How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

Here’s how to make sure both you and your guests feel good about your “no shoes” policy.

There are many reasons to have a “no shoes” policy in your home—cleaner floors and better health, to start. But does asking your guests to take theirs off as soon as they cross your threshold cross the line? Liz Bryant, president and founder of Liz Bryant Business Etiquette in Richmond, Virginia, shares her tips on when—and how—to ask your visitors to remove their shoes so that each one feels like welcome guest (and not someone on their way through airport security).

Give advanced warning.

Your ultimate goal when hosting guests is to make them comfortable and welcome, but when your first order of business upon their arrival is asking them to remove their shoes, they might not feel that way. To avoid that initial awkward shuffle at the door, Bryant suggests letting company know ahead of time that your home is a shoe-free place. To keep this friendly, your request should be light, she says: “Something simple like, ‘We have a no-shoes policy here at our house, so when you come over please bring your favorite slippers or comfy socks’ works.”

Set up a changing station.

If you are going to ask your guests take off their shoes, give them a comfortable place to do so. “Make sure you have a place near the front door where guests may sit to change their footwear,” she says, adding that there should also be a convenient spot for storing shoes. The last thing you and your guests want is to have to try and wrangle their way through piles of discarded footwear.

Bryant also suggests keeping a supply of single-use slippers on hand so that your shoeless guests feel more at home. “They can be used when someone forgets the ‘no-shoes’ policy, if they arrive with muddy boots, or if they stop by unaware of the rules of the house,” she says.

Think about the type of event you’re hosting.

If the event you are hosting is more formal, guests may be reluctant to take off shoes that are part of their attire. “I would host such an event elsewhere or, if an outdoor space at your home is appropriate, use that so guests may keep their shoes on,” Bryant says.

Always be gracious.

If you failed to let your guests know that you have a no-shoe policy in your home because you did not decide you had one until someone shows up with dirty footwear, asking your friend to take off his or her shoes may feel rude—especially if the rest of your guests are still wearing theirs. To avoid feeling like your request is out of line, or making your friend feel singled out, Bryant says to frame your shoes-off request in a way that makes you sound helpful, instead of worried about your flooring: “Use language such as, ‘Oh my, we really must do something about that mud puddle out front. Let me take those shoes from you so you’ll be comfortable during our visit.'”

Should party guests remove their shoes at the front door? Ok, no question about it, this is a “thing”. An issue that people have strong opinions about, a definite yea or nay and it can feel like a “never the twain shall meet” situation. Our readers have had lots to say on the topic over the years, sharing plenty of smart advice, including a few solutions specifically for those hosts who prefer that their party guests remove their shoes that might also help keep the shoe wearing camp happy…

Inform People on the Invite:

Anyway…it’s about comfort level. I think that there is always a responsibility on the part of the host and the guest to be as polite and gracious and grateful as possible. The host is being grateful for people taking time out of their day to drag themselves there instead of whatever else might be happening and happy that people want to be there. The guest is being grateful for being invited, and wants to behave in such a way as to be invited back, in case he ends up having a good time and wants to be.

So, if you’re asked to take off your shoes, try it! It might not be so bad! But if it ends up not being a fun party (because of that or whatever else), silently promise yourself not to be available for the next one. If you’re hosting, a little warning on the invitation might not go amiss. If people are going to decline an invitation because of it, then you have spared both of you an uncomfortable evening! You can spend some other time with them elsewhere, right? – Curtis

I’m up front about my shoeless policy, and any invitations I send out are explicit about it, in fact I work it into the theme when possible. Sock hops and my fuzzy bunny slipper party were two of the notable ones. Of course, all of my orgies have been completely shoeless, and I’ve been very careful not to invite any boot fetishists over so there’s no conflict. – secret_asian

If people are going to ask me to remove my shoes, then they should warn me ahead of time, so I do not have bare feet on a winter day. (Or worse, ugly socks–the horror!) I do automatically take off my shoes in houses with babies, but I *know* the babies live there and can prepare! ? – Fiona

I agree that if you are going to do this, at the very least, warn people. I once went to a bridal shower, and–surprise!–ended up having to take off heels and walk barefoot, with pasty white winter feet with no pedicure on a cold floor. It was hard to overcome those feelings of crankinesss. Personally, I feel this is a horrendous custom for a party–just mop the floor later!–but a warning would make it better. – Fiona

Provide Slippers:

