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Shoes off? Shoes on?

I don't wear shoes around my house (walking around the city streets and then spreading that all over my floors? Ew.) but by the same token, I don't ask my party guests to remove their shoes.


Primarily, because I have hardwood floors and few rugs.  Cleanup after a party is really no trouble, and I don't mind sacrificing the time and effort if it means my guests are more comfortable while they're here.

Secondly....ok, because I identify with Carrie in that Sex and the City episode where she was asked to take off her shoes and cried "But this is an outfit!"  I didn't just blindly pick shoe x to go with outfit n.  Many minutes of thought and research went into the final selection.  You betta recognize!

I'm kidding.  A little bit.

On the other hand, winter is coming and with it, snow and slop.  Most city-dwellers know that messy boots are to be removed at the door, and the most courteous guests bring a pair of heels or slippers, or removable overshoes.  Likewise, a gracious host will leave a chair at the door to alleviate the shoe-removing-balancing-dance.  If you're in the suburbs and your guests will only walk from their car in your plowed driveway to your front door, a towel to thoroughly dry any moisture accumulated on the short walk should be adequate.

But if you're really, really adamant about no shoes, ever! then it's very thoughtful to provide clean house slippers for your guests (especially if you have hardwood floors, which can be at best cold and at worst painful).  Be prepared for a variety of responses when you ask people to remove their shoes.  Some will assume that's what you wanted them to do in the first place, while others might feel a little put out.  Afterall, they've got an outfit on. :)

So where do you fall on the Great Shoe Debate?  On?  Off?  Depends?

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Reader Comments (7)

Hey Jen, If my friends are just coming over to watch a movie or something, they automatically take their shoes off. If I'm having more of a formal gathering, no, half the time the shoes are part of the outfit. Right? In the middle of winter most have boots and they are left at the door. In other words I'm not that picky.

November 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie V

i do not ask my guests to remove their shoes - but my current living space is tile floor (another easy clean surface)

also, i love the shoes in the picture in this post
also also, if you want to talk about gross street dirt & bare feet I should tell you about the time I walked from 42nd St to Penn Station barefoot...

November 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter*lynne*

I grew up in a house with a no shoes rule... Which apparently is common in Asian households? I don't know, so my automatic instinct - especially if I plan on staying for over an hour, is to take my shoes off. Unless I see other people with their shoes on and then I assume that I should leave my shoes on... And if it's a mix, I look at the host.

November 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

It varies, especially if it's family that we're visiting. My folks, the shoes tend to come off so we don't track stuff all over their new fancy wood floors in the kitchen. At the inlaws, shoes stay on as they have large dogs who like to lick feet and well, I just don't like to step in the slobber. Everyone keeps their footwear on or brings slippers. As for friends, we follow house rules and are not put out. Just need to remember to wear the good socks.

November 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Anyone raised with proper manners knows to wipe their shoes on the doormat before entering. It is rude and insulting for a hostess to require guests to remove their shoes. A psychologist friend also thinks it is controlling and puts a guest in an inferior role. Having been in that "inferior role" as a guest, I tend to agree.

December 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie in Laguna Beach, CA

Thanks for bringing up this subject. I am totally in favour of shoes being removed in homes. So much filth can be brought into a home on shoes.

I have an whole blog on this subject: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

December 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew C

I also grew up in a house where you take your shoes off when you enter the house but when you are entertaining in your home, it is your obligation to accommodate your guests and to clean up after your guests. If your guests track mud into your house, it is your obligation (as the host) to smile, brush it off and clean it up afterwards.

If I am going over to a friend's house for a casual gathering or dinner, I don't mind taking my shoes off. In fact, I may prefer it. BUT, if I am going to a party in the evening where there will be a number of guests, where I am expected to look nice, where it is an evening out - I absolutely do not expect to leave my shoes at the door.

My shoes are a critical part of my life - shoes stay on!

February 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeyla

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