clean as possible with daily, weekly and monthly cleaning regiments. And we take our damn shoes off."

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Boundaries Training Again

I was once again delivering a training course on professional boundaries in London. As usual, I brought up my shoes-off policy as an example of a boundary in everyday life. I made the point again, that many people don't have the confidence to ask for shoes-off in their homes, lacking the ability to assert themselves.

A lady attending the course made another interesting point about my shoes-off policy and boundaries. She asked me about workmen removing their shoes and health and safety issues. I pointed out that a shoes-off policy is an informal boundary, unlike laws and regulations, so exceptions can be made. Then she said:

"But if you make lots of exceptions to your rule, then friends who normally take their shoes off might start keeping them on. That's how boundaries can slip."

I thought this was a really insightful point about boundaries.

It is absolutely true that making lots of exceptions can cause inconsistency. So if you have a shoes-off rule, but then you make an exception for a party, then you might start letting your friends keep their shoes on for less formal visits. Then you might start neglecting to take your own shoes off. Then you might start being less bothered if your children fail to remove their shoes. Consistency is really important.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Better Have: Leave your worries, and your shoes, at the door

The Better Have: Leave your worries, and your shoes, at the door

Now let’s do a simple exercise:

Raise your hand if you like to clean your floors…

Raise your hand if you like to dust…

Raise your hand if you want your floors getting marked up…

Raise your hand if you want poop tracked all over your house…

Do you see where I am going with this?

Vogue: Visiting a No-Shoe House? Here’s What to Do

Vogue: Visiting a No-Shoe House? Here’s What to Do

"Most houseguests wouldn’t bat an eyelash should their host request that they kindly remove their shoes upon entering. That is, a houseguest in, say, Stockholm or Tokyo. But stateside dinner-party etiquette typically does not entail leaving one’s kitten heels at the door. So you can imagine my surprise when, upon entering a friend of a friend’s apartment, I was asked to leave my sandals on the welcome mat. As someone who grew up in a naked house, where shoes were definitely never expected anywhere past the foyer—my father is Hawaiian and so going barefoot is a cultural norm—my surprise didn’t stem from a place of complete bewildered horror, as much as it was an unexpected encounter among the New York set."

Netmums: Shoes In the house!

Netmums: Shoes In the house!

Forum discussion. If this was Mumsnet, there would be a lot more hostility to those with a shoes-off policy.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Telegraph: 25 amazing things you probably didn't know about Moldova

The Telegraph: 25 amazing things you probably didn't know about Moldova

24. You'll have to take your shoes off

When you're entering someone's home, it's considered impolite to leave your shoes on. Leave them at the door. The house rule applies in most formerly Soviet countries, for hygiene reasons. Guests are almost always provided with slippers.

It is the Moldovan Independence Day today.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Seagrass Rug

My new seagrass rug arrived this week. With my tendency to like oriental stuff, I decided a while ago that I wanted a seagrass rug in my new flat. It's a beautiful natural material.

It's not a cosy rug that you can sink your feet into. It's more like giving your feet an hard massage, delivered by a Thai prison inmate. Not everything in life should be too comfortable.

It should be fairly easy to maintain, but you would probably make a mess of it by walking on it with your shoes on.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Housewarming Party

Yeah, I really do have friends in real life.

In order to maximise attendance at my housewarming party, I held my housewarming party on both Friday and Saturday evening, giving people the option of attending either day. I decided to invite an absolutely huge number of people, guessing that most people would decline. I was not too worried about overcrowding my apartment. A housewarming is about having a nose around the new home. People will only stay as long as they please. As it turned out some people only stayed for one drink and a guided tour, while others hung around quite a while.

I got eleven guests attending on Friday, plus the baby of one couple. I had been expecting thirteen. I had expected only five on the Saturday, but I actually got eleven adult guests on the Saturday, plus five children. That made a total of 22 adult guests. A family I had not seen for a while showed up unexpectedly. I also had a surprise appearance from three nurses who were working that day. They came during their tea break, which made me feel very special. My boss was the last guest to arrive. She was a but disappointed to find all the other guests had gone home before she arrived, but it was nice to see her and have a chat.

I told everyone on the invitation that they would need to remove their shoes. One girl obviously hadn't read that bit as she asked "Do you want us to take our shoes off?" Well, yes. She was not wearing socks and did not seem to have expected to be going barefoot. She had been warned. A colleague I work with closely must have forgotten about it. She managed to get halfway down the hallway in her shoes before I shouted "Wait! Stop!"

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mateos: 5 Tips for people with costly floor carpets

Mateos: 5 Tips for people with costly floor carpets

The second deadliest carpet killer from time immemorial is the shoe. Don’t ever let anyone near your carpets and rugs with shoes no matter how much they insist on keeping them on. Stains from shoes are not only hard to remove but they also deplete the quality of the carpet, especially the soft ones.

NH Flooring: How to Keep Your Carpets Looking Newer For Longer

NH Flooring: How to Keep Your Carpets Looking Newer For Longer

Stop mess getting into your home in the first place by asking guests to remove their shoes. Unless they are Carrie Bradshaw, and are afraid of losing some seriously expensive footwear, your guests shouldn’t be put off by this request. If you want to get all scientific, researchers have shown that it takes 17 steps to remove all the dirt from your shoes. That’s 17 potential ‘oops’ moments all over your carpets.

