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No Shoes, No Problem


When I was little and living in the hood somewhere in Oakland, California, my mother took me to visit one of her friends. Her friend had a handwritten sign posted outside the front door that said, “Please remove your shoes upon entering this house.” All I could think was, Duh. Like, didn’t everyone take off their shoes before stepping inside the house? It wasn’t until much later I realized there were people whose custom it was to keep their shoes on.
Anyway, about that sign. I was at a friend’s house recently and a couple of guests who were new to the island arrived and kept their shoes on. I could tell my friend wanted to say something, but didn’t know how to say it. She could’ve used a “Please remove your shoes” sign.
How about you? Shoes on or off?

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28 Responses

  1. Cristina says:

    Shoes on or off.. Come on in!

  2. EQ says:

    Shoes off. We just leave a couple pair at the door, and for the most part, our guests take the hint. No signs posted at this house 🙂

  3. Annalynn says:

    That drink looks good. I miss lychee-laden drinks!

  4. Frank says:

    we have always done the no shoes thing. And since I was in Indochina I have always respected the no shoes custom. Last weekend I asked a suprise visitor to please remove shoes and both the visitor and my neighbor were insulted. So I have posted a “please no shoes” sign on the front and back door. It’s not about the carpet, silly.

  5. Frank says:

    No shoes? Maybe no cellphones too!

  6. Frank says:

    No Shoes? Maybe no cellphones Too!

  7. Pamela Blake says:

    Without hesitation I say ‘shoes off’! I would think it rude if a visitor should presume that wearing their outdoor shoes in another’s home is acceptable. I say that if you want to ensure that you may keep your shoes on, stay home! That perhaps states my position in the extreme, but I am adamant on the question of shoes/no shoes. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts. I am posting a sign at my back door this afternoon. The sign will read: You have two choices: Remove your shoes or mop the floor’. Perfect. Sincerely, Pam

  8. Gabrielle says:

    So glad to hear that I’m not alone in the “no shoes” debate. You’re right – it’s not about the carpet, Frank! Of course, there are some people I’d rather they not take off their shoes (such as workmen – who knows what lies underneath) so I keep a pair of hospital “footsies” for them and ask them to put them on. Do they get insulted – yes – do I care? Absolutely not! I don’t want the world’s germs on my carpets and kids!

  9. Susan says:

    I was raised in a Japanese household with a no shoes policy. Even though my mom would put up signs so guests knew to remove their shoes, they would pretend to ignore it. Even when there would be 10 pairs of shoes sitting by the door, and no one else in the house was wearing shoes, they would still ignore it. I don’t understand why… perhaps because I was raised in a no shoes household. Are people just lazy? Disrespectful? Or do they just not understand what ‘no shoes, please’ means? My boyfriend and I are moving from Salt Lake City to St. Louis into a new house in a couple of weeks and I am not allowing shoes. I hope that people will be a little more considerate at my house. My mom lived in her previous home for about 15 years and never had to bring in the carpet cleaners or get new carpets for 10 years, which amazes me. Her carpets still looked great even after 10 years. Allowing shoes in the house will just scuff up the floors, track in dirt, and make it that more difficult to clean. I’m the one doing the cleaning, not my boyfriend, so he says that I can have any rules I want. But I can imagine him sneaking in with his shoes on, or allowing guests to come in with their shoes on… this rule may just drive me crazy in the end.

    • common sense says:

      “they would pretend to ignore it. Even when there would be 10 pairs of shoes sitting by the door, and no one else in the house was wearing shoes, they would still ignore it. I don’t understand why…”

      Because they are selfish children who don’t give a second of thought that what they are doing is rude. It’s ALL ABOUT THEM.

  10. Christine says:

    I grew up in a house with dark carpeting, and we wore shoes in the house sometimes without a problem. Now I have my own home with almost white carpeting. My husband and I never had a problem with taking our shoes off – and left some pairs at the door to make it obvious. After hosting a party last weekend for some of his (exceptionally rude) coworkers, our carpet is ruined and I am shopping for a “Please Remove Shoes” sign. They will not be invited back!

  11. Krissy says:

    Nice to know im not alone. My husband, myself and our 14 month old just moved into a new house with beige carpet. After living in a house with hardwood floors, I cant even begin to explain what is tracked in from outside. Trying to keep the floor clean was a full time job by itself! I think i’ve almost become anal about the no shoes rule and I must admit there are a few that completely disregard my wishes. Frustrating as it is, I have no problem giving a simple reminder. I am also searching for a “please remove your shoes” sign. I found one on ebay… “Life is full of choices, remove your shoes or scrub the floor.” Had to laugh when i read that. However, I think i’ll just keep it simple.

  12. Cindy says:

    We live in the mountains, and I don’t care where you live, shoes always carry dirt, rocks and disgusting other “stuff” from everywhere. I made up a sign that says, “If your shoes touched the street, please have a seat and take them off your feet!”

  13. Kim says:

    I’m so happy other people agree, shoes and carpet don’t mix. Why are people so put out, when you ask them to take there shoes off? I’ve looked everywhere for a great sign and can’t find one anywhere.

  14. Erin says:

    I CAN NOT stand it when people wear there shoes in my house. Some still try to get away with it & if I’m not there when they arrive they do get away with it. I don’t want my kids rolling around on the floor after GROSS shoes have been all over it. People need to respect other peoples rules & take their shoes OFF!!!! It’s a given for gods sake!

