Sunday, July 12, 2009

How Dirty Are Your Shoes?

Goodness gracious...What would you think if you arrived at someone's home, dressed to the hilt for a party, and saw with this sign?

While watching a rerun of Sex and the City, I saw the hilarious episode when Carrie was asked to remove these darling silver Manolo Blahnik shoes while attending a baby shower. Fast forward to the end of the party, she's shocked to discover the shoes were stolen!

Of course Carrie spends the entire episode tracking down who may have mistakenly walked out in her beloved Manolos. Because Miss Carrie never married or had a baby before this episode, she felt she had never been on the receiving end of a "shower gift" and was definitely due to she registered...for these Manolos! Of course, the hostess gasped at the outrageous price tag and then purchased them for Carrie, who lived happily ever after in the land of shoeaholics!

Was the hostess etiquettely correct in asking her guests to remove their shoes at the door?

There are several benefits to removing shoes at the front door:
~Children play on floors...think about all the dirt, pet excrement, insects, pesticides and others chemicals that are tracked in with shoes; it's disgusting!
~You will not have to clean your floors as often.
~Shoes can scratch wood floors.

What do the experts say about this subject?

I was interviewed by Good Morning America for a segment "How Dirty Are Your Shoes" and you might want to read my advice about the subject.

How do y'all feel about asking guests to remove their shoes in your home? Do you ask them to "take 'em off please," or do you let 'em track on in? I'd love to hear from you.


Hallie said...

I would never ask someone to take their shoes off if I was having a party... that's tacky.

Maybe if it was just a friend or someone dropping by, I guess that's more acceptable, but I personally would NEVER ask someone to remove their shoes.

Kathryn @ Bonafide Southern said...

While I take my shoes off before entering my home, I would NEVER ask nor would I expect my guests to do that. I think it would be offensive, as a guest might think the hostess thinks he/she is too dirty for their house. It just seems to be in bad taste to ask a guest to remove his/her shoes! Just pray they won't make a mess! :) haha

Stephanie said...

We don't usually wear shoes past the front door. There is a little mat, and we each keep two pairs of shoes there.

If Mr. Newlywed and/or I just have a friend or two over [for something casual] we DON'T ASK ANYONE to remove their shoes, but it is easy to see the pile next to the door. Most of our close friends don't wear shoes in their homes, so they take them off out of habit.

If we are having a lot of company that pile gets cleaned up so it isn't obvious we don't usually wear shoes in the house. In these situations we wear our shoes in the house as well.

I don't care either way. The only reason we don't wear shoes around the apartment is because I have a penchant for leaving them everywhere :)

Elaine said...

In the past I've been in a couple of homes where guests were asked to remove their shoes. Personally, I thought it was tacky. On one occasion I know for a fact there was an elderly women who needed to wear a certain type of shoe and because of this request,removed her shoes and was very uncomfortable the entire time. In our culture guests are not expecting to have to remove their shoes and for whatever reason some are clearly uncomfortable and taken by surprise at the very least! My goal when I have others in my home is for them to relax and enjoy themselves. My guests come first.....not my house. I pride myself on keeping a very clean, orderly, and I've been told, beautifully decorated home so I certainly understand wanting to keep the dirt and grime out! However, I want to have a gracious, welcoming home as well.....and requiring guests to remove their shoes is just not gracious! By now, Miss Janice, you've probably guessed that this is a pet peeve of mine! LOL
And on a less noble a guest I don't like to ruin my outfit by taking off my shoes, and I'm pretty sure most other women feel that way too! :)

Gracie Beth said...

I would never ask someone to remove their shoes. However, if I go to enter someones home and notice that their is a large pile of shoes next to the door I will ask if I need to take my shoes off. The only situation where I feel it is acceptable to ask is if you have an infant that is crawling around on the floor in which case I think it is ok because no one wants a baby to be crawling around on dirt, if I was in this situation I would explain to guests the situation but only if it was a daytime affair.

