3. Happy Neighbors. If you live in an apartment building, no shoes makes much happier downstairs neighbors. Especially downstairs neighbors with a really cute little girl who is a light sleeper. (Hi Zoe!)
4. Germs. This one may have more to do with neurosis than actual facts–but living in an urban environment and seeing all the disgusting things that end up on the sidewalk? Yuck. I definitely don’t want to track pesticides and lead paint in, but neither am I interested in tracking in dog waste and other bodily fluids thank you very much.
5. Dirt. I live in a converted 19th century convent that still has boot scrapers by both entrances. (Did 19th-century nuns wear boots?) We have paved roads now so dirt and mud may be less of an issue, but toxins and germs aside, shoes still manage to track in plenty of plain old grime. Why would I want to perform extra cleaning when simply leaving shoes at the door makes such a difference in the cleanliness of my floor?
So that’s my take on removing shoes. I have a bookshelf right inside my door where my kids and I kick off our shoes first thing. I never insist on guests removing their shoes, but I would say that nine out of ten do so automatically when they see our bare feet and the shoe shelf.