The Earth Child: Here’s A Few Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Shoes In The House

The Earth Child: Here’s A Few Important Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Shoes In The House

Not only do shoes contain bacteria but they also contain germs, chemicals and oil or petroleum by-products. The bottom of your shoes are full of plenty of chemicals and pathogens that you do not want to spread all over your home then walk barefoot on later.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Housewarming Party Invitation

I'm holding an housewarming party in my new apartment in a couple of weeks. I've sent out a lot of invitations, mostly to colleagues via email.

I stated in the invitation that shoes would need to be removed at the party. I've had some people confirm they are coming and other people decline due to other plans, but so far I've not had any comment on the shoes-off request, which is interesting.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

HoneyColony: 3 Compelling Reasons To Take Your Shoes Off At The Door

HoneyColony: 3 Compelling Reasons To Take Your Shoes Off At The Door

"Toxic waste and dangerous pesticides can be found everywhere these days. According to a study by the non-profit research group, the Battelle Memorial Institute, something as simple as treating your lawn can track toxins into the house. Another study from Baylor University found that people who live near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins, and an EPA study found that dangerous pesticides could be tracked into homes on shoes as well, settling within the house as dust particles.

Something as natural as a rainy day could also add to the toxins and pesticides on your shoes. The rain contributes to the spread of toxins such as gasoline, as well as other chemicals that could have long term affects on your health and contaminate the air, food, and environment of those you love."

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Shoes-Off Sign for my New Apartment

I bought this off Amazon and put it up on the front door of my new flat. It had some handy self-adhesive strips. I think having the sign in German comes across as a little less officious, plus I am very much an Europhile.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Russian Orthodox Churches in Thailand

Russian Orthodox Church in Bangkok, Thailand

Russian expatriates have colonized parts of Thailand in the same way that British expatriates have colonized parts of Spain and southern France. I suspect they are probably as badly behaved as Britons abroad.

The Russian Orthodox churches in Thailand, ministering to the large Russian expatriate community, seems to have adopted the local practice of removing shoes in their churches, as you would in temples or other public buildings in Thailand. This is a very interesting example of cross-cultural mixing. While the Thai custom of removing shoes in homes is nothing new for Russians, removing shoes in churches is not part of the Russian Orthodox tradition. I have also seen photographs with men wearing shorts in the Orthodox Churches in Thailand, which you should definitely not do in an Orthodox Church in Russia or anywhere else. This is a fascinating example of cultural adaptation in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Ceausescu's had a shoe-free home

The New York Times: At Ceausescu’s Villa, Focus Is on Décor, Not Dictatorship

Our guide, Andrei Stancu, a slender and bookish man in his mid 20s, told us that the Ceausescus, both born into peasant families, always took off their shoes at the door to preserve the carpets.

They might have kept Romania under a brutal dictatorship, but at least they kept their carpets clean.

I've suggested before that the dominance of the shoes-off custom in Eastern Europe has at least something to do with Communism. It's not a custom that fits in with the western bourgeois ideal.

If Communism had not triumphed and the old regimes, like the Habsburg empire or the Kingdom of Romania survived, would middle-class people in Eastern Europe be following the more western practice of wearing shoes in homes? It's hard to say. Austria escaped Communism, yet people generally remove their shoes there. Though this may reflect the egalitarian tendencies of modern Europe.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

My New Apartment

The hallway, my sister's sneakers next to my flip flops.

Living room

The kitchen. It's got a lot of cupboards.

Monday, July 04, 2016

New Home

I got the keys to the new apartment I've purchased today. I hope I manage to keep it a bit cleaner than I've kept the place I've been renting.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Expert Home Tips: 21 clever ways to reduce the dust in your home

Expert Home Tips: 21 clever ways to reduce the dust in your home

As soon as people get in your home, ask them to take off their shoes. Any dirt on the bottom of their footwear that gets trodden into the house will eventually turn into dust when it dries.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Elegant Home Blog: A Shoe Rack Organizer Keeps Shoes from Becoming a Heap on the Floor

Elegant Home Blog: A Shoe Rack Organizer Keeps Shoes from Becoming a Heap on the Floor

"When we laid new carpet in our home, we also made a rule that said that everyone coming into the house had to take their shoes off at the door. This wasn’t something that was exactly easy to do at first, but eventually we all started to remember that we had to take off our shoes on a regular basis. We were able to take off shoes all of the time without any issue.

Of course, one of the big problems that did come from this was that there ended up being a huge pile of shoes by the door all of the time. This was a problem because the shoes in a pile were really ugly and not very pleasant at all. We had to do something to make sure that these shoes weren’t the first thing that people coming into our home saw."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Asian Shopping Experience

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rub and Scrub: How dirty are your shoes really?

Rub and Scrub: How dirty are your shoes really?

"Since childhood we’ve been ordered to “take your shoes off before you come into the house” or “wipe your feet” on the doormat, and we’ve obeyed without question. But how dirty are our shoes really?

When you start to think about it, they are the only part of us that come into contact with all kinds of surfaces, dirt and bacteria apart from our hands. And we wash those regularly (at least most of us do). So, understandably, shouldn’t we know what exists on the bottom of our shoes? And whether they are as dirty as we’ve been told.

Food, people and their pets are the most common carriers of germs into a home. And the soles of our shoes are the most culpable culprit."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

West Wales Chronicle: Only 25% of Wales take off their shoes at other people’s houses!

West Wales Chronicle: Only 25% of Wales take off their shoes at other people’s houses

Northern Ireland may have come top of their group in qualifying for the European Championship, but they also ranked top of the league when it came to not taking their shoes off, with only a staggering 3% removing their footwear when visiting a friend’s house.

