I don’t like wearing shoes—there, I said it. Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not barefooting around town like some urban, sometimes-pedicured Hobbit, but I just think there’s a time and a place for shoe wearing and “around the house” is not included in that list.

When someone sets foot in my house, and they don’t immediately start searching for a rug, shelf, corner, or closet to put their shoes in, I start judging them. Imagine this is that hit Backstreet Boys song of yesteryear: “I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, don’t care what you did, as long as you love me take off your shoes. This isn’t about cleanliness or being respectful, it’s about being a normal human being. You cannot truly be comfortable indoors with your shoes on. How are you going to properly manage to curl your feet up under your ass on the couch with your Sketchers on? Answer me!

After a long day, the first thing that comes off when I get in the door are my rancid-smelling flats (oh, don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about, ladies). …The bra comes off shortly thereafter. Here’s another interesting tidbit: when I go into a fitting room, my shoes are off just as soon as I ward off the wandering, hanger mongering middle-aged moms and lock the door behind me. Sometimes I’m not even trying on any pants to warrant shoe removal.

I get they're Manolos, but honestly, I never thought these were that cute. Sorry Carrie.Image source: whosshoes
I get that they’re Manolos, but honestly, I never thought these were that cute. Sorry, Carrie.
Image source: whosshoes

Let me blow your mind for a second. Have you ever thought about why someone might keep their shoes on in your house? Look, I know you offered your hall closet to them and they gave you some line of bullshit about their feet being cold, a nasty bunion, being traumatized by that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie’s Manolos were stolen, or maybe they bitched about how their arches put the London Bridge to shame, but what’s really going on here is they might want to be prepared. Prepared to run.

I generally trust most people I let into my home, but when someone doesn’t take off their shoes, a small part of me is worried they’re going to kill me and/or steal my shit. Maybe they just want to fight me. The point is, in not taking their shoes this guest is sending a message that, in my mind, is the equivalent of an angry dog baring its teeth. They’re asserting shoe superiority over me in my own home, and I find that offensive.

Assume your guest isn’t a sociopath (shame, because they really are the best company), has it occurred to you that they might be  quietly suggesting your house is disgustingly filthy at  a Hoarders level? “Oh that’s okay! I’ll just keep my shoes on,” really translates to, “Oh my! Even Dyson couldn’t put a dent in the grime on this floor. I can’t possibly sully my socks treading upon your worn-out, rotten rug!”

Perhaps you have a classic feet hater on your hands floor. I don’t make any exceptions for people who are grossed out by feet, because quite honestly, I think there’s a foot hatred in all of us lurking below the surface, just waiting for one particularly inflated blister to send us over the edge. In taking off your shoes, no one’s going to coerce you into a foot orgy of ankles and writhing piggies that just back from the market. Grow up, or I’ll put my big toe in your mouth when you’re not expecting it.

Sometimes a simple invitation to dinner turns into an “I Have a Secret” episode of Maury right in your living room. Maybe your guest of honor reveals the humiliating secret that they can’t remove their shoes because their Dr. Scholl’s scented insoles are the only things keeping their pungent foot odor from killing off the potted plants. To be blunt, if this visitor’s feet really smell that bad, ask yourself this: do I really even want this person in my house?

The next time you have some guests over for dinner, don’t let them get away with keeping their shoes on, and for goodness sake, take off your shoes! Do not enable shoe superiority. In this day and age, there are million differences among us human beings we love to point out; don’t let wearing shoes in the house become one of them.

76 thoughts on “Shoe Superiority

  1. Ha! I could be wrong, but I think taking your shoes of at the door is a cultural norm in Canada. It is more comfortable and saves a lot of sweeping/vacuuming later. I know people here who were giant SATC fans who still thought that episode was idiotic.

    1. I liked the concept–if someone’s shoes get stolen at your place, you fork over the cash. But who wears their Monolos to some shitty get together?

      I wish it was a norm here… It’s even worse when you go over to the house of someone who keeps their shoes on. Like, don’t force your lifestyle on me.

  2. All may have their minds blown, but I have such little love for shoes that I take them off at work a lot. People at work are even used to; uh disgusted by it, but don’t hate, my feet feel so much better for it.

    1. Haha! Glad I’m not the only one. My office is actually built in an old home, so it feels weird to wear shoes sometimes. I take them off at my desk all the time. I used to do it at school too, and one day I went the whole day without wearing shoes. Not one teacher said a thing – though my history teacher did make a quip about people being too poor for shoes (we were talking about the Great Depression) and I know he was talking to me. :p

      1. My boss told me and told me over and over again, but I just kept not wearing them and she just gave up. She kept telling me that I would step on glass or something terrible and I just said L&I and she would cringe and say ,”Don’t say that!” so of course I would because it annoyed her.

