From a very young age, I was taught to always take my shoes off once I got inside the house. No matter whose home it was, you just didn’t wear your outside shoes inside. Three decades later and I still do this in my own home and ask guests to do the same. IYKYK.
People ask me if it’s an Asian thing (I’m Chinese). Sometimes I’ll say yes, but most of the time, I’ll just say it’s a cleanliness thing—because it really is.
OK, let’s take a minute to think about what your shoes come in contact with when you’re outside—cigarette butts, crusty gum, puddles, Fido’s feces, a questionable pile of something that you probably shouldn’t inspect too closely. And that’s not counting the things you can’t see, like germs and bacteria that can make you sick. Do you want any of that on your own floors? If you said no (and I really hope you did), then why wouldn’t you remove your shoes once you get inside?
If you said yes (and I hope sarcastically), then think about where your feet go once you’re inside. They’re not just on the floors, they’re up on your couch, your bed, your ottoman. Now imagine all the stuff your shoes stepped on as you crossed the street to grab coffee, now on your couch. Yeah, there’s no amount of disinfectant that would make me comfortable sitting there.
I get that not everyone enjoys walking barefoot so I ask everyone who comes over to take their shoes off and wear the slippers or flip flops I’ve left by the entryway, and most people happily oblige. But there’s always that one person who says, “Nah, that’s okay, I don’t want to dirty your slippers.” I mean, did I stutter? Not only does their logic not track, but the fact that they’re concerned about dirtying my slippers should be a red flag that their. shoes. are. dirty. I didn’t just clean my whole house only for one person to mess it up within five minutes.
The next time you’re visiting family and friends, please don’t be that person. Just take off your shoes, it’s not that hard. And if you’re hosting, you have my permission to request that your guests wear slippers that you’ve so thoughtfully laid out for them.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of my favorite household slippers for yourself or for guests—literally for everyone, because you should always take your outdoor shoes off.
Call it a sandal, slide, slipper—whatever you want, as long as you wear it. I wear these around my house 24/7 and they’re super comfortable with tons of cushioning and a slightly molded footbed. It’s more expensive than I’d like for a slipper, but the unisex sizing and wide footbed means that it’ll work for a variety of guests.
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