I think the polite thing to do would be for the host to announce the no-shoe policy on the invitation so that guests may plan ahead. And provide slippers. Some people don’t like how their feet look or – like my dad – are diabetic and cannot remain barefoot due to circulation/sensitivity issues. – Anne

Hmm, I’m on the fence here. i am in total agreement with want to have people take off their shoes, but I HATE being in sock feet at someone elses house. I say if you are going to require people to take off their shoes, provide them with those fabulous felt slippers that Martha makes. Labor intensive, sure, but a fabulous way to start everyone off on the same foot (ugh!) and remedy the bare/stocking/sock foot that no one likes in a big crowd. – bsavarese

My mother-in-law keeps slippers around for everybody to wear when they come over to her house, and we have started to adopt this policy. It works nicely, especially in the winter months. Sometimes Ikea has cheap slippers and Pearl River is another option. I like Pearl River’s slippers because they don’t make my feet as hot. – Ainate

We are “no shoes in the house” people. That is how I grew up and how almost everyone I know grew up. It seems the normal way to me. Shoes are for outside. We wear slippers in the house. I agree that having extra slippers for guests is a nice thing to do. – Canadian

I think if the host wants shoes off at the door then you should respect their wishes. It’s their house. However, a good host should have enough slippers for all of the guests so they don’t have to walk around barefoot or in socks if they don’t want to. – Ken

Post a Sign:

I throw fun parties with good food and lotsa booze–if they have to be casual, shoefree fetes, so what? “Everybody is happy if nobody wears shoes,” is the sign I post. – kwj

USE SOME HUMOR – if you can’t handle the thought of multiple guests tracking icky street muck through your apartment from one end to the other (despite you hardwood floors – I’m speaking to you city folks here, who KNOWS what you stepped in on the way to my house). Last winter I had a party during a blizzard which all of my guests walked through to get to my apartment. So, I politely posted a “SOCK PARTY. ” sign on my door. Although a few people grumbled at first, most of the guests didn’t seem to mind, and I just gave the others some extra alcohol.

In fact, it was so easy that I considered posting a ‘sock party warning’ on the invite to a party I recently hosted. It seemed only fair to let guests plan their socks (or lack of) into their outfits. – Hbomber

We have a fun sign in the entryway near the shoe bench that we picked up in Thailand. It has a picture of a shoe and script in Thai asking you to take your shoes off (even at the shops you’re expected to remove shoes). We put it up more for fun then as a real sign, since hardly anyone can read it. Do we insist that everyone who enter take their shoes off? Of course not. But most of our friends just do. Those that don’t, don’t. That’s ok too. – trillium

If someone is throwing a party at their home in the dead of winter, then they should put on the invitation, “arrive in boots, change in your swank shoes at the door”. That’s fair. That’s what shoe bags are for. If people forget, ask them to wipe the bottom of their shoes when they arrive. Have some of those white wash clothes rolled up on a silver platter near the door – scented or something – it would be cute. A small sign asking them to

“please wipe your bottom”

and underneath put:

A small silver trash can beneath. You can buy cheap white wash clothes anywhere. Get the thin el=cheapo kind. Toss them after the party or wash/bleach/save for next party. – Holly

How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

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How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

There is nothing worse than arriving at someone’s home — especially for a fancy, high-society party — and being asked if you mind taking off your shoes. Yes, I mind. It is disgusting and it needs to stop.

People like hosts Suzanne Murphy, a hedge funder type, and Robert Albertson, an investment banker, should be ashamed of themselves. My stomach actually turned this morning when reading that they invited scads of people to their all-white apartment and insisted they take off their shoes before entering. First of all, if you want your life to be pristine, perfect, and polished, what the fuck are you doing living in an all-white apartment and then inviting people over? Anyone with a white MacBook knows that it looks sleek for about a week before using it turns it the opaque yellow of smoker’s curtains. The same thing is true of your white furniture, floors, walls, and carpet, whether or not we are physically degraded by having to take off our shoes when entering your house.

We understand the impulse (and that in some countries it’s a cultural imperative), especially in New York where we truck through thousands of unknown substances every day, but that doesn’t mean that we want to march around your domicile in our stocking feet. Your floors could be just as grubby as the spit and gum spattered sidewalk. You might have pets or a baby or bed bugs or some unknown fungus that is not even perceptible to the eye. Then it is all over my socks and my bare feet and that is just gross. And what if I have to use the bathroom and someone has bad aim? Nasty!