Marla said...

when I enter another persons home, i try to take my lead from their example. I always remove my shoes if they do, and frequently I remove them them even if they do not, because I do it at my own home. My kids always remove their shoes as soon as they enter any home.

But I would never ask anyone to....

Anonymous said...

Hello, Miss Janice! How marvelous you were interviewed by GMA! I love it! Oh, I totally agree with you ~ I could never ask folks to take off their shoes!
What I do hate is having to take my shoes off at the airport as we go thru security! I feel so dirty walking on those floors!
Thanks for popping in to see me. I always love your visits!
be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Miss Janice, I completely agree with you. I would never ask a guest to remove their shoes. I guess because I was raised in a home where it was considered bad form to come to the table in bare feet.

However, I always take off my shoes if I go to a home where it is the custom, although I find it awkward to do so. Also, I have not found the children in ultra sterile homes to be any healthier than in homes where people do wear shoes. In fact, the children in ultra sterile, shoeless homes seem always to be sick, at least in my experience.

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

I am with you, Miss Janice. I would never ask a guest to remove his/her shoes in my home. It's just not polite. When I lived in France, however, I was in a very rainy area and many people had tile floors, so people generally took off thier shoes when entering. I attended a children's birthday party where each of the children brought their slippers to wear inside the house. Thanks for the informative post! And how cool that you were interviewed by GMA! Have a great week!...Debbie

PAT said...

I've never asked our guests to remove their shoes. Not even when we had over 300 people, here for a house tour, one Christmas.

Congratulations on the GMA interview!

Southern Savvy said...

We remove our shoes at the front door and then put on our "house" shoes. It's a personal preference to help keep the floors and carpet cleaner and because we have a baby who is always on the floor and putting her hands in her mouth. However, I think that it is tacky to ask guests to take their shoes off. As Miss Janice mentioned, a lady may not be prepared with a proper pedicure! :) Some guests see our shoes by the front door and automatically take theirs off as well. It's their choice. I just make sure to clean up my floors after I've had company over.

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss Janice! I wouldn't ask people to remove their shoes if I were to entertain but since I don't know anyone here that isn't a problem!lol I did request that children coming to play and going to carpeted areas remove their shoes and also being from New England with messy winters it was just polite to remove them! Then when I was interested in Feng Shui I began to make my family remove their shoes and it just became habit! We have an oriental sister-in-law so hubby's family is never offended and they just do it anyway. I've also read studies about the toxins brought in on shoes BUT what really convinced me it was okay on a day to day basis is public restrooms!!! Look at the floor next time you're in one! More than once I've accidentally stepped in "wet" spots in the stalls!(in some nice places too) lol Again, I never ask/make anyone! Congrats on interview; tried to go to site but virus protection prevented me from reading your commentary! Interesting post!!! Sincerely, Jeannette

Ashley Turner said...

I'm not a fan. I don't wear saucy heels to parties just so I can leave them in a pile on the floor.

However, if I go to someone's house and see their shoes at the door, I take it as a hint and remove mine. Also, I think or at least I hope that anyone I would invite to my home would have fairly clean shoes or wipe them off or take them off before coming in if they're muddy... it's an interesting topic - hard to say...

Sandra said...

I never ask people to remove their shoes. I like for people to feel comfortable in my home, and I think that request makes people feel uneasy. Interesting topic! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I never ask guests to remove their shoes! I would much rather have them tracking in dirt than discover a set of toesies crying out for a pedicure! Or worse- smelly feet!

Please keep your shoes on!

(I love how Carrie "registered" at Manolo in that episode! Why didn't I think of that????;)


Melissa Miller said...

My all time FAVORITE show is S&TC!
That episode was the best. LOL!

We do take our shoes off before entering our home. We use our garage entrance so it's not a problem as to where to place them. It has a small brick stairway leading inside so they get lined up
and stay neat.