  15. Lil says:

    Most of my friends and family here on the East coast think I am nuts when I ask them to take their shoes off. After living in the Pacific NW for 13 yrs it is now 2nd nature to me. Every area has different cultures. I prefer that people take off their shoes, but I don’t push it if my guests seem uncomfortable. I bought a sign at a craft show and the artist also has a website. If anyone wants that site address contact me at [email protected]. Not sure if posting the website address is allowed.

  16. Sonia says:

    I don’t think it’s about whether your carpet will be ruined or whether you can see the dirt or not. It is not hygine to wear any shoes in the house. Think about it, where do you walk in your shoes, public toilets, streets, hospitals, you step on all sorts of nasty things and then you bring it all home. Absolutely disgusting!!! I always ask people to take their shoes off. When I go to other people’s houses I take my shoes off automatically. It should become a normal thing for everyone.

  17. grace says:

    I was at a street fair recently and saw a dog urinate in the street. I then watched as a dozen people unknowingly stepped through the puddle of urine. I pointed this out to my husband and said, “this is why we don’t wear shoes in the house.” You never know what you’re tracking in! I have two kids who crawl and roll around on the floors and despite my best efforts, eat food that has dropped on the floor. I want the floor as clean as possible for their sake. I’m making my own “Please remove your shoes” sign to put on my front door to avoid having to repeat myself over and over to people who just don’t seem to get it. I’m Asian, so wearing shoes in the house actually feels strange. I think of the scene from the movie “The Last Samurai” where Tom Cruise doesn’t know to take his shoes off and tracks mud through the immaculate floors of his host’s house.

  18. I operate a Bed and Breakfast in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the last 9 years and insisted on my guests to remove their shoes upon entering. For some, this seems very clear but for others it’s in one ear and out the other. If I catch them not removing their outdoor footwear, I remind them of our no outdoor shoe policy. This does not always work. I even go great lenght explaining the reason behind it. Our Bed and Breakfast offers a clean environment. We use non toxic, hypoallergenic, phosphate free and biodegrable cleaning products (floors, linens, mirrors,etc) so what you bring in on your shoes must stay at the door. Certain guest choose our establishment because of this policy and of the products we use. But this again does not seem to be enough. Today, I am frustrated and having to deal with another guest. After discussing this with my husband, we have decided on implementing the following: upon registration, the guest automatically signs a credit card slip (for incidentals) but now it will include sur-charge for cleaning in the event they do not remove their shoes. (ex. $25. per person for each day). I will also post a sign in their room. Will it work? I will keep you posted.
    Said Mireille June 22, 2007

  19. Matthew C says:

    Shoes-off is the way. I just wish more British people would see that. That is why I have a blog dedicated to this subject.

  20. Christina says:

    I don’t have any chairs in my house. I have a low japanese style table with cusions to sit on. I also have no frame for my bed. Just a simple mattress on the floor. I feel much better about sitting on the floor, and sleeping so close to the floor when I know there have been no shoes wandering near them. I am stricktly no-shoes.

  21. Christina M says:

    Shoes off! (There are signs if look for it.)In Sweden we normally take the shoes off. But if there is a party you probably want to wear your shoes, but then you bring them with you, depending on the weather.

  22. lisa says:

    I’m going to put up a sign right now coz lately people have been walking in my house with their shoes on and it just irks me coz I have to sweep and mom after they leave. After I put up my sign then I wont feel at all uncomfortable asking someone to take their shoes off when they pretend not to see my sign. Also I’m going to place some house shoes in a basket by the door for those who dont want to go barefoot. 🙂

  23. Bruno says:

    I had never had thought of such a policy until I moved out of my parent’s house and had to clean myself. And I never really enforced the policy until we bought our first house last year. I have a 2 year old and believe me, I don’t care about germs. Once a kid starts crawling, there’s no controlling what goes in there. But, I love being able to lie on the floor and not have to take a shower immediately after! And, a lot less cleaning for sure. The house looks so much nicer! Buy hospital “footsies” or surgical shoes for the shy visitors or those with holes in their socks. Put a stool nearby. Do whatever you can to make your visitors comfortable, always. And only then don’t invite back the ones who complain…

  24. Jen says:

    Oh man. We grew up with no shoes in the house. My husband’s family does not get it. Despite our asking over and again, someone, usually his mother, walks right in in the shoes. Then some of them take them off, but last weekend they actually went OUTDOORS for a bbq IN THE SOCKS and then back on the floors inside in the same filthy socks! WTF? Also, looking at the bare feet is just as nasty too. Why on earth do people feel inclined to pick their bare funky feet? I have nearly vomited on several occasions. I don’t want shoes but with some people it is almost better. I wish you could make a SOCKS policy, but I’m sure they would find 20 ways to mess that up. Salesmen are the worst. Walk right in, no heed to the sign, etc.

  25. Mark says:

    I usually follow what the host is wearing. If they answer to door in shoes, then I feel it’s proper to keep shoes on. However, if the host answers the door in socks or barefeet, then the shoes come off.

  26. CC says:

    We just spent $2000 on new carpet. My grandfather knows our no shoes policy and wears his shoes anyway. He just explains that it takes to long to put them back on and says its too hard. I hate lazy people! If you don’t want to take them off I don’t want to see you! I know that sounds rude but rules are rules!

  27. allison says:

    After living in Manhattan and Santa Monica, I have no shoes rule at home. I work full time, cherish my free time, and I tend to detest the weekly chore of cleaning. I mop weekly, sweep every 2-3 days but my feet still get dirty. So I decided to make a footpad that sticks to the bottom of your foot or sock. please check it out.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Footums

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