Making People Take Off Their Shoes in Your House Is Not Rude

We Tried It 75

slippersA lot of families have a no-shoes rule for their homes. It just makes sense, especially for those of us who do the cleaning up after our kids stomp around in mud, playground gravel, and goodness knows what else. And wearing slippers or socks indoors makes everyone feel more cozy at home. I feel like taking my shoes off as soon as I get home helps me transition into a totally different (more relaxed!) mindset. It's the way I was raised, and wearing shoes inside just feels weird.

But I take this healthy habit a step further. I make all our visitors take off their shoes, too. Whether it's kids on a play date or adults coming over for dinner, I'll politely ask you to remove your shoes. In fact, I'm totally shameless about asking everyone.

I know some people think it's rude to ask visitors to remove their shoes. And I still remember that Sex and the City episode where Carrie's Manolos got stolen when a host forced her to remove them. Not everyone comes over prepared to go shoeless, I know -- and I'm not sure hanging out barefoot in my home is much better. 

But ... I just can't abide shoes indoors. In New York City, we're always walking over urine, garbage juice, dried vomit, and all kinds of toxic waste. I don't want that tracked into my home! Plus, I don't want to torment my downstairs neighbors with the sound of noisy shoes clunking around overhead. That sound carries like crazy in my building, even with rugs on the floor.

The only people who are exempt are workers. If you're here to fix the sink, install cable, or paint the walls, by all means: Keep your shoes on. Asking fix-it guys to take off their shoes just feels like going too far.

You know what, though? Asking our guests to remove their shoes in my home is never a problem. Maybe it's just that in the city, it's sort of a given that most people take off their shoes when they get home. Usually, my adult visitors kick off their shoes automatically out of habit (on the other hand, most kids will just run in). I don't even say anything.

And by the way, shoes are safe in my hallway. I've known my neighbors for 14 years. They are not shoe-stealers. And none of my friends wear Manolos. For the record, no one covets their dusty brown Merrell mocs, their dingy gray New Balance sneakers, their scuffed clogs. No one. And for those who are worried, I have no problem with people leaving their shoes just inside next to the door.

Ideally, though, I would have a lovely basket filled with soft guest slippers in all sizes. I've known other families who do this and I've just never gotten organized enough to do it myself. I know it would make asking a lot more gracious if I could also hand over the perfect pair of slippers. Make yourself more comfortable! (And help me keep my home clean ...)

Do you ask visitors to remove their shoes in your home?


Image via Ingermaaike2/Flickr

entertaining, home life


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jessy... jessyroos

I think leaving shoes on in the house must be an American thing. I'm Canadian and have lived all over the country and have yet to find a family that keeps their shoes on in the house. Whenever I go to a friends house I take my shoes off, and I have never had to ask someone to take theirs off in my house, including a repair person or worker.

I certainly don't judge one custom as right or wrong, I just grew up with the notion that shoes off was the norm and I wasn't until I was an adult that I realized I wasn't the same way in much of the United States.

sstef126 sstef126

I think that is rude and nasty... Stinky ass feet all over my house... Yuk

nonmember avatar My Turn

I'm Canadian too and this is very common. I remember the first time I was at a friend's house in the States and no one took their shoes off. I just stood at the door for awhile before I felt okay with walking in with my shoes on. As then I wiped them off and well as humanly possible.

All this being said, my dad told me when he was younger, growing up in the farm, they don't take their shoes off either. So who knows where/when it all started. Either way has its pros and cons.

JessL... JessLogansMommy

I try to encourage shoes off without directly asking.  Most people do but i'm not going to insist.  I like the idea of guest slippers, If i can find space near my door i might try that. 

Aeris... AerisKate

I wish people would take their shoes off in my house at least when their shoes aren't very clean.  I don't ask though because I know people will think I'm rude.  I agree though - where have those shoes been?  Walking through mud, the bathroom floor at a gas station, or through something else gross that I don't want my little kids crawling through once it's been tracked in to my house?  I think it's rude to let your kids step all over my couches with dirty shoes. Who wants to curl up on a couch with dirt all over it?  I would never wear muddy shoes or let my kids wear muddy shoes in to someone else's house.  I used to think it was tacky when my brother and his wife wanted people to take off their shoes at the door, but now I understand.  As gross as stinky feet may be, they aren't as gross as shoes with gosh knows what stuck to the bottom all over the house. 

Blues... Blueshark77

I don't think you should ask people to take their shoes off unless you have slippers or something similar to offer them. I have been to some places where it is common courtesy to remove shoes prior to entering house, but there was usually something simple and soft to put on instead. I definitely wouldn't leave my shoes in a hallway outside a residence. 

MsRkg MsRkg

No. I live in NYC as well and I don't have people take off their shoes. I know a lot of people are not comfortable with the notion for personal reasons (disfigured feet, bad foot odor, etc) and I respect that. If they want to remove them of their own free will, then so be it. I even have extra slippers and what not if they want it, but I don't ask people. I mean it's not that hard to run a broom or mop behind them after they leave if you feel it's necessary. I think asking is rude.

nonmember avatar zach

I live in NYC and I've never had someone ask me to take my shoes off when I enter their home. I take mine off when I get home, only for reasons of comfort. I wouldn't do that if someone else was with me in my house. My mother has BAD foot odor and she'd absolutely die if someone insisted that she remove her shoes.

Samfan97 Samfan97

I prefer that no one wear shoes in our home but I usually only ask close friends to take theirs off. It makes a big difference as far as the dirt that gets tracked in. But I don't want to be rude so I won't make it a blanket rule.

jessi... jessicasmom1

I prefer no one wears them in

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