Research released today by Vax shows that just (25%) of Wales remove their shoes when visiting someone else’s house. This is despite the region’s biggest carpet bug bear being muddy footprints, with 44% moaning about this pet hate.

Of course, like the tales of sailors, opinion polls may be believed or disbelieved at will. No doubt the figure would be a lot higher for London and the South East.

Health and Safety Executive

A case regarding asking cleaners not to wear outdoor footwear:

Health and Safety Executive: Case 131- Carers' footwear challenged during home visits


Carers carrying out a home visit refuse to wear slippers or take off their outdoor shoes due to health and safety. The householder bought slippers for each of the carers to use but they refuse to wear them and their outdoor footwear is leaving dirty marks on the carpets.

Panel decision

Employers will have provided the carers with/require them to wear sensible footwear which take account of the type of work they are likely to do on their "rounds" eg lifting or carrying. Simply trotting out "health and safety" as the reason for rejecting the slippers is not helpful. This problem could be easily solved to everyone's satisfaction by the carers having a supply of plastic shoe covers to wear indoors to protect the resident's carpets.

Saturday, June 04, 2016


All my weekends these days are devoted to campaigning for the EU referendum. I was in Codicote this morning, a village in Hertfordshire, delivering leaflets for ConservativesIN. Codicote has a lot of Tory voters, so it's naturally the place to go to seek Tory votes for Remain.

Quite a lot of houses had shoes left by the door. Understandable with the muddy fields out in the countryside. It got me thinking about whether shoes-off is more urban or rural. On the one hand, you have all the mud and muck of the rural environment. On the other hand, a lot of people in the country live in older, colder houses, where removing shoes may be less comfortable. The cities have their own kinds of dirt. You also have more ethnic diversity in the cities and modern etiquette, that may be more pro-shoes-off.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wall Street Journal: Delivery Service Brings Groceries to Your Fridge When You’re Away

Wall Street Journal: Delivery Service Brings Groceries to Your Fridge When You’re Away

STOCKHOLM—In Sweden, groceries and fresh food can be delivered in your absence and directly to where they belong: your kitchen and fridge.

A Scandinavian courier company, PostNord AB, and supermarket chain, ICA AB, are testing the new service with about 20 households in the Swedish capital, promising that messengers will remove their shoes and unpack online deliveries, even when customers are away.

Monday, May 30, 2016

More on Professor Stephen Heppell's Shoeless Learning Advocacy

The Guardian: The secret to calm classrooms? Lose the shoes

Stephen Heppell, professor of new media environments at Bournemouth University’s Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, who is running the project, has observed many shoeless schools now, and has seen the effects, including better behaviour. Going shoeless also has a particular impact on bullying. “It seems to be difficult to be a bully with your shoes off,” he says. “All the places we’ve been where kids have their shoes off, they report calmness.”

The researchers had asked children where they read at home. “Ninety-five per cent said it was with shoes off, sitting in comfort on a sofa, bed, on the floor, on a beanbag.” Making the classroom more comfortable and inviting, with clean carpets and no dirty footwear, could encourage reading, he says.

It isn’t just the children who should spend the day in their socks, says Heppell, the teachers must too. “You can’t have a room that’s shoeless unless everybody is shoeless.”

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cannes 2016

The month of May always brings the Cannes Film Festival and yachts where shoes are strictly forbidden. A few pictures I have seen of celebrities on yachts looking glamorous with their shoes off:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Boundaries Training

I was co-delivering a training course on professional boundaries this week. I used my shoes-off policy as an example of a boundary in everyday life.

I pointed out that a lot of people who would prefer shoes-off in their homes don't feel comfortable asking visitors to remove their shoes. I used this to illustrate how boundaries often fail because people don't have the confidence to assert them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Telegraph: Schoolchildren with no shoes on 'do better and behave better in the classroom', research shows

The Telegraph: Schoolchildren with no shoes on 'do better and behave better in the classroom', research shows

Schoolchildren who attend their lessons wearing no shoes are likely to obtain better grades and behave better than those who wear them, a decade-long academic research has revealed.

‘Shoeless’ children are more likely to arrive to school earlier, leave later and read more, according to new research by Bournemouth University.

Researchers have observed tens of thousands of children who leave their shoes outside the classroom and found that pupils are more engaged in their lessons, which in turn leads to better academic attainment.

The research is in line with policies introduced in schools in England where children who go to class shoeless – following the steps of schools in Scandinavia in an effort to improve their academic standards and behaviour.

The study is based on observing and studying tens of thousands of children in over 100 schools in around 25 countries over the last ten years.

Apart from countries in Scandinavia, researchers have visited schools in New Zealand and Australia. The longest project has taken place in West London where children’s behaviour and academic results were analysed all the way through to university.

For decades children in northern Europe have learned with their shoes off because they are left at the school door arrival due to snow, ice or slush.

Definitely an approach that British schools should adopt. Traditional British classrooms are simply not designed for effective learning.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Like this Sign?

Mumsnet: Is it common sense for estate agent to take off shoes when doing a viewing?

Mumsnet: Is it common sense for estate agent to take off shoes when doing a viewing?

More discussion on Mumsnet!

As I recently shared, when searching for a new apartment, in four out of the five properties, the estate agents had their shoes off.

AirHostsForum: Do you allow shoes in the house?

AirHostsForum: Do you allow shoes in the house?

