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5 Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes

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5 Reasons to Take Off Your Shoes

Do you remove your shoes before entering your home? Some people forbid shoes in their homes, while others consider being asked to remove their shoes nothing short of offensive. I have friends with Please Remove Shoes Before Entering signs brazenly taped to their doors, while I have other friends who’d prefer to stay out of someone’s no-shoes-allowed home rather than be required to expose their socks.

Much of it has to do with cultural tradition. In many places across the globe removing shoes before entering is a deeply ingrained practice. As a kid growing up in southern California, I always entered the house in socks. Although not because we had a rule about shoes, rather, my preferred style of footwear had wheels attached and roller skates were tricky on the carpet. But somehow I evolved, over time, into an adult who doesn’t wear shoes inside. For me it started off as a matter of comfort, but upon further reflection it has become reinforced by a number of other factors.

Here are five reasons for removing shoes before entering:

1. Comfort. I wear sensible shoes (mostly? sometimes?) but no matter how comfortable my shoes are, my feet are always happier outside of them. I want to be comfortable at home. I want to take off my shoes as soon as I walk in, the same way I might want to take off a pair of tight jeans. My home is my haven, it’s hard to relax in your sanctuary wearing knee-high boots.

2. Toxins. An EPA study, reported in Environmental Science & Technology provided the first proof that pesticides can be tracked into residences on shoes. People and pets who walk on pesticide-treated lawns can pick up pesticides like the herbicide 2,4-D, for up to a week after application, the study showed. The study found that “track-in” exposures of pesticides may exceed those from the best-known source–pesticide residues on non-organic fresh fruits and vegetables. Another study showed that 98 percent of lead dust found in homes is tracked in from outside as well.

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Read more: Allergies, General Health, Home, Household Hints

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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12:18AM PDT on Sep 9, 2013

I am a window cleaner in Phoenix, AZ. I have noticed that most of my window cleaning customers in Phoenix answer the door barefoot or there are shoes left right inside or just outside the door. After lots of etiquette research I have started removing my shoes before entering all of my customer's homes. I have received all positive responses and will continue this practice. Here is my website where I explain my green practices

Tell me what you think. Thank you.

12:22AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

I prefer to remove my shoes when I get home. I usually bring along a pair of slippers with me when going to a friend's house for awhile.

12:08AM PDT on Apr 2, 2013


6:54AM PDT on Mar 28, 2013

thank you

5:46AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

Thanks. I always remove my shoes when I enter the house and ask others to do the same.

3:07AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

Thanks for the article.

1:08PM PDT on Jul 25, 2012

All very good reasons. I always take my shoes off as soon as I enter the house.

5:34AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012


2:56AM PDT on May 29, 2012

We always take our shoes off at the door and then put on our slippers. Our guests are asked to take off their shoes and we prefer them to also wear slippers . Some have their own pair at our house to wear but most bring their slippers with them.

3:36PM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

Always had to remove my shoes as a kid and have done it ever since.

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