Thursday, December 21, 2017

Interesting Story from Iran

Somehow I missed this story from November.

Can you imagine Mike Pence getting criticism from Americans for not taking his shoes off at a temporary shelter for hurricane victims? It's pretty hard to imagine such a thing as that, but Iranians take removing shoes very seriously. So seriously that he had to apologize for his lack of courtesy. I find it interesting that comparisons were made to the westernizing Shah.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Fatherly: Seth Meyers Angrily Rants Against Shoes-Off Households

Fatherly: Seth Meyers Angrily Rants Against Shoes-Off Households

Last night, late night host Seth Meyers went on a passionate and hilarious rant against households who force guests to take off their shoes when they come over for holiday parties or other seasonal festivities. Unfortunately, Meyers’ “sixty-second obscenity-laced tirade about shoes-off households, and how, in his opinion, they are oppressive and patronizing” was deemed inappropriate by the network fat cats. Possibly because of the swearing, possibly because some people come from cultures where taking off your shoes is considered respectful. Either way, a narrator kindly filled the viewers in on why Meyers feels so much anger every time he arrives at someone’s house only to be told to get his shoes off or hit the road.

According to the narration, Meyers pulled no punches in his attack on shoe-free households, referring to them as “little tyrant kingdoms run by vacuum-horny crumb nazis.” He voiced his offense that these no-shoe types are assuming he is going to track dog poop into their home, but Meyers explained that if he is going to bring dog poop into someone else’s house, he’ll do it the way he was raised to: In a tiny box, wrapped in a beautiful bow. Meyers then used the slippery slope argument to perfection, speculating that shoes-off households might soon be asking him to take off his shirt or give them his wallet. Meyers finally noted that there is always a risk of losing your shoes by the end of the night ⏤ because accidentally wearing someone else’s shoes apparently happens to him a lot.

Wow, what a clueless wally.

Vice: All the Rooms You Will Be In at a House Party

Vice: All the Rooms You Will Be In at a House Party

by Jordan Foisey

The shoe room—which if you’re rich is the foyer or if you’re the rest of us is either the space directly inside or outside the the front door—is the first inkling of what kind of party this is going to be. Is there a more existential question for a party than Should we take our shoes off? It’s asking what are we doing here with this party. Are we building an egalitarian community, committed to the struggle of a safe environment where we all we trust one another and work together to make sure our socks don’t get wet? Or will we remain an army of transient individuals, marching around the party in our boots and sneakers, allegiances to nobody and nothing but our own freedoms and pleasures?

Of course, like any socialist projects, there will be inefficiencies. I have never seen a shoe room that wasn’t chaos, the only organizational principle best described as sedimentary, where finding your shoe means rummaging through a pile of shoes stacked chronologically like you’re combing through the fossil record of arrivals to the party. Be wary as well. I have heard, though perhaps this is a millennial urban legend, that if you leave a party wearing another person’s Blundstones you will wake up with their student loans.

Somebody else making the link between egalitarianism and removing shoes in homes. Plenty of right-wing people keep shoe-free homes (especially if they own really expensive homes), but removing shoes is probably more a left-wing than a right-wing thing.

NYC Talking: Take your shoes off in the house!

NYC Talking: Take your shoes off in the house!

by Angel Rodriguez

"Growing up, we never took off our shoes when entering the house. This was not something we did where I come from. However, as I became exposed more to Asian culture, as well as some other friends who practiced this, it has become a habit and way of life. None of us keep our shoes on in the house, it actually grosses me out nowadays.

It’s interesting because for most of my life, I kept my shoes on in the house, but now it’s disgusting to me. It makes sense though, think about all the nastiness we step on outside with our shoes on, and then we are to bring that into the home? YUCK! I wasn’t as aware of it in the past, but I sure am now."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Soviet Barbie

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Natural Soap Mom: Why You Need a No Shoes In the House Policy if You Have Little Kids

Natural Soap Mom: Why You Need a No Shoes In the House Policy if You Have Little Kids

"When you go to the bathroom at the grocery store, you don’t let your 2-year-old play and splash in the toilet water. Right? That would be gross!
And you wouldn’t lay your baby on the bathroom floor? That would border on child abuse. That’s why you keep your baby in the stroller or the cart.

No shoes in the grass-. That’s fun! No shoes in the parking lot. I didn’t think so. Think about all those oil and antifreeze stains in the parking lot.

Yet the same germs found on that bathroom floor, get on your shoes. Tracked into your home and onto your carpet and floors."

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kidspot: Do you take your shoes off at the front door?