I haven't quite figured out how to ask our guests to remove them though. I feel a bit funny asking. I have such terrible allergies I really need to start ASAP.

Have a blessed evening.
~Melissa :)

Sue said...

Cool interview Miss Janice. I only started thinking about taking shoes of at the door when my son was in the hospital last year and the nurse told us to be sure and take our shoes off when we got home and to disinfect them. Now I'm a bit overly cautious about it but have yet to ask a guest to remove their shoes. It just does not seem very hospitable.

Unknown said...

I would only ask them to remove their shoes if I had the nicest, plushiest, white/light colored carpeting. Otherwise, I don't want to see anybody nasty, old, (perhaps even smelly or dirty) feet.

Nanette said...

I would not ask a guest to remove their shoes. If it was an extremely casual function, I might let them know it would be okay if they removed their shoes,if they felt the urge to, and where they could place said shoes.

We all know what is potentially on the outside of the shoe, but a lot of times would really be happier not knowing what is on the inside of the shoe. I have met people whose odiferous tootsies could clear a room and how would we deal with that, oh my! Nonetheless, at my house one would be welcome to shuck their shoes or leave them on, whatever would make them the most comfortable.

I loved your response to the interview. Wonderful!

Sit A Spell said...

I don't like yuck, so we take our shoes off and have special homes for them at each door. However, I don't ask my guest to do the same. Many have asked if I want them to take their shoes off and I tell them to do what is comfortable to them. How neat that you got that interview!

Brown Eyed Girl said...

I don't ask people to take their shoes off. It's about your guests comfort, not yours! I was once asked to take my shoes off while the hostess slipped into a pair of cozy Uggs... and I spent the evening with freezing tootsies. We left early because I was so cold!

tintarosa said...

Interesting post. I would NEVER ask someone to remove their shoes. Actually, one of my many peeves is foot related. I can't stand seeing adults walk barefoot. I am easily disgusted by hideous feet - bunions, hammertoes, cracked heels, fungus, hair, etc. really send me over the edge. If you have foot odor, I have the right to Fabreeze you.

Kathie Truitt said...

I would never ask my guests to remove their shoes. You are right - etiquette is about making your guests feel comfortable.

I also agree with Elaine in the above post, that as ladies our shoes are part of the outfit and you completely ruin the outfit if you have to take off your shoes.

Larie Carlice Proverbs 27:19 said...

We typically do not ask first-timers to remove their shoes or those who do not frequent our home often. However, we would like for people to remove their shoes for the reasons of keeping our carpet clean and big fact that we do have three small children who play on the floor.

After living in Japan for 8 years, the custom of removing shoes has become habitual for us so when we enter someone elses home and do so, we get strange looks for a moment. They of course say that we do not have to do that, but for us it's our way of showing respect for their home.

Taking my shoes off at someone's home is also a compliment, it's my way of saying I'm comfortable as I would assume the same for someone who did the same in my home without me asking.


Lady Katherine said...

Love you being interview by GMA! I myself do not ask guest to remove their shoes. I have been to homes where they are barefoot, and ask where can I put my shoes. Now Family, different matter! I live in the country and no cement around. I had my family trained to leave shoes at the door, My grandchildren always do! Their parents never do, so I have grass all the time! Too much to clean up! I need to retrain my family! Now living in the city we never took off our shoes.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

We went to a Christmas party a number of years ago at the home of one of Hank's co-workers and everyone was asked to take off his or her was an OCD thing on the part of her husband. He also couldn't "rest" unless all of the light switches a room were all flipped up or all flipped down.

I wouldn't ever ask folks to take off their shoes at our house.

Lisa said...

I would NOT ask my guests to take off their shoes.It's almost like asking someone to disrobe.

Matthew Celestine said...

Thanks for bringing up this subject. I have an whole blog on it: Shoes Off at the Door, PleaseYou might want to take a look.

Designs on 47th Street said...

