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No-shoes rule pleases some, irks others

A custom practiced in Hawaii is finding fans on the mainland

By Associated Press


NEW YORK » In Michigan and Alaska you're expected to leave snowy boots in the mudroom before going inside. In Hawaii and in many countries like Japan, you wouldn't dream of entering a home with your shoes on, regardless of the weather.

But removing shoes before coming inside has not been the norm in much of the mainland.

That may be changing, but not without resistance.

City dwellers and suburbanites from New York to Los Angeles are often finding that hosts expect footwear to be left at the door. Sometimes it's because of weather; other times, homeowners want to protect light-colored rugs and high-gloss wood floors from dirt and dings, or parents don't want street germs on floors where kids play.

Some guests find the request irksome — especially at holiday parties when they're dressed up. "But this is an outfit!" squeals Carrie Brad­shaw in a "Sex and the City" episode when asked to take her shoes off at a baby shower. (Insult to injury: Her high-heeled Manolos are stolen during the party.)

Shalena Broaster of Philadelphia — whose friends call her "the diva" — says her first thought when asked to remove shoes is, "I just pray I have a fresh pedicure!" Since she's only 5 feet tall, she also misses the height her stilettos provide.

Thoughtful hosts with a no-shoes rule hand out "guest socks" or inexpensive slippers that folks can take home.

Rachel Kerstetter of Cleveland wrote on her blog, www.ProbablyRachel. com, that guests sometimes make her feel "like a criminal" for asking them to remove shoes. She offered 10 reasons why her household is "shoes-free," including preserving the carpet, allowing guests to relax and put their feet up, and keeping allergens out of the house along with "grass, leaves, mud, dirt, bugs, gum, oil, tar and yes, even animal poo."

For everyday comings and goings, Kerstetter and her husband use a mudroom by the back door. For company, they put a shoe rack in a small foyer near the front door.

"We like to walk around barefoot, and we want to have our home clean," Kerstetter said. She "didn't grow up in a no-shoes household, but my parents taught me to ask" the host's preference before entering.

Adi Bittan planned her wedding at the home of friends in Pescadero, Calif., before realizing that the hosts had a no-shoes rule. "We were worried how that would look and whether our guests would feel uncomfortable or embarrassed," she said. She solved the problem by buying fun socks — with no-skid soles — as one of the wedding favors. Even she and the groom wore them.

"Guests young and old ended up loving it," she said. "They compared colors, took photos with their fun socks on and were excited to take them home." Some of the women even thanked her for saving them from excruciating high heels.

But the pro-shoes crowd doesn't buy the no-shoes reasoning.

"It is the height of tacky to invite guests to your home and then require that they remove anything more than outdoor attire," said Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting in Marblehead, Mass. "It is one thing to ask me to leave my L.L. Bean boots at the door for a Super Bowl party held during a snowstorm in New England. It is another to ask me to remove my heels at a cocktail party where everyone is dressed in suits and dresses."

If you must ban shoes, says Smith, the invitation should say so.

"Guests should not be surprised by your request," she said. Imagine the mortification of a guest whose socks have holes.

Jessica Gottlieb of Los Angeles says she is "disgusted when people want me to take my shoes off in their home. … OK, I get it for upstairs areas or bedrooms or even if you're Japa­nese. But if you're my American friend who just wants a clean floor, forget about it. It's a power play, and no, you don't get to undress me.

"My shoes are there," she added, "to keep me comfortable, cute and free of your foot fungus."