Kidspot: Do you take your shoes off at the front door?

by Amy Lyall

"For some taking your shoes off at the door may seem like a hassle, but it’s definitely an easy way to avoid germs getting into your home.

A recent study led by researchers at the University of Houston has shown that 26.4 per cent of shoes carry Clostridium difficile, which can give you diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

Another study from 2015 claims 40 per cent of shoes carry Listeria monocytogenes, which is disgusting to think about.

But it gets worse. If you work on a farm or you've had a little stroll through farmland there’s a pretty good chance your shoes are covered in E coli according to a 2014 study.

It’s horrible to think germs like that are all over your floor at home."

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017

Ways to Save the Planet Challenge

It probably won't do much to save the planet, but keeping your home shoe-free will create an healthier home environment for your family.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Apartment Therapy: 5 Things That Should Never Happen in Your Living Room

Apartment Therapy: 5 Things That Should Never Happen in Your Living Room

by Adrienne Breaux

Wearing shoes around any part of your house is actually a fast way to make it dirtier than it needs to be. But because the living room is often closer to the entry of your home, this room gets more shoe wearing if you tend to forget to take yours off. So work on creating a place in your entryway where you can slip shoes off easily. It'll keep your living room (and the rest of your home) cleaner!

You can rely on Apartment Therapy (owned by Martha Stewart) to post pro-shoes off articles

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Culture Trip: How a Trip to Norway Can Make You a More Caring Person

Culture Trip: How a Trip to Norway Can Make You a More Caring Person

"Norwegians are so adamant about their “no shoes inside” policy, they even enforce it at primary schools—so that children learn it from a young age. Taking off your shoes is first and foremost a practicality in Norway: the weather conditions mean that you’re probably coming from a rainy or snowy environment and your shoes are a wet mess, so it’s definitely healthier for your feet not to carry all that inside the house. Plus, most Norwegian houses have floor heating, so it’s really possible to walk barefoot all year long if you want. But taking your shoes off when coming home or visiting a friend’s home also signifies that it’s time to relax and feel cozy—and that you’re probably in the presence of people who won’t mind your silly socks."

Sunday, October 08, 2017

My Sister's Housewarming Party

Yesterday I attended the housewarming party of my sister and her partner in east London. They are renting; they can't afford to buy a property with astronomical London prices.

My sister and her partner were not wearing shoes inside, but they were not bothered whether people took their shoes off and said so when asked by the guests (unlike me- when I threw my housewarming I specifically requested shoes off on the invitation). The majority of the guests removed their shoes, but some did keep their shoes on.

It's interesting to think about the mentality of the person who comes in, sees lots of shoes by the door, but keeps their shoes on. Maybe it shows that the UK is not a very conformist society. Is the US even less conformist? Would people be even less likely to take the cue at an American party?

What it shows is that it is just not enough to leave your shoes by the door and assume that people will take the hint. If you do want shoes off, you are sometimes going to have to ask politely.

Sign in a Shop in Henley

I was on holiday with my father two weeks ago, in Henley-on-Thames, a very posh town in Oxfordshire where houses sell for millions of pounds.

In a shop in Henley, I saw this sign on sale with the message 'Leave your dirty boots here: Only your smile is welcome.' I suppose it's a bit much for posh people in Henley to ask visitors to always take their shoes off, but they can at least ask for boots muddied by coutry lanes to come off. I'm not sure how the 'only your smile is welcome' would go down.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mumsnet: Would you ask a healthcare professional to remove shoes if coming inside your house?

Mumsnet: Would you ask a healthcare professional to remove shoes if coming inside your house?

Another fierce debate on Mumsnet. Those on the 'No' side made some good arguments about the safety of lone workers, however, those arguing for 'Yes' made some good points too. I liked this comment:

"If a family are living with a disease like cancer they are likely to be very anxious and feel pretty powerless in the face of it.
Respecting their need to feel in control of the cleanliness of their environment would be a nice thing to do.
I guarantee most of them know that taking your shoes off won't prevent infections but if it helps them feel safer, why not do it?
Why not use anti bac if it helps?

People are not automatically stupid and demanding because they are in need of in-home care. We visit them at the worst times of their lives. Putting up with a few illogical requests is not difficult. It doesn't impinge on your professional status.
Its kind.

I don't understand why people get so offended. You walk away from that household at the end of your visit. They are still there dealing with caring 24 hours a day for their child or facing the death of a loved one.

Why not let them feel listened to?"

People do not choose to need healthcare workers. There need for respect in their home environment is as important as the healthcare workers' need for safety.

