post off: do you have a shoe rule in your house?


With our tragic combo of white carpets and athletic kids, we had a firm “shoes off at the door” rule in my house growing up. Cleats, track spikes, heels, you name it; whatever we had on usually came off to prevent scuffing the floor and tracking dirt all over the house. We had a shoe bin where we’d toss them in the interim, and they’d only emerge if we were going back out, or if the dog missed us. (He made a habit of sleeping on our shoes when we were away at summer camp — that’s love!) It wasn’t militarily enforced, but it became a routine that surely spared the oatmeal carpet in the den. Ours was a cleanliness thing, but others remove their shoes for courtesy or cultural reasons. How about you? What’s your shoe strategy? — Sarah C.

From our partners

shoes off at the door here. we have off white carpets so its most definately shoes off. its getting very cold here now so we change into slippers. guests nearly always removed their shoes without being asked when they see our shoes and slippers etc in the entrance hall. growing up i always took my shoes off at home and when visiting, and still take them off when i visit as do the kids.


I hate removing my shoes in other people’s homes. Just hate it. The worst was when we went to a holiday party one year in a home with unheated concrete floors. I thought my feet were going to get frostbite just sliding around in nylons. I was so uncomfortably cold that I left early. I mean come on. The floors were made of concrete! They could handle the shoes.

At our house, I made the kids take off their shoes at the door, because they were generally filled with sand, dirt, and pebbles. But everyone else is more than welcome to retain their footwear in my home. More than welcome.

The main difficulty is in convincing guests that it really is just fine, more than fine, for them to keep their shoes on. They have been trained so to the contrary.

Having a shoes-off policy really does help to protect homes.

I have an whole blog about removing shoes in homes:Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

No shoes inside in my home either… I don’t want to think about what we step in outside *shudder*. Plus, Asian households typically have a no-shoes indoor policy.

I much prefer to be barefoot, so I kick mine off as soon as I get inside the house- my home or anyone else’s.
I had the opposite experience of DJ. It never occurred to me that some might find that rude until once I offended someone by taking my shoes off!

Also, I work in a hospital and I don’t even want to think about how gross my shoes are. So they definitely come off as soon as I walk in the door.

Oh, this post also reminds me of that Sex & the City episode where Carrie goes to a party where the hosts requested that people remove their shoes, and she was hesitant to remove her very fabulous, expensive shoes but eventually was pressured into it. When it was time to leave, someone had taken them! I wonder if that’s ever happened in real life.

@jennifer- yes! the other thing I thought of was that scene in the highly underrated ‘Away We Go’ when over-the-top hippy/liberal/earth mother Maggie Gyllenhaal makes John Krasinski take off his shoes at the door and wear those RIDICULOUS pointed-toe genie slippers in the house!


We have hardwood floors, so there’s no need for a policy. Personally, I hate flat feet, so I hate walking on hard floors without shoes (usually easy slip on Crocs sandals). At my mom’s house, where there is carpet, I kick ’em off and it feels fine!

I prefer hardwood for the look and maintenance, but it does kill my footsies.

Mary T

I probably had the opposite experience of a lot of people growing up: for whatever reason, my dad HATED when we went around without shoes on. (Slippers were okay.) There was a “shoes required” rule for meals. I think he thought it was sloppy or disrespectful. My dad served in WWII, so maybe it was a generational thing. We do not have a shoe rule at our house now — we have two mastiffs, and until they can take off their feet, there’s really no point. Plus I can’t tell you how many times I *have* been barefoot, only to step painfully on a piece of hard kibble that fell out of a droopy jowl.

I have to say I can see the benefits of taking off shoes at the door as far as less vacuuming (but do you store all your shoes in a pile there or what? really curious about that), but count me in with the people who HATE when someone requires that I remove my shoes at their house. If you have allergies, okay. But if you’re just OCD, maybe you shouldn’t have a party. My shoes are part of my outfit. Maybe I have a bad manicure. Maybe my feet are going to leave sweaty prints on your floor. Please don’t force me to remove my shoes!


To be clear – in our house the rule really only applied to the kids, especially in our younger years. I also don’t enjoy it when people ask everyone to take off their shoes when coming in and have anxiety about all the things Mary T. just said above! Please don’t make me advertise my bad pedicure. That said, in my own home I have no problem going barefoot or proudly displaying my Santa-Paws socks.


