Our Shoes Off Preference in our home

With the goal to keep our homes as clean free as possible now, I thought I’d do a little explaining about our shoes off preference in our home. There’s a reason why we don’t wear shoes in our house – not in any reason to convince you to do the same because I honestly I’m not passionate about convincing people I’m right, it’s your house and you can do whatever makes you happy!  Isn’t that great?

Since I’ve been asked why we decide to go the no shoe route, and many wonder how to start going that route (and also how to ask guests to remove shoes) I thought I’d share why we do this, and you can decide if this is a route you want to take one day.

When do you allow guests to keep on shoes in the house?

I want to note – We allow guests to keep shoes on for comfort/health and if we host a cocktail party where shoes are a part of the outfit. We understand that those are special occasions and situations – this is for the common every day in hopes to keep our home cleaner.

For Asians it’s a tradition because many things are done on the floor in Asian countries – like sitting to eat so for hygiene purposes it makes sense. I however, was born in Northern California and have always grown up taking off my shoes.


Reasons why we take off our shoes inside our home


  • We want to differentiate the inside from the outside – dirt stays outside.
  • If we did wear shoes, dirt would be inside our home, and if we ever took off our shoes, the bottoms of our feet would get dirty. Therefore we can’t curl up on the couch or get in bed without dirt everywhere or we have to leave shoes on all the time in our home and barefoot is so much more comfortable.
  • Babies can crawl on a cleaner floor and probably get sick less
  • Even if you have pets (my parents have my college dog) he is so small and tracks little to no dirt in since he’s indoor so it’s still fine to still be a shoeless home.
  • It keeps our things looking newer and cleaner – I can kick up my feet on our furniture any time
  • Our carpet stays white in bedrooms
  • We have SOFT wood floors – so worn down high heels will leave marks
  • We don’t like dirt sticking to the bottoms of our feet since we prefer bare feet inside
  • No shoes on the couch isn’t a rule, it’s just what happens when shoes are already off

So, that’s really it.

My feet itch when I walk barefoot outside even for a second, and I want to keep our home looking clean.  I’m a germaphobe.

Have you seen the Swiffer commercial where people test it out and clean their kitchen and show the bottom?  Well if you watched the people, they wear shoes inside their home so of course it looks dirty on the mop.  If you tried it on ours, the bottom of our mop wouldn’t be bad.


How do we ask visitors and friends to take off their shoes?


First I think it’s obvious as people our age should now enter homes and look at the hosts feet and automatically observe. Our friends know our policy after being friends with us for years, but for newbies, we just politely ask, no big deal.

We’ve never had push back.  Then, we promise our floors are clean.

There are a few ways to set up before guests come over

  • Leave a few pairs by the door (as a hint)
  • Have a sign by the door
  • Have slippers or socks (guests can take with them) at the door in a basket

Here I explain how we ask

Shoes off signs

We hang a sign outside the door asking guests to remove shoes, but we tend to remind guests before they come over – read this post on how we ask.

 

On Amazon

 


We understand the tradeoff for asking those to take off their shoes – we should have clean floors.  And, we do, because of our no shoe rule :)  And our cleaning lady gets a good applause too.

I had a friend who stayed with us for five days and she loved our no shoe policy that she implemented in when she returned home. I’ve always done it, even in my college apartment with roommates, rental apartments, no matter where I lived because it was simply a clean thing and worked for us.

I’ve had a friend concerned that it wouldn’t work with her home with so many people going in and out, and worried about the inconvenience.  I say if you make it a rule in your home, and ask them to, they’d be happy to oblige.  Our family and friends are happy to (or so we think and they still come over and hang out so they must be OK).

So if you ever come over, kick off your shoes and then kick your feet all over the place if you want – because your feet are clean and our house is clean!  Weeee!

How do you ask guest to remove their shoes?

Read how we request guests to remove their shoes – to avoid those awkward moments if you need some help ;)

Do you wear shoes in your home?  Do you think you’d ever implement a no shoe policy? The discussion below talks about asking guests to remove socks as well, what are your thoughts?

*This post was originally published on Feb 27, 2014 and revised and updated May 29, 2020.


Diana Elizabeth 

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.

146 Comments

  • JB

    LOL, you know, they make microfiber mop slippers now that are supposed to dust your hardwood floor as you walk around the house. Maybe I should bring a pair of those. ;) Of course, just socks is more comfortable than mop slippers. If I were to visit, I’d be happy to leave my shoes at the door, and I don’t mind if a little dust ends up on the bottom of my socks.

  • JB

    I would find it weird if I visited a home where I was asked to remove my shoes *and* my socks. You must live in a warm-weather climate. “Barefoot only” would never work for a big chunk of the year here in the upper Midwest. Just too cold. I have a shoes-off house, but I love walking around in comfortable socks. I’m happy to take my shoes off when visiting others, but I think I’d prefer socks-on, especially in the winter. At my house, socks, slippers and barefeet are all allowed, although I’m in socks when I entertain.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi JB, I agree on the socks lol. I would be embarrassed if say a crumb made it from the kitchen and stuck to a guests feet, so socks are a good idea if possible, and yes especially in the winter! ;) Heck, I say bring some socks so you can dust my house too, haha!

