In almost all cultures around the world, having guests over is a matter of honour and pride. Especially in the desi/southasian/brown culture, guests are considered a blessing. The etiquettes of hospitality in our culture require making the guests feel comfortable and welcomed. This might bring a few house rules in conflict with the requirements of hospitality and the one I would like to discuss today is: do you allow shoes inside the house?
I asked this question a few weeks ago on my blog’s Facebook and Instagram page. It was extremely interesting to read the responses and opinions. There were heated arguments in support of and against both choices.
Personally, I have been both in favour and against. Before I had a house of my own to manage and children that crawled on the floors all day long, I considered shoes an integral part of my outfit (much like Carrie, in the famous episode of Sex and the City, “A girl’s right to shoes”). I also lived in Islamabad, where a cleaning lady came every day and it hardly rained and never snowed. Now that I’m in Canada, I plan an outfit expecting that I will take my shoes off when I visit someone. Events that are held in community centres are really special because I can wear my heels inside the hall! For a short person like me this is super important! For my own guests, I try to make them comfortable by having rugs under sofas and cushions close by for cold feet. I’m so used to take shoes off inside the house, that when I visit Pakistan now, I keep inside and outside shoes for me and the kids.
[Read more: 7 Rules of Regifting]
Let’s discuss the various aspects of allowing shoes inside the house or not! Would love to hear your thoughts.
Shoes inside the House: Never!
Our houses are a source of comfort and pride for us. We set a few house rules to take care of them and these rules might include not wearing shoes inside the house. This might be due to the weather, your culture or hygiene concerns. As you welcome your guests to your house and take care of all their needs, you expect them to consider your house rules also. Most people in North America, do check with the host before keeping or taking their shoes off.
cleanliness and HYGIENE
You might not allow shoes inside the house due to concerns of cleanliness. Lots of studies show that outside shoes bring many germs inside.
If you have wooden floors, heels can leave some ugly scratches and holes. Something you really don’t want to see after the guests leave.
While on paper it sounds great to let your guests take their shoes off before they enter, there are a few logistical concerns:
- If you ask your guests to take off their shoes, make sure you aren’t wearing your “inside” shoes also. This might give mixed signals to guests.
- Provide a comfortable spot for guests to take off and put on their shoes.
- If it’s cold and your house has multiple surfaces like wood and tiles without carpet, make sure your guests are comfortable by providing a cushion under their feet or offering them (clean) socks.
- For areas such as the bathroom, you can place bathroom slippers inside. However some guests have been known to wear these slippers in the rest of the house also (best of luck dealing with that).
Shoes inside the House: Yes!
For some people it’s unthinkable to ask their guests to take off their shoes due to the spirit of hospitality. They will never ask their guests and even insist that they keep them on, if guests want to take them off.
For some countries weather allows for shoes to be worn inside the house. Snow and shoes inside the house definitely don’t mix.
If you have an army of cleaners or even one dedicated one, it’s definitely easier to allow guests to wear shoes inside the house.
Shoes inside the House: Maybe!
For some people wearing shoes inside the house depends on different factors such as the weather outside, if there are separate inside shoes, if the house is a rental or the nature of the event.
So what’s your take on this topic? Would love to hear from you!