In most Asian countries, removing your shoes at the door is a tradition. Many tourists in Asia have suffered nasty glares and panicked shouts for accidentally keeping their shoes on when entering a homestay, hostel or even worse - a temple. While it is related to culture, beliefs and the way of life in Asia, there are plenty of other reasons to remove your shoes before going inside.
Can you imagine all the stuff you step on throughout the day? All the things that end up on pathways and roads will also end up on the soles of your shoes. And researchers have found that bacteria and toxins on shoes do transfer to the floors. According to a study from shoe company Rockport, hundreds of thousands of bacteria can be found on new shoes worn for only a couple of weeks. Toxins found in pesticides, coal tar, lead etc; also settle in your home, on your floors and rugs. These germs and toxins can cause various infections, especially if you have children who tend to walk on their hands, or lick the floors! So, unless you want to invite E-coli for dinner, think twice about getting in your house with your shoes on.
Apart from bacteria and toxins that you would not want in your home, there is another reason to keep your shoes off - dirt. A no-shoe territory means your house will pretty much be dirt free - at least from the outside dirt! The cleaning routine will thus become easier and might not have to happen as often.
While it helps keeping dirt and bacteria at bay, leaving your shoes outside is also a way to show respect. If the custom has been widespread for centuries in Asia, some people on other continents find it unusual to be asked to remove their shoes. But now that you know how much grime and microbes your shoes carry, you can understand how the request makes sense. So, even though you might feel offended, uncomfortable or embarrassed (there might be a hole or two in those socks of yours) when asked to remove your shoes, it might be more offensive to your host if you keep them on. After all, you are entering their home… It is only normal that you shall abide by their rules.
If you live in a flat, taking your shoes off might also be a great relief to your downstairs neighbours who might not want to hear your every single step!
Have you ever felt relieved once you had taken your shoes off? Shoes aren’t always the most comfortable to relax in the house after a long day. Therefore, it can feel so good to let your tired feet roam free! For added comfort, get you and your family some slippers. Easy to slip on, and they’re great because they still let your feet breathe and do not force them into unnatural positions like certain heels on shoes will.
Last but not least, prohibiting shoes inside the house will make your floors as well as your shoes last longer. Shoes can really damage the floors and heighten the natural wear and tear. High heels might leave traces, especially on wooden floors. As for your shoes, the less you wear them the longer you will be able to keep them!
There are many reasons to get rid of your shoes once you get home. It’s time to make a new habit out of it! Your home and your feet will thank you for it. Also, if you are not sure about asking your guests to take their shoes off, make a cool sign – “Since little fingers touch our floor, please take your shoes off at the door.”