  • steven

    Honestly I’m not sure, our mom always wanted our house not only to be comfortable, warm & inviting too. I suppose our mom’s love(passion)for a barefoot household started when she was young(as her parent’s had the same philosophy). If you are in the house there is absolutely no reason why you need to wear shoes or socks, & that’s how she raised my sister & I. Granted our house is & always been kept extremely clean (including the floors-which are mostly carpet & some hardwood)

  • steven

    Our household is & has always been a “barefoot” only one. For as long as my sister Hannah & I can remember shoes & socks have never been allowed to be worn in/throughout our home’s main living areas. Our mom has always implemented a barefoot in the house only rule. Everyone loves the idea, & no one(close personal friends, neighbors, coworkers, my girlfriend & her family) has ever objected. Granted every family household is different & deciding whether or not to implement a “no shoes”/ no socks allowed house rule is perfectly up to you, what you are comfortable with & what you(everyone) believe(s) in. To be perfectly honest there really is no wrong comment/post here. It all comes down to personal preference & comfort.

    Two of my closest friends Deanna & her boyfriend Andy maintain a “barefoot only” apartment. My other two really close personal friends Tara & Tom whom I’ve known since high school ,after she & Tom bought their home she implemented a “barefoot only” house rule too

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Steven, thanks so much for sharing your story! I was curious, why no socks? I don’t mind socks, it’s the dirt I’m worried about and I figure socks will help dust my house (jk). But would love to know if barefoot was just a passion shared among your mom’s household or if I’m missing something with the socks! :) have a good one!

  • Sara

    My daughter hasn’t worn anything on her feet for two weeks (since school finished for the summer) and likely won’t be doing until after summer when school resumes. They stay amazingly clean and she’s an active 9 year old inside and outside all day long. I also let her go barefoot when we go to the store. She has tough feet because she never wore shoes until she started school. Some say I was a bad parent, but Melissa is happy and it doesn’t bother her to go without shoes. Oh, she does have shoes she could wear, even a pair of flip flops in the car, but she prefers to be barefoot.

  • Jaden

    Almost a year has passed since I kicked my shoe-wearing habit, and I still couldn’t be happier that I did it! I now have a place of my own with light brown carpet, and naturally the first thing I made sure to do was leave the shoes at the door. I would never dream of going back, and since I got the new place, some of my best friends have become converts after seeing the difference for themselves. Now there’s a whole bunch of shoes at the door whenever we hang out together, but the house is clean and everyone is comfortable!

    P. S. How awesome is it to walk around in white socks and know that they’re not going to get dirty because your house is so clean? : )

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Isn’t it so much cozier!? Cleaner? Fantastic??!! I’m converting friends left and right too – it just makes so much sense. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever found a pair of shoes where I’d want to wear them over being barefoot at home, maybe slippers. :) xx

  • Adriana

    As a true believer in all you have mentioned-I sell signs helping enforce the rule :)

  • Jaden

    JB, that’s awesome! Always great to hear of someone else appreciating the simple pleasure and comfort of walking around in our socks! And Diana, I’d probably end up going barefoot if I lived in Arizona too. Either way, life really is much more comfortable when our shoes are off!!!

  • JB

    I’m sure you have more 100-degree days in your part of the country. That makes a difference in the socks or no socks decision. Here’s a quick story that may help if you’re trying to convert friends: No shoes actually does prolong the life of flooring. That beige carpet I had lasted 10 years. When the apartment manager replaced it, she said she normally replaces people’s carpet every 7 years, but mine lasted three years longer. She said, “I know you take care of your stuff.” My carpet continued to look nice for longer than the average in that apartment complex.

  • JB

    I’m in favor of the no shoe revolution! I’m also a convert. Growing up, shoe removal was not required, but optional. I followed that same philosophy in the first couple apartments I had on my own. But then, I moved into an apartment with brand-new, wall-to-wall beige carpeting. I remember the first full day I lived there. I decided to not wear shoes and enjoy the new carpet. I walked around in my socks all day as I was setting up my new place, and I just thought to myself, “This carpet is really comfortable to walk on in stocking feet.” I decided that day to not wear shoes at home anymore. I started taking my shoes off at the door, and 13 years later, I still do. I’m in the same camp with Jaden. I’m always in my socks. Nice to know there are some other people who prefer socks over slippers or barefeet.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi JB! I love the story – that beige carpet was a blessing! Come winter time I’m always in socks or slippers too. During AZ summertime, I would absolutely melt if I wore socks! I love the no-shoe movement. I’ve already converted four friends, it just makes life much more comfortable. :)

  • Jaden

    Yes, that’s another plus! I feel like I’ve set myself free by adopting this new lifestyle and the best part is I’m not the only one! Hopefully we can inspire more people to join us in our shoeless ways. Just remember, all you need to do to kick the habit is just kick off your shoes!!!