The 'No' side in this rightly point out that healthcare workers will visit many homes which are very dirty and whose residents may present a physical threat necessitating a quick exit. However, those living in clean homes who would never dream of assaulting a nurse or social worker may be deeply affronted by being treated in the same manner. Simply citing trust policy or health and safety does not remove the sense of invasion and disrespect some may feel when healthcare workers decline to remove their shoes. This is not at all an easy topic.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Organic Life: 5 Healthy Reasons To Adopt A Shoes-Off Policy At Home

Organic Life: 5 Healthy Reasons To Adopt A Shoes-Off Policy At Home

by Kathleen Corlett

“Basically any surface environment can be contaminated by animal fecal material every day,” writes M. Jahangir Alam, lead author of the report that was published this January and assistant professor at the University of Houston's College of Pharmacy. “It’s hard to find any surface without fecal contamination.” Even if you do try your best to sidestep any small pile of dog poop on your daily commute, spores from previous droppings can survive on surfaces for many months. Then, when we unknowingly walk on contaminated surfaces, our shoe soles become contaminated.

A very good article on why one should apply a shoes-off policy consistently and with as few exceptions as possible.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Theresa May in Japan

Theresa May removed her shoes in Japan for a tea ceremony; though it doesn't look like a proper tea ceremony. I'm pretty sure you kneel down for a tea ceremony. That looks like cheating.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

AirBNB Tip

UpOut: How To Run An AirBNB Behind Your Landlord’s Back

No shoes, no service —

Lay down the law regarding cleanliness. Only rent to non-smokers without pets, and ask them to take off their shoes.

Sunday, August 06, 2017


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Marie Claire: The very gross reason you should never wear shoes indoors

Marie Claire: The very gross reason you should never wear shoes indoors

by Penny Goldstone

"And in case that wasn’t enough to make your skin crawl, you have to worry about toxins too. Another study by Baylor University found that toxins from asphalt roads sealed with col tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins. Said toxins settle as dust particles, which can attach themselves to your shoes.

Dr Reynolds says, ‘Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home.’

Oh, and then there’s the obvious factor of dirt, which is always a pain to clean off carpet, right?

The moral of the story is we are going to stock up on some decent slippers, stat."

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I learned about this from a comment by an Assad supporter in some forum. It seems President Assad of Syria and his wife removed their shoes when visiting the families of wounded soldiers. He might be a brutal dictator who uses chemical weapons to kill his own people, but he at least shows some basic courtesies when visiting people on his own side. Make of that what you will. Far be it for me to make propaganda for nasty regimes.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ideal Home: What makes a bad house guest? We reveal the habits we find most annoying in our visitors

Ideal Home: What makes a bad house guest? We reveal the habits we find most annoying in our visitors

"It may or may not surprise you to learn that ‘refusing to take off shoes at the front door’ is the behaviour that annoys us the most. This is closely followed by guests that help themselves to food from the fridge. Tut tut!"

No doubt most of the people who moan about guests not removing their shoes are the people too timid to ask them to take their shoes off.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hosting in Hastings

I am on holiday and staying with my parents in Hastings this week. They had a Brazilian English language teaching staying with them as well. The chap who organised his trip asked my father to transport two of the man's students to their host family. The host family turned out to be living in a rather rough looking neighbourhood in Hastings. She also owned a rather fierce looking bull terrier. I am not sure I would have wanted to stay there. I was interested to see the hostess asked the two Brazilian girls to leave their shoes outside the house before they came in. Maybe to avoid them getting chewed up by the bull terrier?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia

by Alexandra Black Paulick

"I made a major cultural mistake early on in my Asia adventure. It was in Thailand and I started blazing across the foyer to the reception desk in our small off the beaten path lodging. It had been a long day and I was more than ready to claim my room and curl up for a long night sleep. A bustling grandmother behind the counter quickly came running to block my path, utterly in shock at my onset.

You see I still had my sandals on. I had crossed the barrier of the lobby still wearing my chacos.

Much to my surprise, the older host of the house requested that our shoes be removed outside. It suddenly dawned on me that in my haste, I had passed a small group of shoes outside on the steps leading into the hotel. Slowly a memory of someone commenting about shoes and customs in Asia came to the forefront.

I went to slide my sandals off, still holding them in my hand but proceeding barefoot. Strike two. While our host was friendly and accommodating, she was committed that my shoes remain outside."

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House

by Hannah Logan

"What makes it even worse is how obvious it is that I do not wear shoes indoors. If my bare (or sock) feet aren't indication enough, check the lineup of shoes at my front door. It's not a new decoration technique; they are there for a reason. And while this is obvious to most people, there are still some who are completely oblivious.