Also, I picked my shoes to match my outfit. It is part of, as Edie Beale would say, my revolutionary costume for the day. They are probably cute and comfortable. They might have been difficult to get into, requiring some spectacular maneuvering or tons of intricate laces. Now I must suffer the ignominy of trying to wrangle them off and get them back on again without looking like a total asshole. Do you have a shoe horn handy? Is it hanging next to to the door with your dog leash and spare keys? I didn’t think so!

Don’t get me started on the embarrassment of socks with holes in them. It’s like wearing a pair of stockings with a run in the part of the hose covered by the skirt. It would be a travesty if someone saw it, and it’s equally disastrous to see my big toe nail popping through an article of clothing I didn’t intend anyone to see. And feet get smelly, especially when out of shoes. And cold. My feet get fucking cold, and it is all your fault. Now I have to sit on my feet in some crazy uncomfortable position trying to keep them warm.

Not wearing shoes sucks, especially when it is thrust upon you in some unfamiliar environment. Now that the TSA has ruined the final illusion of glamor once associated with air travel and makes the countless souls at all the airports in the country pace through medal detectors in bare soles, we can prepare by wearing loafers and warm clean socks. When we go over your house for the first time, we don’t know that you still haven’t gotten over the Japanese affectations due to your semester in Japan. In Suzanne Murphy’s defense, she emailed to say that her invitations said “No Shoes,” so at least guests were aware what they were getting themselves into and slippers were provided at the door.

Worse than the inconvenience and the gross out factor though is having someone else’s rules and life choices thrust upon you. It’s like when a large group of people are trying to decide on what to eat and there is one vegan in the group who scowls at the mention of every restaurant besides Tofu Towers in Park Slope. We should all be able to find some common ground where everyone is feels as happy and safe as waking up under the comforter on a cold day. But, please, please, can we find a way to do it in shoes?

Have you ever been to somebody’s house and seen one of those signs saying, “please take your shoes off” or, even sometimes, “shoes off!” Well, Mister Manners says that is an incredibly rude message to send to your guests.

Before you get all huffy, let me make my case.

First, if you live in Japan or someplace where it is part of the general culture to take off shoes, then my complaint obviously doesn’t refer to you. I am talking about places like the United States, Latin America and most of Europe where the general culture is that people do not routinely take off their shoes before going into a house. If you live in some city in Italy where everybody takes off their shoes, again, Mister Manners gives you a pass.

Here is my argument:

  • If I am your guest, and my shoes are dirty, I will take them off if they are dirty. If it’s raining or muddy outside, it’s obvious that my shoes might be dirty, and I’ll take them off before entering your abode. I know that sometimes people step in stuff, but the bottom line is that 99 percent of the time adults are aware if their shoes are dirty. The vast majority of the time, the person who is visiting you probably was on a clean floor then got in a clean car and then walked up to your house without stepping in anything. His or her shoes have nothing on them except the normal dust you would get anyway. So, your sign saying, “shoes off!” is an incredible insult to your guest. The message is: you are so stupid that you don’t know whether or not your own shoes are dirty. If you really think that the person coming to your house is that stupid, you should not invite them in at all.
  • Your “shoes off!” sign is sending a very clear message to your guests that your floor is more important than they are. Yes, if you put up a sign like this you probably slave over your floor, vacuum the hall all the time and mop every other day. But at the end of the day, what you are saying is that your property, an inanimate object called your floor, is more important than the guests walking through your door. I’m sorry: you really need to get a life.
  • This whole “slippers inside, shoes outside” thing is just ridiculous. Many people I know who have “shoes off!” signs for their guests will have slippers lined up on the inside and shoes on the outside. This is fine for people living there, but what about guests? This happens to me every time I visit somebody with a “shoes off!” sign at their house. I get there. I take off my shoes. I walk in and pad around in my socks. Then I have to go get something in my car (with five kids, one of the kids is always forgetting something, or I need a diaper, or a baby bottle). So I have to put my shoes back on, go to the car again, get the thing I forgot and then go to the house again and take my shoes off yet again. And while I am doing this I am looking at my shoes and confirming yet again that they are not dirty, not a bit of mud or dirt in sight.

I would estimate that about five percent of the people I visit have the “no shoes” rule, so it isn’t something I encounter all the time. But everytime I do I think to myself, “do these people know how incredibly rude it is to demand that their guests take off their shoes before entering their home?”

So, my advice is: take down the “please take off your shoes” signs. You are insulting all of your guests. If people are dirtying your floors all the time, you either need to stop inviting them to your house or you may want to consider that you are OCD and need therapy.

