Take Your Shoes Off!!!!!!!!!!!!!

by

Mark, a friend of mine from United Kingdom, walked straight into my living room with his shoes on. I was surprised and shocked, angered and left frustrated. I was looking at the dirt marks made by his shoes on the clean carpet that stretched to the four corners of the floor. He realized that I was looking intensely at him. Without any hesitation he asked, “Hey, is there something wrong?”

I made him feel comfortable, “Oh! Everything is fine. I am glad you accepted my invitation to come to my house.” In fact, I was angered by his attitude. I even had a sign outside my house that read, “We welcome your soul, not your shoes” and yet, he did not notice it, or he ignored it. He made me realize for the first time that not all people in this world take their shoes off before they enter the house. “How can people wear shoes inside their house?” I thought.

Most of the Asian nations like Japan, China, Nepal and India have the tradition of taking shoes off before entering the house. The traditional houses have a rack for shelving shoes outside the door. Hindu people have been highly influenced by this tradition. While there can be several reasons for taking shoes off before entering the house, the religion in these countries plays a major role for this tradition. Health benefits are important too.

However, health benefits of not wearing shoes may have been the least considered factors when Hindu people made it a religious norm to take shoes off before entering houses. Major reasons are religious rather than health. Hindu people believe that gods reside in their house. Hindu people have some sort of prayer rooms within their house. This implies that they regard their houses as the temples. Hence, entering houses in shoes is not an acceptable norm. So, if one is to step inside the house in their shoes, it is a sign of disrespect to the god. And, it is this fear of angering the god that forbids Hindu people from entering houses in shoes.

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27 Responses to “Take Your Shoes Off!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  1. mahisasur Says:

    When the road is dusty and muddy, needless to say, one should take shoes off for hygiene reasons among other things. In Nepal, I always leave my shoes by the door while entering a house.

    When you come to developed countries in Europe and America, the reasons to leave your shoes outside becomes fewer mainly due to cleaner roads (except when its raining) and convenience. You never know when you have to run down to Tesco for a pack of beer. Whether I take my shoes in or not, I have to hoover my room once a week any way. Taking the shoes in or leaving it out does not make any difference to cleanliness. So why bother?

    Everyone is welcome in my house/room without taking their shoes off.

  2. simon Says:

    WHEN YOU COME TO DEVELOPED COUNTRIES???? HUH? I’ve lived in the United States… I think that is considered developed and now Im living in the 3rd world. What you have said…. well- THAT IS THE STUPIDEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD OF. LIKE BACTIERIA, GERMS AND third world or first world, they get “stuck” to the bottom of your feet. I guess you’ve never been to New York City and stepped on horse or dog shit, or somebody else’s footprint of someone who did.

  3. Matthew C Says:

    I am from the UK and I think the British custom of wearing shoes in homes is disgusting. I have a blog dedicated to this subject.

  4. Tom Says:

    Japan is a developed country. In fact the second richest country in the world and they take their shoes off in the home. Your arguement is flawed.

    Taking your shoes off is cleaner, more hygenic and more comfortable.

  5. Tom Says:

    They take their shoes off in Sweden. Another developed country. Check your facts please mahisasur!

  6. tetetete Says:

    Here in Finland everyone – of course – takes their shoes off.

    I really don’t understand how anyone would not bother taking their shoes off when entering a house. I mean, it’s not that much of a work to do to take off/put on your shoes when entering/leaving SOMEONE’S HOME.

    I mean really, what kind of people DON’T take off their shoes when entering a house?

  7. Matthew C Says:

    “I mean really, what kind of people DON’T take off their shoes when entering a house?”

    British people, I am sorry to say.

  8. Catina Says:

    Many Americans don’t…but it is a huge debate in some homes.

    My question: what is the people have athletes foot, a fungus, or an foot odor?

    (My sister supplies the little doctors booties at her home.)

  9. MARY Says:

    I have now got Indian relations in our family and as I work all day if I visit them immediately afterwards I deplore taking my shoes off due to shoe odour and to be honest with you I DO WIPE MY FEET before entering a house and we DO live in the UK, NOT in India!!!

  10. Meegan Says:

    Although I think that takingoff one’s shoes is great for the upkeep of one’s home, I think it’s not a necessity.

    I take off my shoes in my apartment as soon as I enter it. This is for my own comfort. In following, my visitors have the OPTION of taking off their shoes if they feel comfortable.

    Personally, I would rather not have EVERYONE as a general rule take off their shoes. Hello, athlete’s foot! Welcome to my home! Is not something I want to place on my doormat under “Please take off your shoes.”

  11. Felix Says:

    I agree with removing shoes in my room, but I’m not offended when my friends don’t. I put their friendship above any obsession to cleanliness I may have. You see, getting all upset about it is about, “EGO” nothing to do with cleanliness.
    What really upsets me is the other tenants who share our “house” .
    They remove their shoes and smelly socks leaving them outside their rooms in the hallways and corridors. Seems that it’s OK for anyone else to smell their stench, as long as it’s not them.

  12. Matthew C Says:

    Catina and Meegan,

    You are very unlikely to catch Athelete’s foot on somebody’s floor.

    You need very damp conditions to catch Athlete’s Foot. Most people who have a shoes-off rule will endeavour to keep the floor or carpet dry and clean.