"We've always have had a strict policy of no shoes inside the house. However, I've been visiting as a guest to other AirBnbs and it seems like everyone else is fine with having shoes inside the house. For guests that don't feel comfortable with not wearing anything, we offer free one time use slippers.

What's everyone's experience with this?"

Discussion by AirBnb hosts on this topic.

Ask An American: Do Americans WEAR SHOES INSIDE THE HOME?

In her experience, removing shoes in the USA is uncommon, unlike Germany. However, it is a little more common in some parts of the USA.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

iRV2 Forums: Shoes Off Rule? Just Wonderin'

iRV2 Forums: Shoes Off Rule? Just Wonderin'

Discussion of the shoes-off rule on a forum for owners of motorhomes. It's nice to see that plenty of American motorhome owners prefer shoes off inside.

It's interesting the UK/US difference about living in trailer parks. In the US, living in a trailer park is seen as very low class, equivalent to our council estates. Here in the UK, apart from Gypsies and Irish Travellers, living in a caravan (trailer) is associated with middle-class eccentricity. When my parents were temporarily living in a caravan park (trailer park) while relocating to the south-east, I took great delight in telling my American friends about my 'white trash' parents.

I expect most middle-class British caravan dwellers take their shoes off and ask visitors to do the same, as our caravan parks can get really muddy. I understand this is the custom among Gypsies.

CarpetRight: April showers & the battle against muddy boots

CarpetRight: April showers & the battle against muddy boots

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask everyone to take their shoes off when they come into yourhouse. You can help people with this by having a clear area for them to leave their shoes such as a basket or a rack near each entrance.

A shoes-off policy is vital with the unpredictable spring weather in the UK.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Lil'Luna: Please Remove Your Shoes Print

Lil'Luna: Please Remove Your Shoes Print

Growing up, we never really got in the habit of taking our shoes off when we came in from outside. Moving to Texas, we realized EVERYONE takes their shoes off to come inside. After all the rain and mud I saw here in Houston, I understood the reasoning for this better. In fact, I have one night we had been invited to a friends house. As we were driving over there I was painting my toe nails and my husband asked what I was doing. I told him I wanted to make sure my toes looked cute since I knew we’d have to take off our shoes. He had forgotten this (since we were still pretty new to Texas) and went on to tell me that he happened to be wearing the pair of socks that had the most amount of holes! We laughed, and I reminded him we were no longer in AZ. LOL!

Another person who says removing shoes in homes is common in Texas, contrary to the common view that nobody in Texas takes their shoes off. Most of the shoe-removing Texans seem to be in Houston, which is of course, a very modern and diverse city.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

OLwomen: 9 Reasons Why Your Home Should Be Shoe Free Zone

OLwomen: 9 Reasons Why Your Home Should Be Shoe Free Zone

7. Your Neighbor’s Might Not Like

Your neighbor’s might not like

Sometimes your shoes get noisy much and your neighbors just do not want that tick tock of your shoes. This particularly happens when you are residing in an apartment.

-If you have wooden floors then you have to be very careful with your shoes.
-You shouldn’t be walking with them on.
-The sound of those shoes will get to irritate them.

Momtastic: The Germiest Places Kids Hang Out (and How to Beat the Yuck)

Momtastic: The Germiest Places Kids Hang Out (and How to Beat the Yuck)

One quick and easy way to reduce the amount of germs in your home is to have everyone take off their shoes as soon as they come into the house (and then, yes, wash their hands afterwards). “As a pediatrician and a mom I always make sure that shoes come off before entering the house,” says Dr. Blanchard. “Yours and your child’s shoes are full of bacteria but also things like pesticides, heavy metals, gasoline, and allergens. By taking off your shoes not only are you getting the benefit of not tracking bacteria around the house but you are limiting your kid’s contact with other dangerous chemicals.”

Sunday, April 24, 2016

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."

Yahoo Answers: How do you get friends to take off their shoes at the door?

Yahoo Answers: How do you get friends to take off their shoes at the door?

'I'm thinking about implementing the "no shoes in the house rule" as I try to keep house healthier and cleaner. Do any of you do this? How do you ask others to remove their shoes if they visit your home?'

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Lozier's Peaceful Valley| Culture shock: What’s all the fuss about shoes?

Lozier's Peaceful Valley| Culture shock: What’s all the fuss about shoes?

"In Afghanistan, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a home. Typically you will find a jumbled pile of the inhabitants’ shoes immediately inside and outside the entrance of houses, apartments, some shops, offices and hotels. Sometimes there are a collection of communal slippers inside the door, but since I was coming from an individualistic culture, I had brought my own indoor sandals and learned to hide them so that they did not become communal.

I was prepared to remove my shoes upon entering Afghan homes. But I didn’t know that Afghans wear different shoes in different rooms. There are bathroom shoes, kitchen shoes, roof shoes and maybe more. If you want to use the bathroom, there are sandals inside the bathroom door. There are also special shoes to wear in the kitchen. The bathroom I used in my first Afghan home was inside the kitchen, so if I followed the protocol, I would remove my house sandals outside the kitchen door and put on kitchen shoes, then remove my kitchen shoes outside the bathroom door to put on bathroom shoes and reverse the process to exit the bathroom and kitchen. Sometimes it was easier to just stay in my room."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Going to a shop in carpet slippers

I went into the nearby corner shop today to buy a few groceries. While I was in there, a woman entered the shop who was wearing fluffy bedroom slippers.

