Say No to Using Shoes at Home

After reading today's post, you won't ever use shoes at home again. Ready?
Say No to Using Shoes at Home

Last update: 17 December, 2018

In most cultures, having to remove one’s shoes before entering a home feels like an odd request. In other cultures, however, entering a home with outdoor shoes is unthinkable. If you really think about it, it makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Scientific facts of shoes at home

What’s most interesting about this topic is the science backs up the fact that we shouldn’t use street shoes at home. Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology at the University of Arizona, conducted a study which revealed that more than 420,000 types of bacteria live on the exterior of shoes— by the way, did you know that in toilets, there are only 1,000?

27% of all the bacteria that Gerba’s team found on the shoes were e. coli, which is present in human and animal feces (yes, you read that right). Now are you starting to think twice about using outdoor shoes indoors? We’re not surprised.

shoes bacteria

Dr. Janna Tuck, spokesperson of the America College of Allergies, Asthma and Immunology, explained that our shoes and clothes carry particles from the street, carrying them into our homes and that’s one of the many causes of the allergies that exist today.

“You step on a lot of things throughout the day, whether it’s grass or the street,” says Dr. Tuck. “And often, that ends up going straight from your shoes to the carpet.”

A social matter

A lot of readers might agree that removing shoes before entering the home is a good idea. Kicking off our shoes and everything else we were lugging around (materially and emotionally speaking) to relax sounds really nice. But the problem starts when we have guests over; how can we ask them to leave their shoes at the door?

It’s all about finding the balance between: “my home, my rules” and communicating that in a simple, even polite, way. To do just that, we suggest decorating your home entrance with a bench, coat-hanger and maybe have some slippers around to offer your guests; the cuter the slippers are, the better.

In your home, you set the rules and you can always explain what you just read in our post to your guests.

Another thing to keep in mind with a shoe-less interior is that it’ll allow you to pamper your floors and your feet will thank you for it. Lay rugs, maybe a Kilim one, and if you can, install warm flooring like wood.

Shoes floors

A little history

As we mentioned previously, some countries have cultures where using outdoor shoes at home is unthinkable; Japan or Scandinavian countries are a great example.

In Japan, many everyday activities like eating, sleeping or spending time with family take place on the floor. Consequently, floors have to be impeccably clean and, of course, outside shoes that dirty everything is an absolute no. Removing shoes is also a sign of respect and the Japanese also remove their shoes before entering schools and some traditional restaurants.

In Nordic countries, entering a home with shoes is illogical because of climatic reasons. Many days of the year, these countries receive a lot of rain and snow. So, homes have a zone referred to as a “mudroom” where people can leave their wet jackets and snowy shoes, changing into a comfy pair of slippers.

A health plus

Shoes health

If our hygienic and comfort arguments weren’t enough, you should also know that walking barefoot has a lot of health benefits in store for you.

  • Our feet have a lot of nerve ends that are only activated when we walk barefoot.
  • It helps us unload emotionally.
  • Walking barefoot improves our posture.
  • It benefits our blood circulation.
  • By planting our feet completely on the floor, we can straighten them.
  • We can correct any improper weight distribution that occurs when we wear shoes.
  • It facilitates transpiration, which means our feet will be fresher and less likely to suffer from fungus.

So, ready to leave your shoes at your front door?