  13. Mayu Says:

    i have lived in the UK all my life and i hate the fact we dont remove shoes before entering ones home.

    when i lived with my parents i made people take shoes off outside my bedroom door, i get quite bad OCD about shoes in my room, i store them all outside my door anyway.

    now i am at University in a flat of 6 seperate rooms, friends over all the time and laminate* flooring i make them take soes off, i clean ALOT anyway but still not wearing shoes means i dont have to clean as much, get mud on my floor or grime in general…its just cleaner and it makes me more comfortable.

    i had somebody ignore my sign once, and they sat on my bed with shoes on and they wondered why i spazzed at them and ejected them from my room screaming about shoe removal!

    why cant we all do it? becuase to most ‘Brit’s’ its too much effort to bend down, take them off, stay, go to leave, bend down and put them on then go.

    we are a lazy group of individuals here ne?

  14. Matthew C Says:

    Good for you, Mayu. I am glad you have that attitude.

  15. Jules Says:

    If people remove their shoes prior to entering their house they would prevent 85% of dirt. I recently read this and now that I live in a newer home I implement this. I actually see a huge difference. Even if you clean weekly or everyday you certainly won’t have as much dirt especially on carpeting which acts as a sponge.

  16. Matthew C Says:

    Jules, and if you don’t have a carpet you get even more dirt building up in the corners.

    People should take their shoes off, family, guests and every visitor alike.

  17. taka Says:

    SO many people miss the point – and in typical American-fashion, it’s all about me-me-me; so many Americans are selfish and want everything their way – without regard to the other. No, not all, but many.
    When you are in someone else’s domain, house, country – you should take time to understand their rules and concerns and do nothing to offend them.
    Sure, you don’t NEED to – but that’s the typical American way to not think about the other person.

  18. dinara Says:

    i agree, wearing shoes indoors is very bad habit… I grew up in a country where taking shoes off is a must!!! and it was better fo rhealth and cleanning routine. It is a respect to someone else’s household and it takes no brainer to do it. I was looking for signs to put at the front door, so people can start getting into the habbit that our home is not for their germs.

  19. siri Says:

    I am a microbiologist and I do not wear shoes in my house and i expect all who enter to remove theirs. Outdoors we walk through all sorts of nasty debris which adhers to the shoes. This is tracked in and onto the rugs and floors.
    If you choose to wear shoes in your home that is fine but it is not fine in mine. We have plush carpeting and enjoy relaxing on pillows and blankets on the floors. We do not wish to sit in tracked in animal feces or nasty bacteria.
    I am American and have traveled internationally. My fellow countrymen and women shame me with their boorishness and all-about-me attitude. If you do not wish to respect the customs and values of others…stay in YOUR home.

  20. jess Says:

    wearing outside shoes inside is kinda rude cos it rains alot here this time of the year…we have indoor slippers cos the floor can be cold ;D

  21. Rojer Says:

    I feel that if I invite someone to my home I should not ask them to remove their shoes. I someone feels uncomfortable removing their shoes then it would be even more rude of me to insist upon it. I would be selfish. I do not like people pushing their religion on me and I would never want to push my beliefs on anyone else. As far as the person who had the sign in front of their home telling people their shoes were not welcome I feel that is complete arrogance. I am confused on how people feel they can hold so fast to traditions and still expect to have healthy relationships with other human beings.

  22. Rojer Says:

    That person said their friend made them realize that not all people in the world take their shoes off when entering a home. Just before that statement the same person also stated they had a sign posted at the entrance to their home saying “We welcome your soul, not your shoes.” How can you be surprised by your friends actions when you expected such behavior? If you didn’t know there were people who didn’t share in your ritual beliefs then why would you post such a sign? That made no sense to me. Is it not more important to love your friends? Narrow minds can lead to all kinds of problems. If the worst thing that happens in your life is that you have to sweep a little more often or vacuum one more time a week then I think you should thank whoever you pray to for that blessing. We have much bigger problems in the world than this one.

  23. bob Says:

    I do wear shoes inside of my house. Why? I tend to bump into, drop, and trip over things. If shoes can be worn outside for protection they can be worn inside as well. What is the purpose of a carpet? To be walked on.

  24. elizabeth Says:

    I wear shoes all the time. I am not dressed without them. Plus from a ‘green’ point of view, your feet stay warmer in shoes and you don’t need to jack up the heat if you wear them inside. I tend to think that the Americans who insist on taking your shoes off before entering the house, are just controlling germaphobes. Yes, it may be tradition in other countries, but not here. It seems a bit pretentious. Like you’re such a delicate flower and all your carpets are so expensive that your dirty little friends really shouldn’t be allowed at all in your house, but if they must, at least they should take their shoes off.

  25. b.m. Says:

    Respose to Rojer
    For your education please read and learn.
    *If you REALLY love your friend, take your shoes off for thier health, Roger!

    Not religion, it is for your health.

    After two weeks, more than 420,000 units of bacteria were found on the outside of the test shoes. Of that bacteria, 27% were deadly E. Coli virus. Also detected was Klebsiella pneumonia, which can cause pneumonia and wound and bloodstream infections and Serratia ficaria, which can lead to infection of the respiratory tract.

    “The common occurrence (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,” said Gerba. “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.”

    Even more disturbing to moms of little ones – 90 to 99% of bacteria found on the exterior of the shoes was transmitted to hard tile and carpet. Any germs picked up by bare feet, knees and hands will then be transported to the crib at naptime.

    To help keep these germs at bay, simply remove your shoes and leave them by the door when you get home.

  26. RJ Says:

    In California many people run around all day without shoes on. Now what? When they enter someones house do they put covers on your feet? Give me a break. I think it depends on where you live and what you walk through to get to where you are going. If you are cleaning the barn then take off your work boots before entering the home. It’s all common sense. Not a religion or a cultural experience. I have seen peoples feet and in some cases I would rather they keep their shoes on. This is really not worth talking about.

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