How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

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When it comes to shoes in the house, I am an absolute despot.

Wearing shoes in the home, during my childhood, was simply unthinkable. Between tradition — removing shoes indoors is common in many cultures, and is especially prevalent in Asian households — and the fact that I grew up in a house with cream-colored carpeting, taking shoes off at the door wasn’t an option.

My mother reigned over the house with an iron fist slipper. The slippers were essential in a house that banned shoes beyond the foyer, and offering them to guests made it easier to enforce that rule. I now do this (you can gloat now, mom), and you should, too.

If I snuck to my room past curfew with my shoes on because I couldn’t be bothered to take them off at the door, she knew. When my siblings and I forgot something on the way out, but already had shoes on, she would insist we take the extra time to remove them instead of dashing into the house to grab it. Once, my parents’ friends came over for a dinner party and one declined to remove her shoes. They haven’t visited since.

Taking shoes off in the house not only prevents us from dirtying perfectly clean floors with whatever gunk sits outside, but also stops people from tracking literal crap into our living quarters. A 2008 informal study from the University of Arizona found bacteria associated with fecal matter on the bottom of shoes. The study swabbed 26 participants shoes for three months and identified nine types of bacteria, including E.coli and coliform, which is present in fecal matter. Even worse, 90 to 95 percent of the bacterial colonies present on dirty shoes were transferred to clean floor tiles.

“Every step they took, we sampled after them — 10 to 20 steps,” Charles P. Gerba, the microbiologist who led the study told the Baltimore Sun. “We could still find plenty of organisms on every footstep.”

Granted, the study wasn’t peer-reviewed, and it was commissioned by Rockport, a company that makes washable shoes. But still. Ew.

On the other hand, asking guests to take off their shoes can be contentious. A writer for was thoroughly eviscerated on Twitter for writing about how she refused to take her shoes off during a holiday party, since it would ruin her festive outfit. Guests may also feel insecure about going shoeless, especially if they’re visiting for the first time.

Kelsey Cheng, a public relations manager in Seattle, also has “THOUGHTS” about shoes in the house. Her family dubbed her the “resident shoe police” for yelling at guests who didn’t remove their shoes when she was five years old. She still adheres to her upbringing by asking guests to take off their shoes in her apartment, but tries to make them comfortable in her home.

“There might be a reason they’re not taking it off,” she said in a phone call. “I have offered people socks in the past.”

Another solution: Stocking up on guest slippers.

My Asian-American relatives all keep an inventory of slippers specifically designated for guests. My parents still have a collection of mesh and foam slippers to offer their houseguests. When I moved out and began reigning over my own shoe-free home, I too became a tyrant for clean floors. At one point, a roommate relationship imploded after one person in the house of five refused to adhere to an agreement that we’d all keep our shoes off in the house.

Offering them a pair of comfortable slippers makes me feel like less of a shoe-hoarding gremlin.

While it may be awkward to ask my guests to remove their dirty shoes when they come over, especially if they didn’t grow up in a culture that expects it, offering them a pair of comfortable slippers makes me feel like less of a shoe-hoarding gremlin.

I personally keep slippers stacked in a small basket by the front door. The practice of having slippers for household members and guests is common in many Asian homes.

Camille Urbina finds the practice of wearing shoes in the house “physically objectionable.” She lives with her parents in New Jersey, where in Filipino tradition, they keep a shoe-free house.

“We always had designated areas in which to put our shoes near the front door, and when we switch from our inside shoes to our indoor slippers,” she said in an email. “About a decade ago, my parents invested in a bunch of really cheap foam slippers to keep for any guests who came over as well.”

Having slippers for my guests felt like a signifier of adulthood.

I have always had my own slippers for milling around my college dorm or walking through my off-campus apartment. When I moved into my first apartment after graduating college, though, I went to Daiso, a Japanese convenience store, and bought five pairs of cheap slippers. Much like owning an actual bed frame or having a designated shelf to keep alcohol bottles instead of haphazardly storing them on top of kitchen cabinets, having slippers for my guests felt like a signifier of adulthood. I finally had my own home, instead of the transient nature of college living that had me moving every other semester.

Similarly, writer Nicole Clark wanted to impress her mother. She and her roommate are both Asian-American, and their Los Angeles home is a strictly no-shoes zone.