Very interesting post, Miss Janice. I remember that segment on GMA. Congrats to you!

I would never ask friends/guests to remove their shoes in their homes and don't like doing so in other homes.

My one exception (and this was very hard for me)..I do ask my customers to remove shoes when I have my big seasonal shoes. It's because I have a lot of wood and well over 100 people are coming in and out. I do provide booties.

Meg said...

Unless it is for a cultural reason, I do not agree with asking people to take their shoes off to enter your home. I would never do that in my own home. That being said, if someone requests this to be done I will not make a stink about it and cause a scene but I would not be happy or comfortable.

A Hint of Home said...

I feel awkward asking anyone to remove their shoes but I do say "Oh just wipe your feet and come on in." Some have offered to remove them but I don't require it.
Have a great day today.

Anonymous said...

I think we just need to exercise good judgment and understanding all around.

If you are going to someone's home and you know that culturally shoe removal could be an issue, then be prepared to either 1. remove your shoes 2. explain why you can't or 3. carry disposable slip on shoe 'booties' that some repair men wear now.

However, I think it's best to not ask people to remove their shoes. They likely have a good reason to not remove their shoes and asking them could cause great embarrassment. No one would want to have to explain to a hostess within earshot of party guests that they have foot fungus.

Diabetics need to protect their feet. Athlete's foot and nail fungus are highly communicable. Foot odor is embarrassing. Foot deformities like hammertoes, bunions and corns are painful. Orthotics need to be worn inside shoes. I'm sure there are many other reasons.

Some people would be doing others a greater kindness by leaving their shoes ON! :)

Historical sites with charmine said...

Hello Miss Janice,this is an interesting topic and i learn so much from your posts.I live in India and it is very dusty/dirty on the streets and this practice is quite common, i don't like this but always remove my shoes when asked to.There are many times when after I've removed my shoes I've had to walk on not so clean floors.What's the right way?

Nancy Rosalina said...

Miss Janice, I never ask anyone to remove their shoes, but I always leave a pair sitting next to the thinking is...if they see mine sitting there, then maybe they will think to take theirs off...Now, my family..well, they know they better remove the shoes... ;) We never where them in the house! My main reason for taking off the shoes is cleaning...some people never clean there shoes and when they walk across my hardwood, I can see every shoe print...OH that drives me crazy, and I have to clean the floors when they leave.
I would never a word to anyone about their shoes, and especially older people, my mom is afraid of falling on my hardwood, she always says my wood is slick as a ribbon, so she feels better leaving her shoes on, I also have a elderly neighbor and when she visits she leaves on her shoes...that's fine because I would just die if anyone ever fell.
Now, When I go to someones house I always remove my shoes, or at least ask about it!

Teresa Jane said...

I'll just quit wearing shoes ever. :)

Anonymous said...

This is such a great topic Miss Janice, it's fascinating to see the responses. We would never ask, and would resort to building a barrier of sodden shoes, boots before doing so, but it's also obvious when there are shoes at the door what the expectations are.

Fortunately we haven't yet encountered this dilemma in its most extreme form.

May you enjoy a splendid week!

House Elf said...

I found this interesting as it is just accepted without question that upon entering a home you remove your shoes at the door here.
I remember watching a show on real estate in Hawaii and the agent had explained to the couple buying that it is expected to remove your shoes upon entering a home, I thought, "Why in the world would you leave your shoes ON?”
I honestly did not realize there was a difference, and that it would be acceptable 'over the border'.

Jennifer @ Her Southern Charm said...

Totally agree with you on this! And PS- that is prob one of my fave satc episodes! I love how Carrie gets her shoes back, and they way she got them! ;)

Inaie said...

I have several persian carpets in the house, some silk ones...and I live in the desert, where there is too much sand around! I do like the idea of having guests removing their shoes and i am looking for this sign.
I am also leaving a basket of slippers by the door, in case someone wants to wear them.