It also implies something about how the visitor feels about a place. Shoes are meant to be worn to protect your feet and keep them clean. For every person who keeps theirs on, I can't help but take it as a judgment against me and my home. As if my living space isn't clean or safe enough for them to risk taking their shoes off. I understand that, more likely than not, this is never the intention. Given the amount of action that my Swiffer and vacuum see, I can't actually believe that visitors consider my floors to be hazardous. Still, irrational or not, I always end up feeling offended."

The author states she does not request people to remove their shoes. This is the problem. It's useless seething with anger at people for not taking their shoes off if you are not prepared to communicate that this is your expectation. Lots of people leave their own shoes at the door, but would never expect guests to remove their shoes, so she cannot assume this is a big enough clue. She is going to have to learn to be more assertive.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Election Time Again

It's election time again after our prime minister decided to U-turn and call an early election. I was out delivering leaflets for the Conservatives once again. And once again, I saw another house with a 'shoes-off' sign. This one had the familiar message "Since little hands touch the floor, please remove your shoes at the door."

That's a total of seven shoes-off signs in houses in Stevenage that I have counted, not including my own. Clearly people in Stevenage are getting the message and like to keep their homes clean.

Stevenage is quite a working-class town, so this fits with what I said recently about upper-working class people favouring shoes-off, that is, skilled manual workers and trades people. They are probably more likely to ask for shoes-off than posher middle-class people.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Supervision with my shoes off

I had a supervision session with my line manager where she reviews my work and performance. We couldn't find a room to use, so we decided to go outside, as it was sunny. My boss suggested sitting under a shady tree, so I got my picnic blanket out of the car. We thus had our session sitting on the picnic blanket with our shoes off.

It seemed perhaps a little surreal to be reviewing my performance sat on a picnic blanket, but it was a nice change. Perhaps it might seem a little overly familiar, though my line manager did come to the housewarming party in my apartment a while ago (and complied with my no-shoes rule).

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Diana Elizabeth Blog: How to enforce a no shoe policy with guests

Diana Elizabeth Blog: How to enforce a no shoe policy with guests

"So maybe you might need some help to tell new guests about your no shoe policy, or you may decide your new home will now be a shoe-free zone. So how do you enforce it, politely?

Before I get started, please remember you aren’t going to lose friends over asking them to take off their shoes – really. And anyone who has that much of an attachment to their shoes might have some feet issues or something. Just kidding. So don’t worry about the request – your guests would rather abide by your rules than make the host uncomfortable!"

Sunday, May 14, 2017

MEL Magazine: Don’t Get Mad When the Hosts Asks You to Remove Your Shoes

MEL Magazine: Don’t Get Mad When the Hosts Asks You to Remove Your Shoes

"Yes, it’s annoying when someone asks you to take off your shoes before you’re allowed to step inside their home. But it’s also annoying (and painful and embarrassing) to contract some form of explosive diarrhea, which is something that can happen when germs from the street are tracked all over a kitchen or bedroom floor.

In fact, a study conducted by Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, found more than 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the average pair of shoes. What’s worse, it found that the transfer rate from a contaminated place to a previously uncontaminated place — e.g., that dive bar bathroom to your bathroom — was 90 to 99 percent. In other words, what was on the floor of that restroom is now almost definitely in yours."

Loic Le Meur: Can you please remove your shoes?

Loic Le Meur: Can you please remove your shoes?

"Yesterday I had a few friends at my new place. I decided to ask them to remove their shoes as they entered the house. It created all kinds of conversations and surprises.

I think it’s standard in many places in Asia but almost never in France and I have rarely seen it in San Francisco. The benefit is obvious — keep your house clean from all the crap your shoes carry with them."

Monday, May 01, 2017

The Journal| Poll: Do you ask visitors to remove their shoes in your home?

The Journal| Poll: Do you ask visitors to remove their shoes in your home?

"YESTERDAY WE BROUGHT you news of scientific studies which show that outdoor shoes carry some seriously nasty bugs.

A slight majority of readers who voted in our poll on the issue say they take they shoes off indoors.

On foot of that (sorry), a few of you suggested that we should follow the example of other cultures and ask visitors to also remove their shoes on entering our homes."

Discussion of our favorite topic on an Irish website. Despite the damp weather, shoe-free homes are not the norm in Ireland, nevertheless quite a few comments from Irish people who do prefer shoes-off. Some of the comments are a bit on the daft side.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Apartment Therapy: Apartment Therapy Great Debates: Do You Insist on a "Shoes Off" Policy at Home?