Funny, my dad abhorred bare feet inside – considered the oils on skin to actually make dirt harder to get out of carpets. This meant we were supposed to wear indoor shoes or slippers, but i loved bare feet and never liked the somewhat sloppy feeling of slippers. Mostly it just seemed inconvenient and chore like to stop at doors to switch shoes. i still feel that way. It was not a good match.
Now, i have a house with zero carpet (hardwood upstairs, concrete downstairs), and enjoy the daily task of quickly sweeping/mopping. i can and do freely walk in through the back door and through to the front to take off my outdoor shoes. Guests are free to do as they like, particularly if they are wearing gorgeous shoes that are part of an outfit.
Living in a northern climate, this actually means that some of my friends will pack their heels in a bag to put on when they arrive at the party, since its so cold/snowy out to wear them outside. All problems solved: style, cleanliness, happiness.

Sarah, I know you don’t want other to see your feet when they have not had a pedicure, but you have good reasons for not allowing shoes in homes- keeping the place clean and avoiding scuffing the floor.

If it makes sense for you and your children to not wear shoes in your home; it makes sense for people to ask you to take your shoes off when you visit them. You can always bring some socks with you, or the host may be polite enough to offer to lend you some.

Sarah L.

Not really. We ask the kids to take their shoes off and put them away in the hall closet when they come in. That’s more about making sure shoes stay off the furniture or aren’t left laying around for the mad terrier to snag. We have rugs that are easily cleaned at all the doors and that is about the extent of my carpet freak out. I figure the dog probably tracks in worse things than us anyway.

I used to work for a couple who ran their business out of their home and they had a shoes-off policy to protect their light gray carpet. No problem, I just kept a pair of slippers there. Unfortunately, their whole house smelled like stinky feet! It was really pretty unbearable.

Megan B.

I have been trying to enlist a “no shoe” rule in our house — just with my husband and I mostly, but he won’t budge. He likes having them on, so I’ve pretty much given up. Even though I’ve read that there is trace lead in our soil here (from an old smelting plant) and we should leave the shoes at the door. Oh well. We don’t eat off the ground or anything…..

The Mother

I find the the increasingly widespread ‘no shoes inside’ policy has created a generation of folks who do not know what a doormat is for. I frequently have guests, who know we wear shoes in my house, track mud onto my hardwood floors–not just a little bit of mud either. I have bootscrapes and sisal boot cleaners outside my doors, and large doormats both inside and outside all entrances. My kids know what they are for and they check their shoes before stepping into any building. I guess that’s ‘so last century.’ :-)


I am under strict doctor’s orders to keep my shoes on, because of chronic spine and foot problems. If someone insists that I put their carpets before my health, I’m pretty comfortable deciding that I would be better off not spending time with them, and I just won’t go (or leave right away).

I am a barefooted baby. I cannot keep my shoes on even under the table at a nice restaurant! That said, we ALWAYS wore shoes at home as children… old wood floors required the protection from splinters!


I usually take my shoes off at home because it’s more comfortable, but I have to agree that it’s annoying (and kind of tacky) to ask guests to take off their shoes, especially at a party.

Most people are not prepared for that, and when they get dressed up they generally plan their outfits with shoes in mind.

If you absolutely must have people take their shoes off, please warn them in advance!


We’ve been a no-shoe house for several years – a habit I personally picked up after 10+ years in Asia.

I wipe our pups paws at the door when they come in (just a quick once-over with a chamois – a wet-wipe if they’re muddy or damp). My husband + I kick off our shoes upon entering, and either put them on the shoe rack or walk them to our clothes closets.

What I struggle with is finding a polite way to ask that our guests remove their shoes (medical reasons not-withstanding) when visiting. We’ve got shoe racks and boot trays at both front + back entrances to our house, and my husband and I are either barefoot or socked when our guests arrive.

Any no-shoe homeowners out there figure out something that’s polite and seems to work, and wouldn’t mind sharing?


Why do you have white carpets? its a damn floor! I have a dog and two cats, so I actually expect to clean my floors several times a week. I would never expect a guess to undress to visit my home! Many of my outfits are hemmed to fit high heels, beside that fact that, I am not walking barefoot in YOUR bathroom – how do I know you cleaned that? Gross. I have actually declined invitations to parties where I know I will be asked to undress at the door. Shoes are part of my outerwear outfit. Floors are on the floor. I have brand new floors in my house, but I do not obsess about them. Get over it. A little dirt is healthy.


My mother’s husband has always just kicked his shoes off when he got home, and he would question me or think it was weird when I didn’t. I like to wear shoes, and it’s usually practical for me. I’m eighteen years old, so I don’t just kick off my shoes and stay home after school. I feel like I’m always going in and out of the house, so I just keep my shoes on. We recently moved to a new apartment, and he has decide to have a no shoe rule. We now have a shoe rack (halfway down the hallway, not even by the front door). I hate it. I would rather put my shoes on when I’m getting ready to leave rather than when I’m running out the door. Besides that, I think walking around in socks (which are up against your feet all day) is dirtier than walking around in shoes that pick up some dirt.