“The home I grew up in always had a basket of slippers for guests, so a big part of it comes from wanting my mom to come over and get excited at her options,” she said in a DM. “But my feet are also literally always cold — regardless of season — so I keep a range of slippers in there for how much coverage I want. Summer and winter demand vastly different slippers!”

I don’t keep different slippers for different seasons, but I do have very specific rules for indoor slippers. The basket of slippers by the front door can’t be worn outside under any circumstances. I wouldn’t even wear them in the carpeted hallway of my building, where people wear their outside shoes. Doing so would ruin clean indoor slippers — the ones that have been dirtied by whatever’s outside my front door are reserved for wearing on the back patio. I keep them in the bucket of shame next to the sliding doors that lead out back.

Teagan Kim, a college student in Baltimore, also believes in upholding the sanctity of indoor slippers.

“Shoes I’d normally wear outside are different,” she said in a Twitter DM. “Also, I’d never dare wear my house slippers outside the house. They become useless as house slippers once they’re contaminated with the outside world.”

All in all, I probably do make a tyrannical host and roommate. Hopefully giving my guests the comfort of slippers softens my regime.

How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

Did you grow up in one of those homes where your mother was always hollering at you to take off your shoes? Did you always have a box of shoes at the back door and slippers for inside the house?

While millions of Americans have adopted the habit of removing their footwear before entering their home, millions of others still go from the backdoor to the sofa without ever removing their shoes. Although much of taking your shoes off is a cultural practice, it is one well worth considering when you look at it from a health perspective.

Travelling Toxins: The first proof that pesticides can be tracked into a home on shoes was released by the EPA. According to the study, pesticides such as 2, 4-D, can remain on a lawn for up to a week after application.

Both animals as well as humans can track these chemicals into a home. Another study showed that 98 percent of all lead dust found within a home is tracked in from the outside.

Germs: Those that live in heavily populated urban areas should beware of things that they pick up from sidewalks, escalators and stairways. It is possible to bring in everything from animal waste to human body fluids on the soles of your shoes.

Comfort: Depending on your shoes and how much standing or walking you do daily, your feet need a rest at the end of the day. Taking off your shoes and slipping into a comfy pair of house slippers lets your feet breathe and allows you to stretch and massage your tired toes.

Dirt: Who wants a house full of dirt? Although the invention of paved roads did away with the traditional boot scrapers at the front and back doors of homes, dirt still finds its way into the crevices of shoes and into your home.

How to Politely Ask a Visitor in Your Home to Take Their Shoes Off

Asking someone who may not be accustomed to taking off their shoes at the door to do so in your home can be a little tricky to navigate. The best thing to do is to create a neat area for shoes at the door.

This will send a signal to your house guest that we take our shoes off in our home. If this is too subtle you may try offering your guest a pair of house slippers, noting that he or she will be more comfortable.

This is a common practice in Asian countries where houseguests are routinely offered a pair of cozy slippers when they arrive at someone’s home. If your houseguest still seems reticent to comply, you may have to ask a little more firmly noting that, “we like to take our shoes off in our house, we hope you are ok with this.”

How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your homeOnce people become aware of your house policy, most are happy to oblige. If you are hosting a party or having a lot of people to your home, it may be a good idea to let people know in advance to bring some slippers.

Hinduism is the world’s third most popular religion, it is the religious and cultural life of the Indian sub-continent. It has many rituals that have beautiful meaning behind them.

Hindus worship in Temples (Mandir) and before entering temples they remove their shoes and wash there hands as shoes are considered impure according to Hindu culture.

Not only in temples people forbid shoes in their homes also, either one can consider it as a mark of respect to the house and honor its cleanliness and purity.

The popular reason for removing shoes is that the soles absorb impurities of the road, another reason is that shoes are made of leather which is considered impure in Hinduism as it is derived from dead animals. That is the reason why Hindus not only leave their footwear but when they sit for any pooja or any religious things they also have to remove their leather belts and wallets too if it’s of leather.

Temples and other places of prayers are considered sacred, and shoes, being impure, are not allowed to be brought inside. Therefore, even non-leather shoes or slippers are not allowed in sacred places. Wooden kharaon also are prohibited. Barefootedness is a deeply-rooted pass to enter into the kingdom of divinities.

Shoes are generally used to protect our toes and soles of our feet from contact with dust and all sorts of impurities in the outside world and it is obvious that shoes are filled with dirt, so in order to keep a hygienic atmosphere we keep the shoes out.

