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.



  • +1

    Strictly prohibited if you are asian haha

  • +2

    Take your shoes off, you bloody animal.

  • It's your house so your rules apply

    Politely ask guests to remove shoes before entering and if they refuse tell them to turn around and leave.

    (I'm Asian and don't wear shoes inside)

    We have indoor slippers to use if guests feel like it.

  • +7

    I'm Asian and I always take my outside shoes off when inside. I even get my kids to take their shoes off as well. However my wife is Australian who prefers to wear her outside shoes inside…the struggle continues.

    • +1


  • This obviously should've been a poll.

  • Ridiculous. So when you have people over or a party you ask everyone to remove their shoes. As if.

    • +1

      Why not?

    • lol making your home into a public toilet

  • +3

    I take my workboots off in the house. All other shoes are fair game.

    My living / kitchen area floor is polished concrete. The carpets upstairs were trashed when I bought the place.

    If I go to somebodies place and they ask me to remove my shoes I do so but I can't read minds.

    On the flipside, in Germany & Austria the home owners provide their guests with schlapfen(sp?) - slippers for guests to wear. This doesn't happen in Australia.

    Given many of our houses have an ambiguous demarcation between indoors and outdoors, what happens when your shoes are at the front door and you are invited out the back to the bbq area or the outdoor dining area?

    The whole germ phobia thing amazes me. Why are people such pussies these days?

    • Agreed. German's have this down to a fine art. Every house I entered had an entryway with a seat (to sit while you remove your shoes), racks to hold visitors shoes and slippers to wear in the house.

      Regarding "germs" it is absolutely bizarre. No wonder kids are growing up with so many allergies. Their bodies are never allowed (by selfish/overzealous parents) to develop immunity.

  • What happens if the person turns up barefoot?

    • +1

      You offer them guest shoes and then ask thek politely to take them off and provide guest slippers.

      If they are barefoot and carrying crappy beer in the house you politely ask them to leave until they drink better beer.

    • Sever their feet and provide prosthetic indoor ones.

  • I think you will find that the people who do this, aren't the ones cleaning the floors.

  • Would you wear shoes on your feet in a library, a shop, an office, a hospital, court of law? It's normal to wear shoes whether inside or outside, so you have to understand that your expectations won't always meet that of your guests. You will just have to ask them to do something that might not be normal for them. This will always be a bit odd to some people.

    It seems you prioritise the cleanliness of your house over the comfort / convenience of your guests. If I was having people over, I'd prefer for them to feel comfortable, have a good time, then I'll clean up later.

  • +2

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

    A large, highly visible sign, asking politely on the sign to remove footwear.
    There must surely already be someone producing such signs, that you can buy online cheap.
    If not everyone that is visiting you reads English well, something with a picture should suffice . Ie. A drawing of shoes on the sign, and 'crossed out' , similar to all the signs we see telling us not to do certain things.
    The signs down beach's and parks often tell you about 10 different things you cannot do, using a drawing and crossed out. Therefore the shoes sign should be recognized.
    A clever idea, to be really nice and sweet about it, have a small child in the family make up the "please remove your shoes and leave them here" (make sure you have somewhere safe and secure out front where their shoes won't be stolen or damaged by rain etc) . This would give you a nice way to bring it up, (e.g.. ask them if they like the sign your son/daughter/niece/ made) . The more colourful and the more it looks like a 5 year old did the sign the better, as it will stand out Like dogs b**lls. Ppl will notice it and it will come up as a conversation starter, but brings the 'no shoes thing to ones attention in the nicest and sweetest of ways. Who's going to be angry or upset about taking shoes off, when a small child made the colourful sign .

  • At my old place I had a sign zip tied to my security door that I bought off ebay. It said "please remove your shoes".

    People would see it and get the hint, avoiding awkward conversation.

  • +2

    I have a seat and several shoes at my front door. It's obvious it's my preference to remove shoes but I don't fuss about it. Both my parents dislike removing their shoes and my father is adamant about not removing them unless they're dirty. His stated view is that houses are for living in and not worrying too much about shoes.
    Strangely enough, I like wearing shoes, especially runners, inside. But at home I take them off as I'm the person who does the vacuuming.
    Concerning tradesmen, OHS requires they keep their shoes on. Good tradesmen will put down a tarpaulin so everyone should be happy.
    As a visitor to the homes of others, I consider it's polite to remove your shoes if the owners do.
    But, again, at my home, I prefer they do but don't request people to do so; If they don't, I don't stress. There are much worse things that could happen.