Apartment Therapy: Apartment Therapy Great Debates: Do You Insist on a "Shoes Off" Policy at Home?

"As it turns out, we've been stuck on this topic for-ev-er. Going all the way back to 2006, the first post I found on this topic was a Good Question post answered by the man himself, Maxwell, who tackled this quandary: Good Questions: Is Shoes Off at a Party Proper? which yielded a whopping 181 comments.

Then we got bossy on the matter: In 2007 there was the directive Take Off Your Shoes (accompanied by the most adorably out-of-focus picture of two pairs of suede Puma's. Shout out to those early AT photos!). And one of our most popular posts ever was 37 Reasons To Take Off Your Shoes."

It's very nice to know that Apartment Therapy's most popular post was inspired by this blog.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Protocol School of Texas: Removing Shoes at House Parties

The Protocol School of Texas: Removing Shoes at House Parties

"I understand your hesitation when it comes to removing your shoes at someone else’s home. Whether your heels complete your outfit or you just feel uncomfortable being barefoot outside of your own home, taking off your shoes may feel awkward and almost too personal. But there are certain, and valid circumstances in which the request to remove shoes is appropriate and there is a right way to go about it."

The Daily Mail: Why you really should take your shoes off in the house: The soles are infested with diarrhoea-causing bugs

The Daily Mail: Why you really should take your shoes off in the house: The soles are infested with diarrhoea-causing bugs

by Stephen Matthews

Shoes are packed full of harmful bacteria picked up as people travel and these can multiply and spread on carpets and floors.

And just touching the infected surface could land you on the toilet for a couple of hours with the embarrassing stomach bug.

Study author Professor Kevin Garey said: 'It's amazing how far humans travel during the day, and all that walking drags in germs and bugs.'

A pro-shoes off story in the Daily Mail, the Darth Vader of tabloid newspapers. I absolutely hate the Daily Mail with its pro-Brexit stance and its hostility to immigrants. However, it's probably true that a lot of the readers of the Mail keep their homes shoe-free. This is where class comes in.

A lot of people with shoe-free homes are young, trendy, professional hipsterish people (like me?). However, a lot more are what you might call upper-working class people. Skilled manual workers and successful small business people. People who have done well for themselves and have nice homes. Such people have lovely white carpets and don't have the social pretensions that would keep posher, more middle-class people from asking guests to take their shoes off. Those are not the sort of people I would get on well with if we had a conversation about politics, but I'm definitely with them on taking your shoes off at the door.

Some of the Trump supporting Americans who follow me on Twitter favorite my tweets on removing shoes. They are probably a similar sort of people to those Daily Mail readers who keep shoe-free homes.

Yes, we British really are obsessed with class.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Pounding the Streets

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Guardian: Should you take your shoes off inside the house?

The Guardian: Should you take your shoes off inside the house?

by Stuart Heritage

"My brother is a fastidious shoes-off-er. I visited him recently and, within a couple of minutes, he gestured at my feet in horror. “What are those?” he asked. “These?” I replied, pointing to my trainers. “I bought them onli–” “No!” he yelled. “What are they doing on in my house?”

This is the best way to divide people. There are those who despise the thought of rubber on carpet, who lie awake panicking because wearing outdoors shoes indoors upsets the natural order of things. Then there are normal people like me, who don’t really care because they understand the purpose of doormats.

However, as much as I hate to admit it, the shoes-off-ers might be on to something. A recent study led by researchers at the University of Houston has shown that 26.4% of shoes carry Clostridium difficile, while a 2015 study claimed that 40% of shoes carry Listeria monocytogenes. Work on a farm? A 2014 study concluded that your boots are almost certainly covered in E coli. These are not the things that should be traipsed through living rooms."

This is from a 'shoes-on' perspective, but it's good to see this issue getting some coverage in a major newspaper. The comments seem pretty evenly divided.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Classic Conversion Story

After she sadly had her dog put to sleep, my colleague cleaned her carpets, which apparently required a good deal of effort. She's now asking visitors to take their shoes off.

It's quite common for people to adopt a shoes-off policy after having their carpets cleaned. Unfortunately, some people let it slip once they have forgotten the contrast between their clean carpets and their dirty carpets.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Keep Out Dog Dirt

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Nicola Sturgeon removes her shoes while visiting a nursery

Another topical post.