  • Jaden

    Consider me a convert! I just moved recently, and I have tile and wood flooring in my new house. Growing up and even recently, I always kept my shoes on because I was almost always going somewhere (I work two jobs) but now I’ve gotten into the habit of taking them off when I get in, and you know what? I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner, because it’s just so comfortable and such an awesome feeling! I personally like to walk around my house in socks because I think it’s more comfortable than being barefoot, but at least my shoes are off, right? : )

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I love everything about this comment and not just because you no longer wear shoes! I never found shoes comfortable – socks are more comfy and you kinda dust the floors at the same time, right? ;)

  • Emily

    I maintain a shoes free home. No one has ever objected in fact my g/f’s like the idea of leaving their heels at the door when they visit. I play bridge with a number of different woman. The games can range from four to sixteen players and rotate from home to home. A long time ago we decided as a group that shoes would not be worn at games as a courtesy to the hostess. Even those who do not have a shoes off rule appreciate it.
    PS it also makes finding shoes easier at the end of the evening rather than hunting around under tables!!!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Emily! Thank you for your comment, it’s really cool to hear what others are doing, I’m feeling less alone :) Perhaps those who don’t have a no shoe rule will come over to the other side? ;)

  • Lydia

    Maybe because I’m also Asian, but my family has always taken off our shoes at home. A lot of close friends bring slippers or socks with them to hang out, and new people usually understand because so many people nowadays are starting to implement the same rule!

    Lydia is sitting on her window seat in bare feet admiring the color of her nailpolish. ;-)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I need to put socks in my purse, not because the places I go require me to take off my shoes, but because I really want to. I just don’t feel comfortable or able to relax until my shoes are off! :) Your little last line was so cute!! It makes me have to make sure I have a good pedi ;)

  • Carmen

    When I was little (living in Puerto Rico), my mom had a no shoe policy at home. The tile floors were always spotless! Mind you she had 7 kids at that time.
    Today I have a coat closet in the foyer, and that’s where we keep most of our shoes. I hate bringing shoes into my bedroom’s closet just because I know how gross that is. I tell my family to take off their shoes every time, but sometimes they don’t listen. :-/
    I’m getting my living room carpet replaced for laminate floors and hopefully I’ll suffer less this time. My couches are leather so I’m not so worry about that. :)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Carmen, 7 kids and a clean house?! That’s an amazing woman! :) The shoes I keep in my closet I hang behind the door so they are lifted, I can’t seem to place them anywhere on carpet, it just bothers me so I understand you!

  • Alex

    Lots of people here will take slippers with them. We don’t anyone who wears shoes in the house.

  • Alex

    Yes. If they had dirty feet then they can wear slippers

  • krystal

    We don’t have that rule…yet. But we say once we get our carpets deep cleaned professionally we will do no shoes in our home. I love a cleaner floor! (But what do you do if someone coming into your home has really dirty feet?! give them the slippers?! lol)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      You are so funny – once you get your carpets cleaned you can lay and sleep on the floor! :) Dirty feet? They should be pretty clean if they wear shoes! But look at it this way – their bare feet (as dirty as they look) will still be TON cleaner than the bottom of their shoes.

  • Alex

    I am in total agreement with you. I grew up in a shoes off at the door house and it is something that I have always practiced. We do prefer wearing slippers though. Our guests often bring their slippers to wear and we do the same when visiting. It is such a convivial and civilised habit.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Alex! I’ve never heard of people bringing slippers but that’s so neat! You must have more friends that enforce the no shoe rule so you can do that. I always feel terrible walking in someone’s home with shoes on, but if they say to keep them on, I keep them on to protect my feet from dirt! Haha :)

  • Mailinh

    I’m totally with you on this, girl. Plus, when you’re at home, why would you want to keep your shoes on? It’s home, not work, school, or anything that involves walking out in public.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Shoes are so uncomfortable!!!! I never understood it :) I also once threw all the clean clothes out of the dryer on the carpeted floor to go to bed, I could do so because it was a clean carpet :)

    • Devin

      I disagree with your gestapo tactic of requiring bare feet in your house. I like going barefooted but don’t like being told to walk in bare feet in someone else’s house.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      I don’t plan on executing people if they don’t remove their shoes after coming through my door ;) How do you propose is a meet in the middle resolution? Offering new socks? Slippers? Warning before hand? Bootie covers?

    • saralyn

      I always take off my shoes in my own house and as soon as I enter other peoples houses.my friends know of my policy and have no problem with it.i had one freond who took some time to get used to it but know she does it in her own home

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