  • +2

    You could simply hang a sign that says shoe-free household, or please remove your shoes. If indeed the tradie thing is actually a concern, maybe just provide those disposable shoe covers (basically like a hairnet for feet).

    I'd personally recommend some self reflection and attempt to work on not being to tightly wound (your health and overall happiness would benefit far more from that than any shoe removal ever will). In the grand scheme of it, they are just shoes. Compared to the hands, mouth nose and mobile phones people bring in, soles of shoes harbour far less bacteria (most of the surfaces shoes touch are dry, hard surfaces - not ideal for bacterial growth; removing them would expose you to far more bacteria due to the dark warm moist environment inside the shoes).

  • +1

    In my experience for no shoes it tends to be either cultural to central and east asian homes or to places that have stainable/nice carpets.

    If you ask someone politely I don't think there are many scenarios where they will refuse to take them off. By instinct I generally take my shoes off when entering a home but don't always know.

    The layout of the home makes a difference to the assumption, I have a friend whose entryway has a bench to sit on and a rack for shoes next to it, its obvious its a no shoe home. My living situation by contrast is a two bedroom unit that opens into the living room/kitchen/dining room when you open the door theres no entry way or room for a shoe rack so theres no obvious visual que to take them off or not.

    Also to reference Hamish and Andy the ultimate power move would be to ask your guest to take their shoes off but leave yours own.

  • This is well and good to leave your shoes outside, until you have a male neighbourhood stray cat. :/

  • +1

    In our place, when it comes to tradies/repairmen, we just let them wear their shoes inside for safety reasons. With it comes to guests, we offer slippers to them. Most of the slippers came from hotels where we stayed for holidays(ozbargainer!).

    When we go to other people's place, we removed our shoes too.

  • How does this get over 80 reply's but my forum about interest rates only has 5 reply's. Is this website about trying to save money or a better homes and gardens website

    • +6

      Because your discussion is boring and we can do sod all about the interest rates.

  • +1

    Have tiles so don't care. Though avoid the small carpet in the lounge room. If the floors were carpeted, I'd remove shoes.

    • Have tiles and kiss goodbye to everything you drop that isn’t soft and squishy. Also tiles are very cold in winter.

  • +1

    What's the practical reasons behind wearing outdoor shoes in the house, bedrooms, etc?

  • +2

    Potential dirt from shoes VS stinky wet sweaty feet…. I'll take the potential dirt.

    • +5

      urine and crap from public toilets, animal crap, cigarette butts and saliva… u serious?

      • Unless you wear a hazmat suit…. are you serious?

        • +1

          sometimes I do for work

  • +1

    Hell no! Keep your dirty shoes outside.

    • +2

      Then i am guessing you do not know any Asian people then.

      • I know Asian people but close enough to be invited over.

  • -3

    anyone who wears their shoes inside the house is a grub

    Not a racist thing but almost 95% of white people tend to let people in the house with shoes on

    Just think about it, you have walked around in public toilets where pee is on the floor and you're wearing this inside your own house.

    I have even seen people posting photos up with shoes on and they are laying on their bed…… :\

    • That figure isn’t a racial thing, it is a cultural thing. It is about what people think is polite and expected. I tend to take my shoes off indoors because it makes me more comfortable, not in deference to people’s carpets. I also ask if they mind, because they may not want me padding around without my shoes on. Most people have a mat at the front door that people can scuff their soles on, this should remove most of the surface detritus. I also have cats and they wander around the house, with their germy little paws, all day. They ain’t washing their paws in soap and water after burying their business. One of the leading suspects in the current increase in allergies is we have disinfectants everywhere. If people are so concerned about cleanliness then wash the floors after people leave. I don’t think anyone would take offence if it was muddy out and you said you were worried about your carpets. Just get some scuff slippers and you are ready to go.

