Wearing Outdoor Shoes inside The House - Yes or No?

Hi All,

Do you have a habit in wearing outdoor shoes inside your house? If so, what's the logic behind it. Is this just cultural things?

I am not a fan of wearing shoes inside the house especially this can dirty the floor and more particularly it can stain carpets badly. But most importantly it may carry some harmful germs.

How do we politely ask guests to remove their shoes without offending them in any way?

What do you think? Please share your thoughts and opinions.

Thanks.

Comments

  • +52 votes

    How do we politely ask guests to remove their shoes without offending them in any way?

    "Hi, would you mind taking your shoes off when you come in? Thanks."

    It's not hard, lots of people I know have this policy, never bothers me.

    But we certainly don't ask this at our house and we don't care if you wear outdoor shoes inside our house.

    In my experience its more of a European and Asian cultural thing.

    But most importantly it may carry some harmful germs.

    Nah. Germs are good for your immune system. Dirt I can understand you want to avoid on the carpet, but you want a level of germs to keep you healthy.

    • +15 votes

      "Hi, would you mind taking your shoes off when you come in? Thanks."

      And if you want to be nice, and/or have tiles/floorboards, have some complimentary slippers for the guests. If you place them strategically enough, you can even just say: "Oh these slippers are for you" and most people should get the hint.

      Edit: beaten by sagrules.

      • +1 vote

        Yep - a nice comfy pair of Crocs will get my outdoor shoes flying off my feet!

      •  

        Yeah that's just what I want when visiting a friend - to share footware (and possibly foot fungus) with previous house guests. Yes I know I'll be wearing my own socks but feet sweat and socks are not a waterproof barrier. People who complain about outdoor shoes being unhygienic but then do this need their heads read.

    • +7 votes

      but you want a level of germs to keep you healthy.

      The human immune system evolved largely when we were in groups of hundreds to thousands.

      Now we're in millions to billions. And those millions and billions, are quenched in the fires of antibiotics and germ resistant coatings.

      Trust me, you don't need extra germs

      • +5 votes

        But they are so yummy.

        • +2 votes

          You must loves your sandals.

      • +12 votes

        human immune system evolved largely when we were in groups of hundreds to thousands.

        ….and tossed the chamber pot into the street below.

        ….and lived under the same roof as our pigs, cow and chickens.

        ….and had communal baths and a working sewage system (but besides that what have the Romans done for us?)

        ….and slept in caves with bat droppings and cuddled with dogs for warmth.

        • +4 votes

          We also lived in caves around smokey campfires, smoked cigarettes, and not too long ago went through an industrial period that put so much smoke into the atmosphere that it caked the trees with a layer of soot… but strangely enough you don't hear people suggesting you go suck on an exhaust pipe because its healthy to have a certain level of smoke.

        • +2 votes

          Yeah I'd argue we survived in spite of those things. We died younger and en masse due to epidemics caused by poor sanitation.

  • +2 votes

    Put a floor mat outside the door and left some shoes outside

    They'll take the idea if they're bright enough.

    • +9 votes

      That's not always obviously the case. Sometimes people just do that if they have dirty shoes. It doesn't mean that's the rule of the household.

      • +14 votes

        If i see shoes outside, i'd definitely ask the question out of politeness.

        •  

          Fair enough.

    • +8 votes

      Or just inside the door. Make your own Genkan (Japanese entry way) at your house for shoes. Its acceptable to let your guests know that you are mindful of your floors/carpets and hygiene and to remove your shoes. 2 billion+ Asians cant be wrong.

      Or this shoe cover device from aliexpress

      And this doormat

    •  

      They'll take the idea if they're bright enough.

      What if they take the shoes….

    • +1 vote

      If I saw shoes outside I would think oh good their kids are like mine, stuff goes wherever.

  • +4 votes

    Just offer guests some reusable slippers at the door before they enter.

    •  

      Japanese style! I like this….

      • +1 vote

        Pretty much all Asian style. Not just the Japs

      •  

        What is Japanese for "Would you like my previous guest's foot fungus?". I want to learn.