      2. I never did it at school, especially not in the library. I saw too many instances of bad barefootedness that I couldn’t do it. I’ve seen some bad instances at work, too… (Not my own, for the record.)

      3. I only did it the one day, and it was because the shoes I was wearing were new and giving me blisters. So I did the sensible thing and took them off. I fully expected my teachers to tell me to put them back on, but they didn’t. I never did it in the library though – the librarians are too strict for that, even if I am a favorite patron. :p

      4. Oh man, when I was in school the library hipsters were putting their toes all over everything. Chairs, computers, books…

        Maybe I’m exaggerating.

      5. I feel like now is also an appropriate time to reveal I pick things up with my toes like a monkey when I’m lazy.

  3. Rancid-smelling flats are exactly the reason I do not take off my shoes at other peoples’ homes. That happens in the comfort of my own house, where there’s no one to judge my disgusting feet.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad I’m not alone. I gagged the other day. Flats have such a short life span…

      My tactic is when I’m at someone’s house in my smelliest flats, I pay close attention to when it’s time to go so I can get over to the door and protect the smell from escaping like some wrathful genie.

      1. Nope! You’re definitely not alone. Have one pair of flats that I absolutely love – they’re literally the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned, but they smell absolutely horrid. But I can’t stop myself from wearing them, so I simply have to pay close attention that no one gets too close to them…

      2. HA! This warrants a post unto itself, because flats are great, but I mean… How do they smell so bad? Are my feet that sweaty? Is it because I’m not wearing socks? Damn flats.

      3. You’re right. I’m certain my converse don’t smell this much. And more of my feet are showing when I wear flats, so shouldn’t they, even if they are sweating, be able to “breathe” easier? It just doesn’t make sense. Hmm, maybe it is the lack of socks. But sometimes you just can’t be bothered with socks!

      4. Plus those tiny little flat-specific socks always fall down and get wadded up in the heel. That grippy stuff on the back of the ankle does nothing!

  4. I’m moving into a new place in a few months and first rule I am implementing will be a shoes off at the door policy. The second rule is bras off at the door, but that might be a little harder to enforce.


  5. I have to share this..
    one year I was delivering furniture to a home with the whitest carpets you have ever seen? white carpets? an I mean whiter than snow??? why would anyone want white carpets???? snowy white! and I might ad??? in the living room?

    1. In my dream house, I hope to someday have hardwood floors throughout. I’m really not a carpet fan. The stains, matching it to your furniture… Hardwood just seems easier (even though it can scratched…).

      If you’re very careful and clean, I suppose white could be nice. As for me, well…

  6. Oh, boy. I don’t know. What if there’s a fire? And what about that broken glass I did a half assed job of sweeping up after I dropped that wine glass last week?

    You take your shoes off in my house at your own risk.

    Seriously, though. Don’t take off your shoes.

  7. While I love the invention of shoes (think of walking on a burning hot sidewalk barefoot), they HAVE to be off at home. How do people walk around with shoes on all day? Ew, I say. I have the opposite reaction to Carrie’s, it’s more “you want me to keep my shoes on? All night?”

    1. Agreed! Shoes are for walking across hot coals and glass, not for sitting on the couch watching the Real Housewives of Alaska (it’s only a matter of time…).

  8. You know, I’d never really thought about that. Mostly, people take their shoes off in my house, though. There’s not really a place to put them, though. I don’t have a great entryway. 😛

    1. I don’t have a grand foyer either… I hope someday to have one of those cool coat/storage areas in the hall like some HGTV shit.

      Like this.

      1. That would be awesome. I’m hoping that maybe I can get a small, slim table for the front “hallway” that I can just throw my keys and mail on when I get in. We’ll see. 🙂

      2. I’m starting to be more interested in it. I really need my apartment to look like a home. So I have been Pinteresting 😀 Sigh.

  9. I love my feet. I even have a picture of them at the top of my blog. I’ve been told I have cartoon toes, that they are strange looking, and that if I died and there was nothing left of me except my feet, my friends would still recognize me. Which is a relief, I suppose.

    I absolutely love being barefoot – I love the feeling of grass and sand and gravel and even the hot sidewalk under my toes. I like walking through squishy mud, and all kinds of carpet – and if it wasn’t so cold, I might even go barefoot in the snow. :p

    1. HA! Well at least you know if you’re in a horrible accident in which everything is maimed but your feet, you won’t be a Jane Doe in the hospital.

      The mud and snow… I’m a little skeptical. And the grass on my bare skin has always freaked and tickled me in this weird way since I was a kid. But if I forget something in my car and walk the dirty, unswept garage floor barefoot? Yes.