    • +5

      I'm not racist but… 95% of white people are grubs?

    • Come-on dude you can do better. I'm oversharing here but I wash my ass after each dump. This doesn't mean that other people are dirty or I'm somehow more saintly.

      Try to convey your message without singling out people.

  • You clean your shoes before you step into the house. Do you wear your outdoor clothes indoors? In certain situations you would remove your shoes or clothes and in other situations you wouldn't. Just remember that when asking someone to remove their shoes, it is similar to asking someone to remove their jacket or coat, most of the time they will remove it, but in the circumstance that they feel uncomfortable removing it and would rather keep it on, you should do your best to accommodate it.

    Note: Personally I remove shoes, but it is not expected, and I welcome guests to keep their shoes on if it makes them comfortable. Cleaning carpets and floors should be regular enough for this not to be an issue or cause any damage.

    • +1

      people wear clothes to keep warm and so everyone isnt walking around naked. shoes are worn to protect your feet. there are no sharp objects or rough surfaces to damage your feet hence zero need to wear them inside your house. your analogy makes no sense, if you have been doing gardening or your clothes are covered in dirt would you sit on your couch or lay in your bed? i dont know about you but if i go to the gym and get sweaty ill bring a spare change, if im covered in dirt ill take them off outside and clean them as much as i can before taking them in.

      my guests take off their shoes inside my house. there is no need for them inside a home.

      • +1

        People wear shoes to keep their feet warm as well, just like clothing and wear clothing for protection as well.

      • If someone has orthotics or any foot support considerations, then likely their shoe is designed to accommodate. If I am invited into your home and asked to removed my shoes when it either has specifically an insert or was purchased for the sake of support then I would feel incredibly uncomfortable. Other people have temperature discomfort when they remove their shoes, like having cold toes. Remember that just because you are comfortable in your own home, doesn't mean other people are and you should do YOUR best to accommodate them.

        • +1

          You guys really seem to be grasping at straws. First of all I don't invite randoms into my house, and if someone who was uninvited had the orthotics issue that'd be ok. But your really making up scenarios here.

          If a friend doesn't feel comfortable coming into another friend's home then maybe they shouldn't be there. Cold toes really? You know socks are a thing right? Honestly you guys really are grasping at straws.

          • @Cletus vandamme: Cold is absolutely a thing wandering around the house, even in your socks. This is why I have my crocs/slippers to stop my feet being cold on the wooden floorboards. Not grasping at straws, just the facts. This can be remediate by getting a bunch of scuffs from Daiso for people to slip on. I have a friend who has chooks so he asks us to slip on a pair of their crocs if we are going to wander around their backyard so we don’t bring chook poo in; I’ve no problems with that at all.

            However, if you are insisting on people removing their shoes then keep in mind that some people will have trouble putting the back on. They might have trouble bending down to do laces, or need a shoehorn, etc. you need to make considerations. It is a good idea to warn people you have a shoes off house when you invite them over so they can make their own allowances. It might make them reassess their choice in footwear.

          • @Cletus vandamme: What if the person isn't wearing socks, what if the person was unaware they would be an enforced dress code which is essentially what this matter is. You can hardly expect to enforce a dress code if the invitees are unaware of such a policy, and then if they don't follow your code, are you going to be the sort of person to enforce it? If someone comes over to your house wearing a cap, are you going to force them to remove it upon entry because hats are only to protect against the sun and there is no exposure to the sun indoors? Be reasonable, be accommodating.

            If you don't want friends don't feel comfortable in your home, why would you invite them? Anyone coming over to a friends house or even a strangers house would want to feel welcome.

            "If a friend doesn't feel comfortable coming into another friend's home then maybe they shouldn't be there."
            What are you even getting at?

            As far as advice for trying to enforce your "policy", I would say you would need to at least have a Genkan area in your entrance way, with indoor shoes or slippers in a multitude of sizes, as well as an appropriate storage unit. Something similar to the standard you see in Japan.

            I can think of more reasons someone would be uncomfortable taking off their shoes. Some people like to take care of their property and while leaving it at the "front door" or in other potentially compromising locations can cause people concern.