The Scottish first minister and SNP leader recently removed her shoes while visiting a daycare nursery. While some nurseries have a shoes-off rule for hygiene reasons, it's more likely the first minister removed her shoes to be more comfortable while playing with the children.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Toxic Dust

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Atlantic: Around the world, slippers are used to keep the outside out of the home

The Atlantic: Around the world, slippers are used to keep the outside out of the home

by Margarita Gokun-Silver

The Victorian era added its own twist to the infatuation with the indoor shoe. Women used Berlin wool work, a needlepoint style popular at the time, to make the uppers of their husband’s home slippers. “[They] would take those uppers to a shoemaker who would then add a sole. And they would be gifted to the husband to wear while he is smoking his pipe by the fire in the evening,” says Semmelhack.

Portraits of the Russian upper classes of the 18th and 19th century frequently feature subjects in either the Ottoman style mules or in thin—intended for indoor use—slipper-shoes. The same couldn’t be said for the poor. Peasants and laborers are either shown barefoot, wearing boots meant for outdoor work, or donning valenki, the traditional Russian felt boot. Perhaps because of this link between the indoor footwear and the leisure of the rich, tapochki were snubbed immediately following the 1917 Russian Revolution. Remnants of the maligned, old world had no place in the new Soviet paradigm. But the sentiment didn’t stick. Although never as extravagant or ornate as before, soon tapochki were back in most Soviet homes offering their owners comfort after a long day of building the Communist paradise.

Today, attitudes towards taking off shoes indoors vary, often by national culture. An Italian friend told me it was considered rude to go barefoot in the house in Italy, and a Spanish friend raised her eyebrows when I offered a pair of slippers. “Spaniards don’t take their shoes off.”

In Japan, where slippers are a Western introduction, most people take off their outdoor shoes before going indoors. Jordan Sand, a professor of Japanese History at Georgetown University, notes that architecture accommodates the practice. “The Japanese live in dwellings with raised floors. It’s basic, even in modern apartment buildings, that every private dwelling has space at the entry,” he explains. “As you enter the door there is a little space and step up and the rest of the house is higher than the outside. You shed your footwear there. In a traditional house, most of the interior space is covered with tatami mats. No footwear is worn on tatami mats.” While the Japanese generally go either barefoot or wear socks on the mats, there are exceptions. In those parts of the house that aren’t covered by tatami—the kitchen, the hallway, and the toilet—people wear slippers. A singular pair of slippers is reserved specifically for the toilet, where it stays.

When I moved to the U.S. in 1989, slippers disappeared from my life. Americans never took off their shoes and their wall-to-wall carpeting bore traces of the outside tracked indoors on the soles of their footwear. I could never get used to it. My shoes came off immediately whenever I entered my house and I’ve asked my guests to take off theirs. The panoply of terry mules I have hoarded from hotels is always on hand to help.

A rare history of the custom of removing shoes and changing into slippers. Is Wearing Shoes Inside a Home (or on a Couch in the White House) Rude? Is Wearing Shoes Inside a Home (or on a Couch in the White House) Rude?

by Natalie Way

"Your house, your rules, says Aimee Symington, an etiquette expert and CEO of Finesse Worldwide: “If you are OK with your guests playing leapfrog from your sofa to your chairs, then great. But if you’d rather have your guests leave their shoes outside, that’s your choice, too.”

If your hosts have a shoes-off policy, it’s good manners to respect their rule.

In many cultures, removing your shoes inside is customary. If you are a guest in a home where this is the case, it’s polite to adhere to the homeowners’ wishes.

“In countries like Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, and Turkey, it is common practice to take off your shoes when entering someone’s home,” Symington says. “For some, it may be a religious belief, a cultural protocol, or a practical exercise, but be aware of this and always ask your host if they would like you to remove your shoes before entering their home.”"

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Godwin's Law!

New Jersey 101.5: Are shoes-off-in-house Nazis the ones complaining about Kellyanne Conway?

Give me a break America. I had to wonder, are these people ripping her the same people who turn into Shoe Nazis when folks visit their homes? The ones with the little shoe basket? Where all guests immediately upon entering are instructing to take their shoes off so they down traipse across the homeowners sacred carpeting wearing, gasp!, shoes?

In this case, I suppose so.

It's a while since I have heard the term 'shoes-off Nazis' but I've been accused of it a few times. The expression 'Shoes-off Nazi' basically sums up Godwin's Law that an internet debate is effectively over when one side calls the other side Nazis.

With the rise of Trump, Brexit, and debates about feminism comparisons to Hitler are pretty normal. Basically everyone thinks their opponents are Nazis. Brexiteers compare the EU to the Third Reich, while Remainers sometimes compare Brexiteers to the Nazis. But calling people with a shoes-off policy 'Nazis' is the height of silliness.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

No! No! Not Shoes on the Sofa!