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false wrote:
Hate shoes and heels for inside a home. It's just not conducive to relaxing and just being people. All that dressing for dogs. Who cares? Some people need to get over themselves. Bring on the socks and slippahs.
on November 19,2013 | 04:24AM
PMINZ wrote:
Yea Yea ! Man it is relaxing to kick off the shoes I wear all day, My Feets can really Relax with them off. Hey, weres My slippa's. Some mainland so called Research group tried to claim that No One can run in Rubba Slippers, Full Bull, my bros and Tittas can run like da wind in slippers!
on November 19,2013 | 12:25PM
onevoice82 wrote:
It is unhealthy and medically risky to walk around that much without foot support. I have never seen so much fallen arches and plantar fasciitis than here in Hawaii. Once you are around 45 years old, its time to leave the shoes on!
on November 19,2013 | 04:35AM
f206 wrote:
How is it "unhealthy and medically risky?" Would it kill you to have your shoes off for a few hours? I don't want all the stuff out on the street being tracked into my house where my kids play on the floor.
on November 19,2013 | 05:26AM
hanalei395 wrote:
"It's time to leave the shoes on". ........ By saying that, it's time for you to not enter other people's homes in Hawai`i.
on November 19,2013 | 07:22AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
That comment was so ha0le my teeth hurt. Kailua speaks.
on November 19,2013 | 07:35AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Hahaha. That.
on November 19,2013 | 12:02PM
hanalei395 wrote:
This was heard on a radio call-in show several years ago: ... "Since 'you people' wanted to become part of the United States, you should all act like real Americans and stop this silly custom of having to take one's shoes off before entering a house". Of course, that caller had a lot of negative replies.
on November 19,2013 | 08:06AM
PMINZ wrote:
Just where did you get your Mis-Information, I'm over 70 and have not gotten feet problems fro bare feet.
on November 19,2013 | 12:07PM
PMINZ wrote:
Where do you get that Mis-information I'm over 70 and have very healthy feet. Been kicking the shoes off at home from before you were probably Born!
on November 19,2013 | 12:29PM
f206 wrote:
Jessica Gottleb won't be invited to any parties in Hawaii homes!!
on November 19,2013 | 05:17AM
Kate53 wrote:
I carry a pair of socks to wear inside other homes, especially if they have carpet, which catches all the dirt anyway. The socks don't take up much room in my purse.
on November 19,2013 | 05:46AM
tiwtsfm wrote:
What is the difference between LL Bean boots and shoes when both are worn outside?
on November 19,2013 | 06:03AM
SueH wrote:
Simple solution: On the party invitations print the disclaimer: "You will be expected to take your shoes off when entering our home. If you don't like that, then don't come."
on November 19,2013 | 08:17AM
hilopango wrote:
Shoes in the house, gross! Shoes on the bed, even worse! If I lived anywhere on the mainland, there would be a BIG sign at the front door to leave your shoes outside! Try this, walk outside for a while and take note of where the bottom of your footwear touch with every step. Then imagine that you're bringing it all inside with you when you walk into your house with shoes on.
on November 19,2013 | 10:05AM
cojef wrote:
We buy surgical overshoe covers and leave them with our slippers at the entrance and ask visitors or guest to take their shoes off or don the the surigocal overshoes. That's the same goes for repairman or house cleaners. We buy them by the case from a web-site.
on November 19,2013 | 11:46AM
NotNasti wrote:
on November 19,2013 | 12:01PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
DOG CR@P. After all is said and done, that is the one simple reason that all homes need to have a no shoes policy, no other way around it. Yes, even mud, germs, debris. But in the end no one wants DOG CR@P in their house.
on November 19,2013 | 12:04PM
PMINZ wrote:
Heck I grew up in Florida where at our house we removed our shoes, wore only slippers or socks or just went barefoot. and no one in our family had previously been to Hawaii or the orient. Plus We don't need Bird and other POOP tracked into the house, that REALLY is not healthy.
on November 19,2013 | 12:07PM
suzyq47 wrote:
Take your shoes off before you enter.....keeps the house cleaner!
on November 19,2013 | 06:41PM
st1d wrote:
every woman, every mother, needs to visit the local mens' room and take a look at the floors around urinals and toilets. after that one visit, they will never allow another shoe to be worn in their home. heck, they may not let the men wear shoes in their cars.
on November 19,2013 | 08:57PM
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