            What if I'm wearing my new $900 GUCCIs because that's my thing and now you want me to take them off and leave them at the front door. I don't think I'd feel very comfortable leaving an asset like that out of my control. Imagine leaving your phone lying on the ground at the front door when entering. What if this household has pets or kids or other unpredictable guests. Once something is out of sight and is no longer in your control, if anything happens to it, who is at fault when something goes wrong? Even if you have the most secure cloak room in the world, the risk is always there when you check something in, and you have carry that weight for an entire evening, that can make some people incredibly uncomfortable, even if it doesn't show on the surface.

            I am giving some uncommon and extreme examples, but maybe you could poke your head out of your bubble and get a different perspective on things, then maybe you might learn something about becoming a better person. Because at the end of the day, is it more important you have one less spec of dirt on your carpet or that your friends feel welcomed and comfortable in your home.

            • @Musique34: i really dont get why this is so hard for you to understand. i dont invite STRANGERS into my house meaning these are people i know, hence they KNOW that i dont wear shoes in my home and i prefer it as such. you get it now? i dont go to someone elses house and expect them to abide by the rules that i do at my own, so i will be happy doing whatever suits them. i am saying what I DO and have the RIGHT to do as it is my own home. whatever you choose to do or dont is up to you go for it, my reasoning is strictly for MY place.

              "Remember that just because you are comfortable in your own home, doesn't mean other people are and you should do YOUR best to accommodate them."

              hence i said this "If a friend doesn't feel comfortable coming into another friend's home then maybe they shouldn't be there."

              i do have an area in the house next to the front door for shoes. but its none of your business either way.

              "What if I'm wearing my new $900 GUCCIs because that's my thing and now you want me to take them off and leave them at the front door." good for you mate but your still not going inside my house with them. leave them at front door INSIDE the house.

              you have no idea on the person i am, and maybe you should take your own advice and get out of your own bubble. my friends feeling welcomed has nothing to do with them wearing shoes in my home. and you should take a look at yourself, ive critiqued the reasons why i dont agree with this subject. but i havent gone and told people that they must abide but what i do. honestly you really need to get off your high horse trying to tell someone what they should and shouldnt do in their own house. really i wonder if you are even self aware of how you sound.

              • @Cletus vandamme: My sister invited her random new boyfriend to my house and let him in without my knowledge. I lost my shit!

              • @Cletus vandamme: I'm explaining the logic behind why some people wear shoes in the house as per the original post:
                "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'd would say it's not just cultural. I'm sure you behave exactly how you do, I'm letting you know other reasons people don't wish to remove their shoes.
                I always take my shoes off and wear slippers at home, and usually people do when they come over. But sometimes they don't, and I don't ask them to take their shoes off because it's not an issue to get upset about.

                You can do whatever you like, I'm just letting you know that you may be unaware of how inconsiderate you are (in a very very minor way). I'm sure you don't have many issues around this because you only invite people over to your house that have identical or similar sensibilities/culture. I presume the reason for the original post was due to someone having an experience where a household didn't have a policy or someone came into their household and did not naturally understand the custom.


                I'm not on some high horse, I'm just trying to be reasonable, we live in a hotpot of cultures with all different backgrounds, everyone has to make some compromises so that we can all get along. Your attitude towards this simple topic of discussion has identified a more serious problem in the way some people think. If you take this attitude towards something so simple, I can't understand how you can co-operate with anyone in a workplace or in the general public.

                Don't think that it's something people don't think about as well, all my friends have different rules. For the friends where I can wear shoes indoors, I generally I choose my "nice" shoes, one's that I take care of, or ones that I have complicated lacing (Going out or Dress Shoes). For friends that have a proper storage area I will wear shoes that are nice and clean but easier to slip on and off (elastic laces). For friends that have no storage and to be left on the floor near the door, I will wear shoes that are a bit older (more worn) and easy to put on and off. And finally for friends that leave shoes OUTSIDE, I wear my oldest and poorest condition shoes that I don't care about.

    • Shoes are not clothes, your analogy is poor.

      I'd compare clothes to socks. Shoes are more comparable to helmets or thick outdoor coats/jackets that people wouldn't wear inside.