Trump advisor and former campaign manager got criticised for getting a little too casual in the White House, with her feet up on the sofa.

Worse than that, she didn't even take her shoes off. I bet her heels made a hole in the cushion.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Bob mentioned Mahabis the other day. A very clever invention; a casual shoe, with a detachable sole enabling it to convert into an indoor slipper. I had seen them advertised a lot on the internet and I had visited their website, but I had not seen anyone where them until yesterday evening, when I saw a Filipino woman wearing a pair at mass (some say that deep down, every Filipina is an Imelda Marcos).

It's a good idea for those who are nervous about taking their shoes off when visiting because they are worried their feet smell or they feel embarrassed about showing their feet. I wouldn't mind at all if somebody came into my apartment wearing Mahabis (with the sole detached).

But, but, but... somehow I don't feel, deep down, that I like the idea.

One practical problem is bad weather. In heavy rain, the slipper part would get soaked and so would not really be suitable as indoor slippers. However, I doubt that they would be the first shoes of choice in wet weather for most people.

Aesthetically, I sort of feel that indoor and outdoor footwear ought to look different. For that reason, I don't think I would ever wear flip flops or Crocs as indoor slippers, as I wear those outdoor. Just my aesthetic preference.

I know this is something some people dislike about the shoe-removing custom, but I think there is something positive about the sense of intimacy it creates. There is a sense of trust when people make theselves vulnerable by removing their shoes in somebody else's home. They exercise trust that the floor or carpet in that home is going to be comfortable. Even when one brings a pair of slippers, one must make oneself a little vulnerable by removing one's outdoor shoes. The Mahabis concept rather removes that. Just my traditionalist instincts kicking in; the Mahabis are a good idea.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mail Online: Such good manners! Adorable four-year-old pays tribute to her Asian upbringing by removing dolls' shoes before letting them go into her Barbie Dream House

Mail Online: Such good manners! Adorable four-year-old pays tribute to her Asian upbringing by removing dolls' shoes before letting them go into her Barbie Dream House

In many Asian homes, it's considered good manners to take your shoes off before entering, since shoes can drag in germs from outside the house.

And it's clear one little girl California has learned that lesson all too well from her parents. In fact, she's even passing it on to her Barbies.

Korra Lam, an adorable four-year-old from Orange County, was caught playing by her big half-sister sister, who noticed that the little girl had her dolls take off their high heels and slippers before going inside Barbie's Dream House.

I approve of this girl's sensibilities, but I am a little surprised this made it into the news (I suppose you can blame it on Twitter). I am sure there must be many little girls who do this with their Barbie dolls.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Public Toilets

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Telegraph: Why you should join the slipperati and take your shoes off at work

The Telegraph: Why you should join the slipperati and take your shoes off at work

by Radhika Sanghani

Yet it is not just schools leading the way in the no-shoe movement. In Sweden, the country that gave us hygge and better shared paternity laws, slippers are now the footwear du jour in a growing number of start-ups and new companies.

David Brudo, the CEO and founder of mental health app Remente, was one of the first to create a no-shoe policy in his company’s offices in Gothenburg. “If you can have a relaxing office etiquette it can be very positive for workplace performance and how you experience stress and productivity,” explains the 37-year-old. “If you’re comfortable you’re less prone to feel stress and perform better.

“In Sweden you always take off your shoes when you get into a home. What happens is doing that communicates to your body and mind that you’re more at home and comfortable, so things get a bit more quiet and relaxed. You see the same benefits in the workplace.”

ITV: A new approach to learning - with no shoes

ITV: A new approach to learning - with no shoes

It's a new approach to teaching that may sound eccentric - but some believe making children take their shoes off at school is making a real difference to their learning

The concept is on the rise around the world.

Supporters say it makes classrooms quieter and calmer and pupils more relaxed and willing to work.

Christine Alsford has been to Lanesend Primary at Cowes on the Isle of Wight where they are hailing their 'shoes off' policy a success.

This is an old story, but it has a nice video of a British shoe-free school in action. I like the fact the no exceptions approach, with teachers and visitors removing their shoes as well as the pupils.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Homemaking Cottage: Why You Should Not Wear Shoes in Your Home

Homemaking Cottage: Why You Should Not Wear Shoes in Your Home

"In many countries around the word, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a home. It only makes sense. Do you have any idea what gets tracked into your home by way of your shoes? Think of the places where you walk outside your home: parks, asphalt, sports fields, work sites, public restrooms, and gas stations."

