On or off? Do you ask guests to remove their shoes when they enter your home?
Etiquette experts agree that it’s naff to ask people to remove their shoes. There are two reasons: A) It’s uncomfortable for guests whose shoes are part of their outfit and B) most of us feel we lose an element of dignity once the hardware underneath our feet is removed (just think of the shifty faces near the airport security area).
On the other hand, what if you’ve just washed the floors/hoovered the carpets and your mate arrives with half an eco-system under his soles? Or what if you’re concerned about invisible bacteria being dragged into your home?
I have asked around, and the results are mixed. Some express utter bemusement at the idea of being asked to remove their shoes. More than one person said they really didn’t fancy seeing people in their socks (almost as if this was equal to friends sitting around the sofa in their underwear). Another friend told me that traditionally it’s considered OK to wear shoes in people’s homes as long as you don’t enter bedrooms or bathrooms. Finally, one or two people said they operate a strict ‘no outdoor footwear’ policy, mainly because they are concerned about bacteria. I have complete sympathy with this argument. The problem is I don’t like to remove my own shoes, which is obviously a bit hypocritical.
Perhaps the trick is to warn people in advance. When visiting friends whose homes I know to be strict no-outdoor-footwear-zones, I always bring a change of footwear in a bag.
What do you think? Leave a thought in the comments section below.