I can never understand why people go outside in their indoor slippers. Not only does it defeat the object by getting them dirty, but also carpet slippers are not very strong and they wear out really quickly when you wear them outside.

Does it really take that much effort to switch from slippers to a pair of flip flops before going outside?

Friday, April 15, 2016

"No Muddy Boots Allowed"

I am standing again as a Conservative candidate for the borough council. While delivering leaflets this week, I came across an house which had a sign saying "No Muddy Boots Allowed." It was a colourful, eye-catching sign.

I wonder if that household had a full shoes-off policy, or if, as the sign suggested, it only applied to muddy boots? It might be that the owners ran some sort of business from their home and regularly had workmen with muddy boots reporting in.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Good Housekeeping: The 4 Rules of Beautiful Wood Floors

Good Housekeeping: The 4 Rules of Beautiful Wood Floors

by Carolyn Forte

"I am a firm believer in taking my shoes off as soon as I come in the door, and thankfully, my husband is, too. This simple act goes a long way to eliminating virtually all of the tracked-in dirt that can wreak havoc on a wood floor's finish. Dirt and grit are abrasive and over time these particles leave behind fine scratches that make your floors look dull. This brings us to the next rule of good wood floor care: vacuum, vacuum, vacuum."

Yet another thread on Mumsnet

Mumsnet: Asking guests to remove shoes

Just that really. Couple of girlfriends coming over tonight before we go out. I have very light cream/beige carpet which is quite new. My family always take their shoes off as this is how we have been bought up. As does my son.
Do you ask people to remove their outdoor shoes before treading on your nice clean carpet?

I think the shoes-on crowd seem to be particularly vocal on Mumsnet. Not necesserily because there are more of them, but they seem to dominate that particular forum.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Homegarden: Leaving Shoes at the Door Keeps Carpets Like New

Homegarden: Leaving Shoes at the Door Keeps Carpets Like New

"If you could do one simple thing and have a much cleaner house, carpets that look like new, and a reduction in the number of chemicals and bacteria in your home, would you do it? You might be surprised to find out that you can just by removing your shoes before coming into the house.

More and more Americans are making habit of removing shoes before entering their home. It used to be a custom more widely observed in Asia, but as Asian decorating and customs grab hold in America, we're beginning to see more and more households ban shoes upon entering the home here in America.

In the late '80's, I lived on a Johnston Atoll, a small island about a thousand miles southwest of Honolulu. Living there and traveling through Hawaii on a fairly regular basis, it became second nature for me to remove my shoes before entering someone's home. It only took one or two very nasty Hawaiian scowls before I learned to leave my shoes at the door. Over time I began to notice how clean the floors were in the home. Walking in bare feet or socks, my soles were never dirty. And, I noticed that the carpets also looked like new."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Kathleen Barnes: Take Off Your Shoes!

Kathleen Barnes: Take Off Your Shoes!

"Do you take your shoes off at the door? It’s not an Eastern or hippie-dippy thing to do. It makes good, common sense.

Just think about where your feet are during the day:

You’ve walked on city sidewalks that have been salted and sprayed and perhaps slathered with dog poop.

You’ve crossed city streets that are saturated in hydrocarbons from cars and trucks, droplets of oil and other bodily fluids of petro-fueled vehicles and who knows what else.

You’ve probably shuffled across synthetic office carpets saturated with petrochemicals and perhaps even bearing the detritus of toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of pressed board furniture, including formaldehyde.

After a long day you, thankfully, return home. Perhaps you took a little walk around your yard, admiring the newly planted petunias and pulling a stray weed along the way. Did you know that most yards are saturated with toxic chemicals, not the least of which is the endocrine disruptor RoundUp? You don’t use RoundUp,you say? Does your neighbor? You don’t know and you can’t control your neighbor’s activities anyway."

Frei's Days: Only in Asia – taking of your shoes inside the house

Frei's Days: Only in Asia – taking of your shoes inside the house

"It depends a little bit on where you are, I have to say. In Singapore, we only took our shoes off in other peoples homes and temples. But here in Phuket, it’s not uncommon that you are asked to take off your shoes when entering a pharmacy or other small shop at the side of the road.

In the beginning, I thought it was super uncomfortable to take off my shoes. Would I have smelly feet? Did I still have proper nail polish on? And I picked out these shoes carefully before going out, why should I take them off?! Years down the line, and we now have our very own shoe rack at the entrance to our apartment.

We do it out of comfort – as it’s nice to kick off your shoes and walk around barefoot at home. However here in Asia, there are a lot of reasons why people take off their shoes. One of them is to keep the house clean. A study done by the University of Arizona, which investigated germs collected on footwear, found that a large number of bacteria are found on the bottom and inside of shoes. Averaging 421,000 types of bacteria! Well, I am sure to now always take my shoes off in the house from now on!"

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Business Insider: The CEO of a $1 billion company explains why he makes everyone who walks into the office take their shoes off

Business Insider: The CEO of a $1 billion company explains why he makes everyone who walks into the office take their shoes off

If you land a job at Gusto, a $1 billion company that provides payroll, benefits, and workers' comp insurance to small businesses in the US, you may want to get a pedicure before your first day - or at least invest in a few new pairs of nice socks.

Joshua Reeves, the cofounder and CEO of Gusto, recently told Adam Bryant of The New York Times that he's implemented a no-shoe policy at work.

"We started the company in a house in Palo Alto, and because I was raised with shoes off in the home, that house was a shoes-off home, too," Reeves explained. "When we moved to a proper office in San Francisco, people said, 'Let's keep this.'"