Friday, February 03, 2017

Doctor Steven Park: An Allergist’s Nightmare: The Micro-Poop Theory

Doctor Steven Park: An Allergist’s Nightmare: The Micro-Poop Theory

"Let’s say the next day the same dog poops again in the same
spot and the owner doesn’t clean up. The building
superintendent happens to be watering the garden, notices
the dog feces, and hoses it away towards the street into
the gutter. You then walk by a few minutes later, and step
in the area where the poop used to be, but you don’t notice
this since it’s now covered in a thin layer of water. You
walk through the lobby and up to your apartment.
Now this is where it starts to get really problematic. Many
people assume walking over lobby carpeting or the door mat
in front of your apartment would have wiped any residual
poop particles off your shoe. But think about this: if you
step in poop and take a towel and wipe it off vigorously,
is it really off? Even if it’s a wet towel, can you be
truly certain that your shoes are truly free of all fecal

This situation doesn’t just apply to dog poop. This also
applies to human phlegm, gum, dog urine, bird poop,
chemicals, car oil, pollutants, bacteria and molds and
whatever else you might find on the sidewalks of New York
City at any time of the day. How many different kinds of
germs or chemicals, organic or non-organic, are still stuck
to the bottom of your shoe when you enter your apartment?
“Yes”, you say, “but I clean the floors all the time with
disinfectant cleaning agents”. My answer to that is, “Yes,
you can mop the floors every day, but you literally can’t
mop after every new footstep”. Your carpet is like the
towel that you originally used to wipe your shoes off with,
only now you’re living on it. Even worse, you let your 8
month old toddler crawl on your freshly mopped floor, not
realizing that it’s already been contaminated by your
husband after he came home, bringing home his daily dog

Excellent article on the risks of bringing just traces of fecal matter into your home.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

It really can affect people

My neighbour told me yesterday that the lady above her wears shoes in her apartment and is constantly stomping around on the wood floor. My neighbour is very frustrated by all the racket. She said she had complained to the lady, but she had not changed her behaviour. I suggested that she buy this woman a pair of slippers as a polite nudge.

If you live in an apartment block, you really need to think about the people beneath you and stop wearing shoes inside.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

reddit: Hello, Europe! Do you wear shoes indoors?

reddit: Hello, Europe! Do you wear shoes indoors?

Another discussion on reddit about what the custom is in different European countries. The big cleavage comes out between Scandinavian and Central/ East Europeans who all remove their shoes and those from Mediterranean countries where shoes are kept on in homes. At one point somebody wonders if religion has something to do with the difference, but then it is quickly established that it cuts across Orthodox/ Catholic/ Protestant lines.

It's kind of interesting that the shoes off/ on border in the south-east is between Greece and her northern neighbours, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. I don't quite get why this should be. Greece shares religion with Macedonians, Bulgarians and some Albanians and all of them were under Ottoman rule. Climate might be a difference, but winters in Greece can't be that much milder than those in Albania or Bulgaria. Is it down to the fact that Greece was not under Communism?

The original poster is from Bugaria. He says that removing shoes in his country is not down to tradition, but just the practicality of keeping out dirt. I've heard some people in Bulgaria would like to move away from removing shoes because it's uncool, meaning un-western, but no doubt practicality will prevent that. Removing shoes may be uncool, but that doesn't make the streets any cleaner.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Reader's Digest: 7 Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes the Minute You Walk in the House

Reader's Digest: 7 Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes the Minute You Walk in the House

by Stephanie Smith

Not everything carried in on your sneakers is invisible to the naked eye. Dust and dirt built up from your shoes can easily be carried into your living quarters. Even if it’s not toxic, carrying dust and debris in from the park or trail isn’t ideal. Remove your shoes to keep things clean and tidy, and think about investing in a doormat to catch anything you might track in before you undo your laces.

It is interesting that the author assumes the reader is living in a trailer park. Certainly those living in muddy trailer parks definitely should be keen to go shoe-free.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas Present

My parents gave me a set of guest slippers as a Christmas present. It contains four different sizes of felt slippers made in Denmark.

While my parents obviously thought this was a good idea and I'm grateful for their thoughtfulness, I think most British people are likely to be finicky about wearing slippers that have been worn by others. This is especially so as these slippers cannot be washed.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Nordic Habits Die Hard

My mother had a Finnish lady over as a guest this New Year. She insisted the woman should keep her boots on when she came in, but the lady insisted on taking them off. Trying to get a Finn to keep her shoes on in the house is not going to work.