      • +1

        It it’s cold I wear my jackets, my thermals and whatever else keeps me warm. If one of my friends wanted to keep their jacket on I wouldn’t insist they take it off.

        • Their jacket also doesn't have faeces from public toilets.

          Nobody wears their motorcycle helmets indoors do they?

          • @DisabledUser194964: You are the one who brought up jackets. Anything can have faeces from public toilets. When you flush the toilet you aerosol the stuff in the toilet out into the cubical. Everything in the vicinity is likely to have some fecal matter on it. The issue is that it is not a real health issue, but it is up to the individuals to determine what happens based on their own etiquette codes.

            • @try2bhelpful: I don't flush… or dip my jacket in a pool of piss like in public toilets

  • on carpet? no. on hard floors? yes.

  • what if i don't wear shoes and i was a bare footed hippy? still allowed in?

  • +2

    I don't eat off or lay on my floor. The only thing that goes on the floor are my feet. So I don't care if people wear shoes inside. I also have tiled floors.

    If it's been raining or we've been hiking and our shoes are covered in mud and dirt we take them off. But otherwise we don't asks guests to take shoes off.

    We also have dogs, we don't wash their feet every time they come in from outside or back from the park.

  • I wear my shoes all day, inside and out. At the end of the day I take them off.
    I think the kind of culture which takes shoes off would use slip-on shoes. Stopping to put on shoes to check the letterbox or take rubbish out just seems a waste of time.

    We have very expensive carpet throughout the house. I consider it flooring which is there to be walked on.
    Also we have a dog which comes inside.

    I think this is only really an issue if you had white carpet everywhere.

    My house is not surrounded by mud so shoes stay clean, and there's no biohazard spill outside my door so there's no dangerous germs.
    It just seems pedantic and unnecessary to me.
    Having said all that, some cultures do it so when I visit them I take my shoes off.

    • Have you heard of sandals?

      • Yes…?

    • What culture do you categorised yourself into? Do you also wear your shoes when lying on your bed in the middle of the day?

      • Australian for several generations with an English background.

        I am not on my bed in the middle of the day so that's difficult to answer. A 30 minute power nap for example - 50/50 might have shoes on.

      • That's another interesting point (or cultural difference). Lying on the bed. Is it normal to lay on your bed other than at night time when going to sleep?

        That is the only time I lay on my bed. And I'm in my PJs. I don't nap during the day as I'm either at work or out doing something on the weekend so I don't spend much time at home.

  • +2

    For all those who said they don't mind germs, I have few questions. We are by the way shoes off house with tiles and the main reason is to avoid bringing in germs. I cannot forget the fact that pretty much all the public rest rooms I visited has pee on the floor and I have seen cleaners use the same mop to mop the pee, floor of the toilet cubicles (what is caught there is left for the imagination), vomit etc and basically the shopping mall toilet floors are a washed with a soup of all of them. How do you make up your mind to ware the shoes worn to a public toilet inside your house. We have kids, they play on the floor, touch the floor and then next moment they might touch the mouth or eat something.

    • +1

      Easy: We have immune systems, and they got weaker in a constantly sterile environment.


    • dont have kids then?

    • Didn't consciously make up our mind about it. Never even thought about that being an issue.

      Similar to touching buttons in elevators or opening public restroom doors or holding an escalator railing or grabbing the handle of a shopping trolley. Heaps of contact points. My Auntie won't touch a button in an elevator (she uses her keys to push in buttons).

      But for me I do all of those things without worrying / thinking about it.

      I've been around for 40 years without problems. My parents are in their 70s and don't have any issues either.

      If there was a pandemic of some incurable disease it'd be different.

  • Put some shoes in the entry way and ensure you welcome them barefoot. You won’t even need to say them anything

    • Nope. Didn't work. Never invited them ever again :)

  • +5

    ok i get that its a cultural thing about shoes in the house. but to me i cant understand why you would want to wear them inside. i mean you wear shoes to go outside so your feet are protected and you arent causing damage to your feet. why would you wear them inside your HOME, whats the actual need besides being to lazy to take them off? your home is just that your sanctuary, where you live why would you want to wear shoes when they can be easily taken off and left at the door for when they are actually needed. anyone that comes into my home takes their shoes off besides tradesmen. i just dont see the need for them inside a house theres literally no reason except laziness, you dont wear them in bed so why would you wear them anywhere else inside.