        •  

          If you have foot fungus then you should, probably, keep your socks on. Interestingly if you allow your feet to breathe and dry them properly you are less likely to get foot fungus, so the slippers are probably a good idea anyway. Do you get concerned if you are trying on pants that you will get crabs from the person who tried them on previously?

          •  

            @try2bhelpful: First I don't have foot fungus. However it really is easily transmissible. What's worse, if you have it, the phrase "socks before jocks" comes into play. You really shouldn't share footwear. Trying on a pair of shoes or pants is brief and you shouldn't be sweating when you do it, and should be done with socks on, so the risk is much lower. But there are rules against trying on shoes bearfoot, and trying on pants without underwear (or trying on underwear at all() for a very good reason. Who knows if your host's last guest wore shoes at all?

            •  

              @syousef: If you, or the previous wearer, has socks on then you are unlikely to get their foot fungus. Maybe the Japanese term you are looking for is “do you have a spare pair of socks”.

              •  

                @try2bhelpful: If you have a rule about wearing socks that's definitely an improvement. You are LESS likely to spread foot fungus that way. Anyone putting their foot in the shoe without a sock will infect it. I still don't want to risk putting on "guest" shoes. YUCK.

                incidentally this is one reason you shouldn't go bearfoot at the swimming pool or beach change rooms when getting changed. Chlorine or salt help but the showers are there to replace those chemicals and clean you with fresh water.

                •  

                  @syousef: I’m nearly 60, have been going to swimming pools most of my life, and have never got a foot fungus infection; even though I wander around barefooted in the spa, pool, shower and changing areas. I dry my feet, properly, and change my socks regularly. If I try on sandals I don’t wear stockings because I need to know if they are going to rub anywhere when I wear them properly.

                  Now, if you want to look at icky, imagine if you do take your shoes off, to wander around people’s houses in your socks out of respect to their sensibilities. You pad into the toilet room to use the facilities; now some guys aim is not so great as others so your socks may prove their absorbency. Frankly, I’m using the proffered slippers.

  • +1 vote

    I wear outside shoes in the house. Mainly because I am forever in and out doing renoes and stuff and have tiles rather than carpet. I clean the floors about 3 times a week though (white tiles).

    In terms of carrying in harmful germs, I don't think this is actually a thing unless you are a germaphobe. Again having tiles rather than carpet is a factor in causing staining. So long as someone doesn't track in mud or doggy doo then I am ok with a little dirt or grass as it is very easily cleaned.

    Asking people to remove shoes or even better yet putting a discrete sign at your entrance is acceptable in this country.

  • +8 votes

    Tinea and foot fungus vs germs found in dirt

    • +3 votes

      redbacks, funnel webs and tiger snakes vs dirty floors.

  • +2 votes

    I think the OP is talking about technicians, and tradies who visit your house with shoes on.
    Maybe say that you have a small baby crawling around and it's not hygienic.

    • +22 votes

      Ha, all tradies I've met told me they won't remove them because it's health & safety issue.

      • +11 votes

        I wouldn't if I were a tradie.

        Imagine dropping a tool with a sharp end, say a drill with a 3.5mm bit and it landed on your foot. Insurance isn't going to step in because OHS was flagrantly ignored.

        Having said that, my tradies have always cleaned their boots before stepping inside. The bad ones don't but I'm not too fussed as I don't regularly use new people.

        (We're a shoes off house with exceptions of parties and bigger dinners.)

        • +1 vote

          Yeah, or just an errant screw or nail, etc that'd otherwise be cleaned up when they're done, but possibly not when working.

      • +7 votes

        Just had this situation today, turned up to a upmarket Reno, carpets laid recently and house full of tradies (all with their shoes off)

        I refuse to remove my shoes for H&S reasons, plus they're a PITA to get on and off.

        I put drop sheets down so everyone is happy. If the tradies doesn't want to take shoes off then they should put sheets down to protect the floor.

        • +4 votes

          Zip boots? They're the best

          •  

            @timthetoolman: I wouldn't say they're a life changer, but maybe like one step below life changer?