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Comment from Candace

"Don't know if this subject has been mentioned before and if so I apologize for repeating it. Earlier today I went to visit a friend who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. Her prognosis is excellent and the doctors are just being vigilant.
Her husband works so there is a health care worker who stays with her during the day. As you know I generally take off my shoes when entering a home and hers is no exception. When I arrived and removed my shoes the health care worker was surprised and thanked me. She went on to explain how the immune system is compromised by chemo
and how germs carried in on ones shoes can be especial harmful to such a patient.
So if you ever visit the home of someone on chemo be considerate of their health and remove your shoes or just don't visit."

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Two Tiny Hands: Shoes off rule

Two Tiny Hands: Shoes off rule

We visited some friends last weekend, they were surprised we took our shoes off at the door without being prompted. Even had a conversation about it, wife is from Lithuania, it is in their culture to take shoes off at the door. She said she was shocked when some Westerners didn’t do it and were happy to walk mud etc through their houses.

Our house isn’t even spotless, our carpet is really old, but if you ever come to our house, please take your shoes off!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Property Review

Yesterday I went for a second look at the property I'm buying, so I can think about furniture I will need. I took my parents along. They were very impressed with the apartment.

My parents seemed a bit unsure as to whether to remove their shoes. The young estate agent suggested it was best they did, as the owners keep the place very clean.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Airbnb Community Discussion

'No-shoes-upstairs' ruling: What footwear to offer guests?

I'd like to begin asking guests to remove their shoes in the little hallway before coming into the main part of the house and going upstairs to the guest bedroom, which has a very nice cream-coloured carpet.

I thought of offering inexpensive slippers, but I doubt that anyone would want to wear something that had been worn by previous guests. And though it's possible to buy cheap slippers here, I don't want to go to that expense each time I have a guest(s), or end up with a cupboard full of slippers.

With Airbnb, more and more people are entertaining paying guests in their homes. Obviously, a lot of these amateur Bed and Breakfast hosts don't want their floors trashed.

Another Mumsnet Discussion

Mumsnet: Shoes off house rule

So we have a shoes off rule in our house. Mainly because of the grubby London streets and dog poo everywhere locally plus a floor licking toddler.

Every time my parents visit I have to ask them to take their shoes off. EVERY Fing TIME! They act like its such a massive imposition.

AIBU or would you just shut up and put up?

The usually strongly divided opinions.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Disposable Slippers

In some countries, like Russia or Slovenia, if you visit somebody's house, you will be given a pair of slippers to borrow. These are re-used for future guests. I have suggested on this blog before that this is unlikely to work in British homes. Most guests will opt for bare feet or socks rather than borrow slippers that other people have worn. However, an alternative to this is to provide disposable hotel style slippers.

Looking at Amazon, this is not a cheap option. Even buying in packs, you can't get them for less than a pound a pair. Still, I was encouraged to see in the customer reviews that quite a few people are buying these sort of slippers to offer to guests in their homes.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Yahoo! Answers: How do you institute a no shoes policy in your home?

Yahoo! Answers: How do you institute a no shoes policy in your home?

I am in the process of replacing all the carpet in our house and want to make it a house rule that everyone take off their shoes. I have kids 10, 12, and 15 who have always been allowed to wear their shoes in the house. Also how do you handle guests and friends if you have a shoes off rule? What are the best ways to go from a shoes on type house to one where it is shoes off?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Kimbrough Team: Asking Buyers to Keep My Home Clean

The Kimbrough Team: Asking Buyers to Keep My Home Clean

Dear Dave,
This might seem like a trivial question but I really need your opinion. We have our home listed and with all of wet/winter weather we’ve been having I am really frustrated trying to keep our floors clean. Is it offensive to ask potential buyers to remove their shoes or wear booties when they look at our house? I don’t want to turn people away because of the annoyance of having to remove shoes or boots, but I don’t want my floors to look messy – or get stained!

Janet – Grand Junction, CO

Do not hesitate to request buyers remove their shoes or put on booties that you provide when they enter. This is not a turn off and any buyer who would be turned off by having to remove their shoes or put on booties…. Let them leave.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Schnazzy Door Tiles

Schnazzy Door Tiles

Adriana Galante makes and sells some lovely no-shoes door tiles.

Removing your shoes when entering a tidy home is an important part of keeping your home as clean as possible. As a firm believer in this concept, I hand paint ceramic door signs that stylishly and politely get your message across to all visitors without you having to ask. All ceramic signs are original hand painted artwork and no two signs are alike. Please know when you purchase one of my door tiles no other home will have that exact tile! Pretty cool.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Dovely: 6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Your Shoes in Your House

The Dovely: 6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Wear Your Shoes in Your House

"I really hate when I go somewhere and I’m asked to leave my shoes at the door. There is an immediate panic. Do my feet smell? Did I wear matching socks? When was the last time I got a pedicure? Or even worse, someone can steal your $485 (more like $800) Manolos during a baby shower and then you can be shamed by the hosts for spending so much on shoes. Sex and the City, Season 6, Episode 9. Revisit the episode because it’s great.

So yes, while it may be an inconvenience to take off your shoes as soon as you step inside, it is a step you shouldn’t skip. Here are 6 reasons why you should have a “no shoes allowed” rule in your house immediately."