    • I think a lot of people also wear shoes in bed. But this is just my assumptions after watching a lot of american movies.

  • +6

    I'm asian, you know the rules or gtfo.

  • +6

    I can't imagine why would you even want to wear shoes inside, isn't it uncomfortable? And where do you take your shoes off when you go to bed or shower? After a shower, do you put your shoes back on? It makes no sense to me

    • +2

      For a bit of insight. I usually come inside from work, sit down on the couch in the living room. Take my shoes off and slide them under the couch ready for the next morning when I'm getting ready for work. I usually sit and watch a bit of news while putting shoes / socks on and getting ready to grab my bag to go.

      So I wear my shoes inside, I just don't wear them inside all day long, only when I'm getting ready to go out or just came home.

      I also don't take notice of what guests do.


  • My home is "shoes off" but totally admit it's cultural, if I grew up in a different culture I could easily have been the other side.

    Like a couple above me have mentioned, if you disregard the cleanliness of your floors, how about the health of your feet? Isn't it more hygienic (and more comfortable) to let them breathe as much as possible?

    http://freakonomics.com/podcast/shoes/ interesting talk about the topic bere

  • +1

    at my parents' when i was younger, we used to wear shoes but then after the renos we weren't allowed to wear shoes upstairs because of the carpets. that naturally and wordlessly evolved to not wearing shoes at all in the house as it was just easier. oddly enough, our friends now also don't wear shoes in the house. since we're all friends, we take our shoes off at each other's houses. having said that, guests don't have to remove their shoes, but most people do (we have a shoe rack in the foyer). I think it's more comfy not to wear shoes, but we do wear indoor-only ugg boots when it's cold (sometimes used for a dash to the mailbox tho).

  • You can buy signs that say shoes off and leave it near the front entrance (can buy at a lot of dollar stores). Also leave a pair or two of shoes near the sign and this should encourage most people to remove their shoes.

    • I would ignore that sign and just leave

  • -1

    What are outdoor shoes?

  • +1

    But most importantly it may carry some harmful germs.

    You will probably find worse germs on their bare feet or socks of a lot of people. I can understand from keeping dirt off the floor perspective but I doubt there is much benefit germ wise. regardless never heard of anyone that doesn't mind taking shoes off when asked politely.

    As to the cultural thing, In Australia we don't generally care one way or the other.

    • Wear indoor slippers?

      But my feet don't have piss, excrement, vomit and hepatitis from walking on public toilets

      • Your floors, your feet and clothes and for that matter the rest of your body is literally teaming with bacteria and virus's all the time. You aren't keeping germs out by demanding people take off their shoes, we get people to take off shoes so they don't track dirt in though.

        • +1

          Bacteria yes but not piss, excrement, vomit and hepatitis from walking on public toilets.

          Would you be fine with smearing shit all over your floors and then walking on it? I don't want some drug dealer's bodily fluids in my safe haven.

          I don't care about my personal toe germs or sweat or saliva..I literally swallow my own saliva every minute.

          But just as importantly, how the hell do people find it comfortable to wear shoes all day? Coming home from work and taking your shoes off is such a therapeutic moment. You don't wear thick gloves or a helmet inside right.

          • @DisabledUser194964: and that comes under the not tracking dirt in from outside. from keep things clean sense it is definitely a plus. From a germ perspective it makes little difference. the insides of your shoes and socks and ergo your feet are one of the best breeding places for germs, barring a full foot wash everytime you enter you will be bringing in billions of germs everytime you walk in with or without shoes.

            • +1

              @gromit: Just because you swipe some dirt off your shoes, doesn't mean that vomit and excrement from the drug addict the day before is gone from your shoes.

              I've never once mentioned germs or bacteria, I'm more disgusted with stranger's bodily fluids. There's bacteria everywhere I know. I'm not getting pissed off by my own bacteria, I just don't wanna be smearing some random's HIV infested bodily fluids on my floor.

              Even if everything was sterile, it's still so much more comfortable to take your shoes off and let your feet breathe once you get home.

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