            •  

              @wittyusername: Yeah look, they're a pair of boots, how good can they be. But going in and out of customers houses all day it saves you a fair bit of time. I rate them

          •  

            @timthetoolman: Can't use those as a tiler, the metal scratches the tiled floors..

            •  

              @gooddealmate: As in the side zip?

              • +1 vote

                @timthetoolman: Yeah, have had to replace whole bathroom floors where the plumber has been working on a gloss porcelain tile floor because he'd been wearing that sort of shoe.

                Also boots with metal lace holes, same issue.

            •  

              @gooddealmate: Can get zip boots with plastic zips and lace holes

      • +1 vote

        Good tradies will lay down tarps or rugs around the working area anyway to make less of a mess if it's indoors in an established property.

        Source: Have been a labourer in my younger years.

  • +8 votes

    Talking about germs, your mobile phone is going to be far more disgusting unless you clean it on a regular basis… Your Cell Phone Is 10 Times Dirtier Than a Toilet Seat

    • +1 vote

      I rub anti bacterial over my phone often! But I haven't got into the habit of leaving my shoes at the door

  • +19 votes

    Personally I don't say anything I just seethe and harbour resentment towards the person, and cry myself to sleep later that night.

  • +3 votes

    Just asking this question, even without knowing, I'd guess OP wasn't Aus-born. It's very much a cultural thing. Some cultures insist on it, others would rather dust their shoes on an outdoor (and maybe indoor) mat.

    A simple and polite request for them to take their shoes off at the door would probably be fine. Depends where you live and how likely it is for those shoes to get stolen ;)

    • +1 vote

      Agreed, I grew up in a multicultural area where the dominant cultures were Asian, and if I saw shoes piled up at the door of an an anglos house I eouldnt be jumping to the conclusion I have to take my shoes off, but if it was an Asian household I wouldnt even need to see the shoes go ask

  • +4 votes

    I give them a map. Coloured areas are shoe free zones, non coloured are shoe zones

    /s

    • +4 votes

      No colour coding for:

      1. Shoe-off optional but preferred;
      2. Shoe-off optional but not preferred;
      3. Transition area to wipe shoes;
      4. Shoe-off but socks-mandatory;
      5. Shoe-off and socks optional;

      I have a few more permutations I won't list here.

  • +2 votes

    You can buy a little sign that says please remove shoes and put some of your household shoes next to it. Most visitors should get the message.

  • +4 votes

    This is entirely a cultural question.
    It is fine for you to ask people to take off their shoes unless there is a safety reason they should remain on (e.g. a tradesperson working).

    I would suggest not raising judgemental issues about cleanliness or germs if you are not seeking to offend. These are issues which some cultures rate as important, and others don't, so you will open a can of worms if you imply somebody who doesn't take off their shoes at home is dirty or sickly.
    It might also be viewed as an unusual custom by elderly Australians, but anybody under the age of 60 should not be very surprised.

    My elderly grandmother was very suspicious of "oriental" people who took off their shoes, as she felt they were likely doing other things like eating sitting on the floor, that she would have frowned upon. But that was at least three decades ago, and I can't imagine there are many people left of that view.

    •  

      My elderly grandmother was very suspicious of "oriental" people who took off their shoes, as she felt they were likely doing other things like eating sitting on the floor,

      Omg they're onto us….. you don't hold those uh silly notions, do you Mskeggs?

      All joking aside, that's pretty funny and I personally wouldn't have been offended but it's kind of you to be considerate.

      Actually, while I don't (we have a proper eating while sitting on chairs table and everything), I understand traditionally Japanese do? So she's not thaaaat wrong.

      • +3 votes

        While I am deeply suspicious of you, HighAndDry, it is nothing to do with your background ;-)

        As a small child in 1970s Australia there was an astonishing amount of casual racism that was just background noise. I vividly remember a friend’s elderly grandmother telling him off for putting a coin in his mouth as a foreigner could have touched it! She didn’t explain why that would be worse than some of the grotty locals, and we didn’t ask.
        An exotic meal was sweet and sour, fried rice and cashew chicken at the local Chinese restaurant that had a page of “Australian Meals” like steak or bacon and eggs at the back of the menu for the less cosmopolitan guests.