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Hannibal Courier-Post: 3 tips to staying cozy

Hannibal Courier-Post: 3 tips to staying cozy

1. No Shoes Policy

Avoid tracking the outside elements into the interiors of your home. A no-shoes policy in the house can help. Keep a shoe rack by the door of your house to encourage family and guests to remove their shoes upon arrival. You can make the policy stick more easily by supplying your family with weather-appropriate shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

“We keep a small basket of Crocs by our sliding door to the backyard. It’s easy for the kids to grab their pair, so they can go outside,” says lifestyle blogger Kacia Hosmer of Coconut Robot.

Though known as a summer shoe, she cites some of the brand’s newer styles, such as Baya Heathered Fuzz Lined Clog, as being cool weather-friendly and a good fit that stay on one’s feet.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

I liked this one!

I viewed a beautiful apartment this evening that was in a very convenient location. I intend to make an offer tomorrow.

It was the same estate agent who showed me the second property, the one who kept her shoes on. In this apartment she removed her shoes, even though it was dry this evening, but raining on the previous showing. One of the occupants had his shoes on, so presumably there was no shoes-off policy (unless it applied only to estate agents and viewers!). Perhaps she removed her shoes in this property because it was nicer and better looked after. Or maybe she kept her shoes on in the other apartment because the tenants in that property had a dog.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

UviCube: 66 Million Reasons to Take Your Shoes Off

UviCube: 66 Million Reasons to Take Your Shoes Off

"Those considering replacing the carpet with tile or hardwood in order to reduce babies’ exposure to these shoe germs may have good intentions, but intentions will not stop the bacteria. The same study reported that 90% of shoe microorganisms are transferable to tile and hardwood, so removing the carpet will not remove the germs.

Removing shoes is one very effective way to reduce babies’ exposure to the germs found in and on the carpet. Many suggest that keeping a pair of slippers at the door will help jog the memory to take the shoes off. Remembering to carry the shoes to the closet immediately after removing them is also helpful in containing the germs to one central location. Parents are urged to wash their hands after handling their shoes as well."

Next Property #2

I viewed another property this morning. Unlike the other properties which all have wood floors, this apartment was carpeted. It was nice and the price was reasonable, but it is old and might need some work. It also had no allocated parking space, which might be a disadvantage.

I was pleased to see that the estate agent removed her shoes when entering the property.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Attended an Open House

It is depressing looking for property in the town I live. The prices are very high and properties are getting snapped up very quick. My colleagues have suggested I should look for a property in Bedfordshire. At the open house I attended this afternoon, there was an whole bunch of would-be buyers.

I was cheered up a little by the fact that those of us attending were asked to remove our shoes. Not only did the estate agent stand by the door to ask the viewers to discalce, but she had also put up a sign like this:

It's very good to see estate agents taking care of the properties they are trying to sell.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Next Property

I looked at another property, again a two-bedroom apartment. This one seems horribly overpriced compared to the previous property.

The tenant living there told me I could keep my shoes on, but it was pouring down with rain, so it didn't seem right keeping them on. She's a tenant and is moving out, so I suppose she was not terribly invested in the wood floors. She had a baby, however, which I think is a good reason in itself to insist on shoes coming off.

The estate agent kept her shoes on.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Clarissa' Blog: How Much of a Soviet Person Are You? A Quiz

Clarissa' Blog: How Much of a Soviet Person Are You? A Quiz

3. When you visit other people’s houses, the first thing you do is remove your shoes.

A. Of course! It’s rude to trample around other people’s living quarters! – 10 pts.

B. Of course not! It’s rude to run around strangers barefoot or, even worse, in socks. – 0 pts.

C. It depends on the weather. – 0 pts.

Removing shoes in homes is customary in every former Soviet country, except perhaps Armenia. It's also customary in the former Yugoslavia and the rest of Eastern Europe.

It is interesting that removing shoes is just as big in the social democratic Nordic countries. It's hard not to shake off the impression that in a European context, removing shoes is a bit Left-wing. It is a rather levelling, egalitarian custom. Expecting guests to take their shoes off is not at all bourgeois.

In the USA it's probably seen differently. Having a shoes-off policy might indicate that you have a very expensive house and you want to show off its value to guests. Not a perception that is necessarily true. Somebody who is poor and can't afford regular carpet cleaning is likely to benefit more from a shoes-off policy than somebody who is more affluent.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Mother Distracted: Do you take your shoes off indoors?

Mother Distracted: Do you take your shoes off indoors?

So since I'm the one who does most of the vacuuming and endlessly chases crumbs and fluff with my trusty dustpan and brush, I don't feel remotely guilty for asking people to take their shoes off.

If you come visiting, best make sure there are no holes in your socks.

Echo Child's Play: 3 Reasons to STOP wearing shoes inside NOW

Echo Child's Play: 3 Reasons to STOP wearing shoes inside NOW

"The American culture often lacks methods of showing respect for one another. One example is wearing shoes inside someone else’s home. When we enter someone’s home as a guest with our shoes on, we are tracking in germs, dirt, bacteria, etc. When we remove our shoes, we are saying we honor your home and your health.

Whether you are entering a home with a shoe free rule or one where the owners wear their shoes inside, taking off your shoes is still a sign of respect. A friend of mine won a highly demanded rental in San Francisco when she took off her shoes upon visiting the first time. This simple act impressed the owner gave the owner confidence that my friend would take good care of the property."

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Viewing the first property!

I need to get on the housing ladder, so I'm in the market to buy an apartment or small house.

I did my first viewing appointment today, of a two-bedroom apartment near where I live now. It was very beautiful and spacious and at a reasonable price, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to choose the first place one looks at.

