“Please remove your shoes at the door.”
Has anyone ever asked you to do this? It may be something you’ve never been asked to do. Or you were asked and pleasantly complied. Or you were asked and thought it was rude. People have strong feelings about this topic, one way or the other!
Why would someone have a no-shoe rule?
In many countries (Canada, Denmark, Austria, Norway) and Asia and in some U.S. states, such as Alaska, it is the custom to take your shoes off at the door. Many people would not even think of wearing shoes in someone’s home. They may even bring their own slippers along. On the other hand, many people recoil at the thought of being asked to remove their shoes.
Good reasons to request “please take off your shoes.”
Dirt & Filth
You’ve walked around in who-knows-what and you enter someone’s home wearing shoes that may look clean, but still carry grime. No matter how you may scrape and scrub your shoes or boots, they are not completely clean. You carry this dirt and grime into someone’s home. Maybe they have little children who play on the floor, or they have newly refinished floors or new carpet. If they have made it clear that they have a no-shoe rule, who are you to clod through their house with your shoes on?
What could you have walked through that day? Gasoline, oil, people’s spit, fertilized lawns, cigarette butts, animal droppings, antifreeze – yuck! You wouldn’t want to have that tracked through your own home, would you?
(However, this may not be a valid reason if you have a pet dog or cat, as they can track in just as much on their paws.)
Remove Your Shoes At The Door wall decal
Let others know that you would appreciate them removing their shoes in your home.
Size 20” x 14”
Even the EPA sees the advantage of removing your shoes. There’s a government publication about pesticides that includes this: “To prevent tracking pesticides inside, remove or rinse your boots or shoes before entering your home.”
This goes along with dirt, filth and pesticides. You may have been to a gas station or convenience store bathroom where someone has “missed” and now you have stepped in urine and are tracking it on your shoes. Perhaps you stepped in poop somewhere without knowing it. This is extremely unsanitary and not something you want to bring inside.
New Carpet or Newly Finished Wood Floors
This isn’t a choice of caring more about your floors than you care about your guests. This is about your home and how you maintain it. Guests should respect the hard work and money you put into your home. What if someone walked in with a pebble in the tread of their shoe, or wore stiletto heels? Either one of these could scratch hardwood floors. It’s just being courteous to respect the homeowner’s property.
How do you ask someone to take off their shoes?
When inviting someone to your home, tell them in advance that you will ask that they remove their shoes. Remember the “Sex And The City” episode where Carrie arrives at a baby shower and is unhappy about having to remove her Manolo Blahnik stilettos? (To make matters worse, they ARE swiped.)
If you find it awkward to ask people to take their shoes off, hang a cute sign at the door to get the message across, something like:
- “Please set your shoes on the rack, so no dirt will be tracked.”
- “Leave your worries (and your shoes) at the door.”
- “Welcome! Take your shoes off and come on in!”
- “Don’t bother wiping your feet. Just leave your shoes at the door!”
Having a basket of clean slippers by the door can also encourage them to remove their shoes. You really need to have a bench for them to sit on so they can get their shoes off without doing a balancing act. Put a shoe or boot rack next to the bench where they can set their shoes instead of having a tumble of shoes in a pile by the door. You can say, “You can put your shoes on this rack if you want” and hope they get the hint.
If they arrive wearing boots or shoes that are muddy, they’ll certainly take those off without asking. Have a boot tray ready at the door to hold muddy, wet boots.
Why would they refuse to remove their shoes?
Here’s the flip side. There are going to be people who refuse to remove their shoes. They most likely think it’s rude to ask someone to take off their shoes. They may never wish to come to your house because of it. But other reasons can apply. If you don’t want to remove your shoes, ask if the hosts mind if you keep your shoes on.
Some people have orthopedic shoes, or they have a foot condition that requires them to wear supportive shoes. Perhaps there’s a problem with balance, or curling toes that can get caught on a carpet, or a back problem. Maybe your feet get cold without shoes.
You’ve been invited to a party and you arrive in a cute dress that is the perfect length, due to the heels you are wearing. Now you’re asked to remove your shoes, and the hem of the dress is suddenly dragging the ground. Or you feel like a statuesque goddess in your high heels, but when asked to remove your shoes, you shrink 4 inches. Some clothing just looks silly without shoes. If you haven’t been warned beforehand that you will be asked to take your shoes off, having a hole in your stocking might well be embarrassing for you.
Bare Feet Can Be Nasty
What if someone has a foot fungus or some other foot disease? Or their feet are dirty? Some people are simply grossed out by bare feet.
You’ve Made Your Guests Feel Uncomfortable
The comfort of your guests is everything. If your guests are not used to taking off their shoes at the door, they may feel uncomfortable in their stocking feet and not enjoy their time with you.
Give them something to wear on their feet.
Guests will feel more comfortable if they have something to put on their feet. Have a basket of clean, freshly washed slippers and slipper socks in different sizes sitting by the door. Place an empty basket nearby for used slippers, and this will make it obvious that you launder the slippers each time they are worn.
A suggestion: If you have hardwood floors, offer slippers that have the grips on the bottom. Bare floors can be slippery! And just think… if your guests wear those floor mop slippers — they’ll clean your hardwood floors for you!