It is also believed that temples have a channel of energy, that is exchanged with our bodies when we are barefoot. Also, many times temple floors are covered in turmeric and sindoor, which is therapeutic, thereby enhancing our health when we step barefoot.

Before stepping on the temple floor or stairs leading to the temple, a devotee Hindu first touches the stairs with his head or either bowing down to touch the head or touching the hand to the floor and then touching the same hand to his forehead before putting the feet on the temple.

The Japanese also remove their footwear before entering any home or place of worship. The Bible quotes John the Baptist saying to Jesus Christ that he is not worthy to even tie the sandals on Jesus Christ’s feet. It is a term of respect for the Deity.

Not only Hindus almost all people of all religions will remove their shoes while they pray to God.

Check the lineup of shoes at my front door. It’s not a new decoration technique — they are there for a reason.

How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

How to ask someone to take off their shoes at your home

The grey-blue carpet is soft under my feet as I pad down the hallway to answer the door. It’s a family friend, stopping by for a visit. He gives me a warm smile, a quick pat on the shoulder and moves past me, paying no mind to the shoes lined up in the entryway. He’s talking as he wanders into the living room, but I don’t hear a word. I’m too busy focusing on his filthy shoes marking up my clean floors.

I know what you’re thinking: She’s a clean freak. I promise you, I am not. I’m actually kind of messy. My bookshelves are covered in knickknacks and haphazardly placed photo albums. I almost always have at least one empty water glass lying around, and my dog insists on scattering her toys everywhere. I’m not a perfectionist, and I am a firm believer that a real home is a space in which one can live. But when it comes to my floors, I don’t mess around.

My Dyson V7 is always charged and ready to go, and I even have a special rug at the back door to help protect my carpet from my dog’s muddy paws. So when people wear their shoes inside my house, dragging dirt and grime onto my clean floors, well, that’s when I start to see red.

I know what you’re thinking: She’s a clean freak. I promise, I’m not.

In Canada, where I’m from, it’s almost second nature to take your shoes off when entering someone’s house. But, more than just being a cultural norm that I grew up with, taking my shoes off actually brings me pleasure. It’s a sense of coming home; a feeling of knowing that the hard work and stress of the day is over. A sign that I’m back in my comfort zone and it is time to relax. Not to mention, as a woman with a penchant for pretty footwear, more often than not I can’t wait to kick off whatever shoes I’ve squished my feet into for the day. Why other people don’t feel the need to do the same, I will never understand.

Back to my main point: I think we can all agree that dirt, mud and grime (along with several other questionable substances that may lurk on the soles of your shoes) are not things that most people want in their house. Not only is it physically unappealing to see streaks of mud or dirty footprints down a hallway, but it’s also incredibly unhealthy. Shoes can carry all types of bacteria as well as other toxins from everyday things like weed killer. Would you want that in your home? I don’t think so. So why are you bringing it into mine?

What makes it even worse is how obvious it is that I do not wear shoes indoors. If my bare (or sock) feet aren’t indication enough, check the lineup of shoes at my front door. It’s not a new decoration technique; they are there for a reason. And while this is obvious to most people, there are still some who are completely oblivious.

It also implies something about how the visitor feels about a place. Shoes are meant to be worn to protect your feet and keep them clean. For every person who keeps theirs on, I can’t help but take it as a judgment against me and my home. As if my living space isn’t clean or safe enough for them to risk taking their shoes off. I understand that, more likely than not, this is never the intention. Given the amount of action that my Swiffer and vacuum see, I can’t actually believe that visitors consider my floors to be hazardous. Still, irrational or not, I always end up feeling offended.

Irrational or not, I always end up feeling offended.

So what do I do when it happens? Despite everything I have just explained, I don’t actually request people remove their shoes. Perhaps I’m too polite, or maybe it circles back to my worry about them being uncomfortable.

So for the next person who comes into my house, avoiding the obvious pile of shoes by the door and my own bare-footedness, know this: My coping mechanism is to imagine that your feet are the problem, not my floors. I will imagine that you have warts, toe fungus or incredibly odorous feet. I will pretend that your decision to not remove your footwear is to protect my clean floors and barefoot tendencies from your own unfortunate condition. Essentially, I will make you the bad guy in order to make myself feel better. Petty? Maybe. But in the end it’s my house, and you’re just stepping in it.

Hannah Logan is a freelance writer and travel blogger based in Ottawa, Canada. Follow her adventures on her blog, Eat Sleep Breathe Travel.