Why do some people wear shoes indoors?
May 26, 2008 2:03 PM Subscribe
Why do some people wear shoes in the house?
posted by pravit to Human Relations (206 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I was raised in a (East Asian) household where we took our shoes off after entering the house, so as to avoid tracking dirt and mud around the carpets. I'm aware that South Asians, Middle Easterners, some Europeans (Scandinavians at least) and even some Canadians do this as well.
However, growing up in the American southwest, I noticed that most people don't bother taking off their shoes when they enter their homes, and some even lie on their beds with their shoes on. There were a few people with very tidy homes who insisted that people take off their shoes, but they were exceptions to the norm. As far as I can tell, wearing shoes in the house seems to be mainly an American and British thing.
I'm curious why exactly people do this. I can understand that some people don't care about getting a little dirt on the floor, but from a comfort perspective it seems that it would be a lot nicer to walk around on those carpets and lie on the bed barefoot. I always look foward to taking my shoes off after coming home (and I'm a guy!)
From a convenience point of view, it doesn't take very long to take off shoes. I can see wearing shoes just to run in and grab something, but my question is more about the people who basically don't take off their shoes until bedtime.
But I'm wondering if there is also a cultural reason - do Americans/Brits see wearing shoes as a necessary part of being presentable, like wearing shirts and pants? Is going barefoot akin to walking around shirtless, or walking around with your fly unzipped?
Or is it because I was present - e.g. they might normally take off their shoes, but feel it is weird to take off their shoes in front of a guest (for the cultural reasons I mentioned above)?
I've also heard foot odor suggested, but I honestly don't buy that the vast majority of Americans have foot odor problems (and even if they do, it seems like a chicken-and-egg problem).
I realize there may be a variety of reasons why different people don't take off their shoes, and I'm interested in hearing all of them. I don't mean this to be chatfilter - I've honestly been curious about this for a while, and I'm not trying to promote my own views about it (sorry if my question came off like that).