        I did not eat at an Indian restaurant till I was almost an adult, and maybe only once had Thai.
        Then between about 1985 and 1995 the whole country changed and suddenly became curious and open to new people and tastes and cultures. Well, moreso…I recognise there are still a rump of close minded people.

      • +1 vote

        sitting on the floor

        See my reply to mskeggs - there are benefits in doing so that people don't realise!

    •  

      Funny you say this when i was an apprentice we got told of for doing this.
      Went down like if you have muddy shoes don't be a knob and dirty peoples floors. Take your damn shoes of grubs lol. I can understand some one on a new build with muddy feet and new carpet is a no no. Also usually grass gets laid after the build is finished so you step in dirt a bit.

      Also got told not to take massive dumps in peoples dunnies and stink out the house leaving skid marks lol.

      As for ethnics my family is half Italian mums side and we where never told to take shoes of unless we had muddy feet.

      •  

        Also got told not to take massive dumps in peoples dunnies and stink out the house leaving skid marks lol.

        Can you just imagine skid marks everywhere…even on the floor……..

    •  

      As an aside for over 3 years we've pretty much sat on the floor (includes eating on the floor at home), especially with young kids growing up. I haven't sat in a chair for more than 10 minutes apart from being in the car/on the bus/train or dentist's chair!

      The rationale is that it adds movement and different strengths into your life and eventually as you age, will be much more important.

      Being on the floor lets you stretch while doing something and it's easy to mix things up and throw a bit of yoga in or do push ups/sit ups.

    • +4 votes

      I’d be more concerned about the carcinogens that end up on your shoes from the filthy petrol/diesel vehicles that plague our streets.

      JC mate. OP asks for culturally sensitive way of asking guests to take off their shoes. How the… …. …….

    • +3 votes

      Yeah in that same line, why are there more homeless people nowadays? We need to do what the British are going to do to homeless people in 2020, cut them in half

      • +1 vote

        eat the rich

  •  

    Re germs

  •  

    No Shoes, not a cultural thing at all I am just lazy and rather spend less time cleaning the floors than spending more time,
    eg if someone has muddy shoes and stomps on the carpet/floors etc then it's not just a simple vacuum anymore

  • -2 votes

    Easy. Greet everyone at the door.
    if they look like they’re not about to take their shoes off tell them you have an off shoe house. I’ve done it for 25 years.
    99 %!of people wouldn’t need to be told.
    Only bogans wear outside shoes inside.

    • +5 votes

      You sound like a hoot

  • +2 votes

    It really isn't hard most of the time, I have been doing it for about 20 years and it's really helped keep the carpets clean and pleasant. That often gets a comment as some people cannot believe how old the carpets are.

    I often have to ask, though some people just offer. I have a mat inside the door so happy for people to take them off inside or outside the door.

    Only had one tradie totally refuse (a sparkie so not about dropping things) and another who was going in the roof so carried them in to put on when they climbed into the roof space.

    Aside from that everyone else is happy to do it and lots seem to expect it these days.

  • +6 votes

    You let outside people in your house?!??!!!?

  • +1 vote

    Put a box of this near your entrance.

    Might as well provide your visitors an anti static uniform…

  •  

    Shoes are made to protect your feet from the nasties other people leave, like glass, spit, vomit, crap, piss, drink residue etc. I would rather not turn my house into a public toilet.

  • +1 vote

    You're not Asian, if not what to do would already be ingrained in you.

  •  

    Be careful who you ask to take off their shoes

    https://youtu.be/NewqTCakQ3Q

  • +2 votes

    We don't wear shoes inside, but we do have indoor slippers and crocs; depending on how cold it is. We just prefer not wearing shoes.

    We don't mind if people wear their shoes inside because the floor is Jarrah and doesn't damage easily. Some people notice we don't wear shoes so they ask if we want them to take theirs off - our view is it is up to them.

    I did see a doormat that said "Life is full of choices. Take off your shoes or mop the floor".

    Most people understand if you are concerned about your carpets. Maybe provide some scuff slippers, you can get some cheap ones from Daiso.