      1. Yes, it is a relief. 😀

        Haha, well, I am a little weird. And if I’m inside walking on an un-swept floor and I get things stuck to my feet, that drives me crazy. So I have to sweep. But outside? Dirt is dirt. If I didn’t want to get dirty, I should wear shoes. :p

      2. Can I tell you, walking in my bedroom I’ve gotten sticky tags from whatever stuck to my feet and not even noticed until hours later? …I know, I’m gross.

  10. Regarding your comment that people might be afraid of taking off their shoes due to hygiene – at a time I regularly house-sat for a person who had two ridgeback dogs and three fox terriers who lived in his house…with full floor carpeting…even in the bathrooms. The layer of dog hair on the carpet was thicker than the carpet. I stepped out of my shoes into the bath/bed and out again back into my shoes. I dressed without removing my shoes (and without my clothes touching the floor). Apart from that place, if I’m sleeping there I’m going barefoot, even in mid-winter.

    1. Okay, that’s a special circumstance. Gross! The only thing that could have been worse than that would be if the floor was covered in toenail clippings.

      I’m barefoot in winter, too. Let my feet freeze, I don’t care!

    1. I am. I had no idea there was some psychology behind this. Now I’m holding all summer babies who refuse to take off their shoes especially accountable.

  11. You must love us Asians, then…because we always take our shoes off, too. The only exception would be if your floor is filthy. Unfortunately sometimes carpets can hide that disgusting fact (which is why when I’m staying in hotels, I bring socks). Like you, shoes go first, bra second.

    1. I do love that about you guys! Unless I see a ton of visible debri in the form of crumbs, or a stain that looks like it once was blood, my shoes will be off.

  12. I am so with you on the shoes. They are the first thing to go when I get home. Also, I’m wearing flip-flops today because they are the closest you can get to not wearing shoes. Loud, obnoxious flip-floppy noise be damned. 🙂

  13. I do think running across town like an urban pedicured hobbit might turn into a fad if given time. The shoe thing is really a stark dividing line, almost as if the world has a secret shoe fetish – some people just can’t bear to part with them whilst others hate the sight of them in their house!

    1. Oh goodness… Let’s hope not. Being barefoot outdoors anywhere other than around the perimeter of your house or at the pool is a no-no. I have a lot of shoe rules…

      I just feel like keeping your shoes on is about the same as keeping your coat on.

  14. Competely agree. I would go through life barefoot if it was allowed and I take off my shoes whenever I can (and sometimes when I’m not supposed to.) But I never take them off at people’s houses unless they ask me to because I think they’ll think I’m weird. And I’m sitting there DYING to take off my shoes and thinking “You know, a GOOD HOST would be able to TELL that I REALLY WANT TO TAKE OFF MY SHOES and am WAITING FOR AN INVITATION” and they don’t seem to pick up on my psychic vibes. It’s distressing. I think I need new friends.

    1. HA! You know, it’s a shame in our society today there’s a stigma that we can’t ask people about take off our shoes. I mean, I can half understand if you’re barefoot, that’s on the next level, but if you have socks on? There’s a barrier between your foot and their floor, so what’s the problem?

      I’m generally only over at someone’s house if I know them pretty well, and being who I am, I will ask where I can put my shoes. If they seem taken aback, I’ll tell them I frequently walk through dog shit and that it’s for their carpet’s own good.

  15. The first thing I take off when I get in is my shoes too. I don’t understand people who keep them on all the time. I even slip them off in the cinema if I can and they frequently *fall* off my feet under my desk (then people look at me weird as I walk across to the other side of the office in my stocking feet because I couldn’t be bothered to put them back on for 30 seconds). But visiting other people’s houses is different. Because it’s not your own home, you feel like you can’t take your shoes off. I would LOVE to take them off, but something stops me. If I know them really well and I am staying for a bit then I will, but other than that. . . I don’t know, it seems wrong.

    1. The one place I don’t like to see people with their shoes off is in the passenger seat of the car. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but sometimes passengers will put their bare foot up near the window by the outside side mirror, and it’s just not a good look.

      When I go inside someone else’s house, I ask almost immediately if I don’t see a designated shoe pile somewhere.

      1. I have seen that – feet out the window. It’s not nice. But surely it can’t be comfortable to travel bent in half like that?

  16. Taking shoes off at the door is a cultural norm where I live. Unless the host tells us we can keep our shoes on, the shoes come off right at the doorstep.

  17. Shoes off has always been a rule in my house. And those flats? Girl, I need a powder or something, they freak me the hell out and I’m the one that wore them.

  18. In the Netherlands it seems to be normal to take your shoes off at the door. If you’re sitting in the garden then you put on your wooden shoes! Yes, they still wear them in Holland, but only outside. There is even a Crocks version of klompen that some of the hipper farmers are wearing.

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