Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Shoe Free Home

I've posted before about my strong belief in maintaining a shoe-free home. Growing up we didn't have a shoe-free home but when I visited Uka in Japan when he was playing there a few years ago, I really came to appreciate how clean it helps to keep your home.

Living in NYC is pretty grimy and the thought of tracking things from the streets into my home makes my skin crawl. We have a landing strip in our apartment where we take our shoes off. We try not to leave them there for long as it creates a tripping hazard, but we often just take them from there to our bedroom before the day is over. This has really helped to keep our floors clean.

When I first moved to New York in 2007 I read a Blueprint magazine article that included tips on how to make your home shoe free as well as signs you could put on your door as your guests entered especially if you were expecting a large number of guests for a party.

For our last baby shower I let our guests know beforehand that our home is shoe-free and posted a little note beside the door that said: 

"Welcome Friends! As we prepare for Baby Agbai's arrival, we ask that you kindly remove your shoes before entering our home and leave them in the hallway. Thank you!"

I've also come across a blog dedicated to maintaining a shoe-free home, and a post on Apartment Therapy about the subject as well. The blog, "Shoes Off at the Door Please," includes a list of reasons for making your home shoe-free such as:
  • Shoes pick up traces of animal excrement
  • If you have a crawling baby do you want him or her exposed to the dirt on people's shoes?
  • Shoes scratch wood flooring, especially high-heels (I had bamboo floors in my first NY apt and learned this the hard way)
Now the topic on Apartment Therapy comes up time and time again and the comments are always so jarring with name-calling and such. Many commenters often say, "How dare you ask someone to take off their shoes before entering your home! How rude!" However in many cultures worldwide that is the custom. The current thread has 119 comments! Here are a few:
  • "I really liked visiting in Germany someone's house. They has several cheap, but cute flip flops available for guests to wear in case they do not like to walk around without shoes."
  • "Shoes off. Since we started doing that years ago, we noticed the house stayed cleaner, and for longer."
  • "As someone with stinky or, at times, outstandingly RANK feet, I have to put in my two cents. If someone is going to require all guests to remove shoes, then they really need to provide some easy way for guests to clean their feet. I was HORRIBLY embarrassed once when I went to someone's home and was required to put on slippers. Slippers don't hide the odor, and other guests at the party were noticeably bothered by my feet."
One commenter included this Japanese cartoon about the subject that amused me:

What are our readers take on shoe-free policies? Do any of you have them in your home or a modified version?


  1. Thanks for the link and for deciding to follow my blog.

  2. Your post mentions great points supporting a shoeless house. I don't require it though. I am glad that daycare requires it. Christen wasn't a crawler at all so that was not an issue for us. When we placed her on the floor for "floor time" it was always on an activity mat. While I can say shoes have impacted the carpet in my family room, I think eating in it has been more detrimental. I want hard wood floors in there and NO eating in the family room. I think that is harder than the no shoes:-)

  3. This post makes me really think about going shoeless. I realized that I have been doing this by default on my own, but I need to make it a house policy. I hate that we have big old dirty shoes all over the place! Plus, my carpet is filthy right now and if I get it cleaned again I want it to stay that way.