I removed my shoes at the door before I could be asked. I expect I would have been asked to take them off had I stepped on the beautiful hardwood floors without doing so. There was snow on the ground outside and the estate agent was in her stocking feet. Furthermore, the owner turned out to be a Chinese lady.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Naturalon: 7 Reasons To Think Japanese And Remove Your Shoes At The Door

Naturalon: 7 Reasons To Think Japanese And Remove Your Shoes At The Door

"Many Americans find the Japanese custom of removing their shoes before they enter the house charming – as long as they don’t have to do it!

There are many reasons why people don’t want to take off their shoes at the door. They might be afraid of someone seeing those holey socks, knee-high stockings with runs in the toes, or less-than-perfectly-manicured toenails. Perhaps removing your shoes at the front door just seems entirely too personal.

We aren’t knocking shoes here. Shoes are really wonderful. There must be some appeal to footwear, since humans have been wearing some type of shoe for more than 40,000 years! Shoes serve a really valuable purpose because, the truth is, we don’t live on a carpeted planet. Shoes keep our feet warm, they protect our toes, and let’s face it, shoes are also downright cute.

Whatever the reason, you should squelch your inhibitions and begin this practice as soon as possible. The University of Houston conducted a study which found that 40 percent of shoes were carrying ugly bacteria, such as clostridium difficile, which is a spore that does not go away easily.

There are plenty of other reasons to take up this healthy practice. Keep reading and find out why you should be thinking more like the Japanese and ditching your shoes at the door."

Probaby Rachel: 8 Things Not to Do As a Guest In Someone’s House

Probaby Rachel: 8 Things Not to Do As a Guest In Someone’s House

2. Do not take more than 2 steps into someone’s home without asking if they’d like you to remove your shoes. I say two steps because that’s far enough to close the door behind you but doesn’t typically get you off the rug or tile at the door and onto carpet. This goes for any flooring choices. We have all solid flooring on our first floor and you still aren’t allowed to wear shoes in my house. If the hosts says not to worry about it, then don’t. But if they’re a shoes-off house like mine, they will truly appreciate it.

Rachel has posted about her shoes-off policy a couple of times before.

Lifehack: 6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Lifehack: 6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

You know how some people ask you to take your shoes off at the door? It’s not just because they don’t want you tracking mud in (although that’s obviously part of it). It’s also because you track in millions of unseen organisms (like the ones previously mentioned) that contribute to the overall dustiness of the entire house.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Nextshark: There Might Be a Really Good Reason Why Asians Never Wear Shoes in the House

Nextshark: There Might Be a Really Good Reason Why Asians Never Wear Shoes in the House

Approximately 421,000 different types of bacteria can be found on shoes, according to a 2008 study by the University of Arizona. Of the shoes examined in the study, 96% of them were found to have coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water that is also universally found in feces of humans and warm-blooded animals.

In addition, 27% of the shoes were found to have E. coli along with seven different kinds of bacterias. Among them are Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacteria that causes urinary tract infections, and Serratia ficaria, a bacteria that causes respiratory infections.

There is evidence that some modern homes can be too clean and that exposure to dirt can improve children's immune systems. The problem is that not all bacteria are created equal. Some bacteria can be really bad for you. It's a difficult balance to strike, but removing shoes at the door will deal with the worst of it.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Reddit: Europeans, what is the norm in your country about wearing shoes inside a home?

Reddit: Europeans, what is the norm in your country about wearing shoes inside a home?

A great forum discussion surveying shoe-removing etiquette across Europe. No surprises here. All the East Europeans, Balkans (except Greeks) and Scandinavians agree that removing shoes is the thing to do and keeping them on is gross, while all the southern Europeans say shoes should stay on and don't like the thought of people coming in with smelly feet. Germany, France and the UK are mixed with some people taking them off and some people keeping them on. One of the British commenters confirmed what I have said that, counter-intuitively, in Britain shoes are more often removed in the south than in the north.

Ireland and the low countries are oddly shoes-on for the most part despite being in northern Europe and having wet weather.

Tossing off the Bowlines|: Shoes and Slush

Tossing the Bowlines|: Shoes and Slush

Another newbie insight here in Canada: you take your shoes off when you go into homes, AND when you enter the chiropractor’s office!

Our neighbors Rob and Audrey came over for some pre-Christmas libations and arrived fully bundled up and carrying their slippers. We laughed. They’d come from, literally, next door. Had we been going there, we would have dashed over in shirt sleeves, and never considered carrying slippers.

But it makes sense. They didn’t want to track snow into our house, so they removed their coats and boots by the door and slipped into their slippers. Great guests! And now we know what we should do when we visit them.

On etiquette in Calgary, Canada.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Hiragana Times: In Oman it’s also Customary to Remove Shoes in the Home

Hiragana Times: In Oman it’s also Customary to Remove Shoes in the Home

The wife of the Oman ambassador to Japan talks about her experiences.

Healthy Wealthy Food: They Proved why it is Very Important to take off your Shoes Before Entering the House

Healthy Wealthy Food: They Proved why it is Very Important to take off your Shoes Before Entering the House

This bacteria otherwise mostly survives in the toilets, on desktops PCs, tablets as well as on the floor. In addition, on the ground that we walk are all sorts of things, from animal droppings, chemicals, rot etc.

Scientists say the harmful bacteria on your shoes live for days, even weeks. Those that were tested were positive for the bacteria e. Coli and Klebsiella pneumonia.