That’s the big question. Do you have to take off your shoes at the front door when visiting someone else’s house? There is often an awkward moment – whether you know the person or not – when you enter the entrance or hallway.
Should you slip off your trainers, heels or flats and politely leave them on the carpet without saying anything. Or should you ask?
You said exactly what you thought in a poll in last week’s Ideal Home newsletter. An overwhelming 83 percent of readers said no and only 17 percent said yes. Hallway shoe storage ideas may be the answer, but in the meantime, two readers take the floor.
Do you have to take your shoes off at the door?
Kate (54) lives in a three-bedroom townhouse in East London with her husband and their son. She is a travel writer.
‘When I was younger I thought people expecting me to take my shoes off in their homes was a bit picky and posh. But that changed when my son was born. My husband and I didn’t want him crawling around on a dirty floor, so we instituted a “shoes off” rule that is firm.
Most visitors take their shoes off as soon as they walk through our door, but occasionally we have to ask. We have wooden floors everywhere, except the stairs, and our living room is on the first floor. Guests sometimes make it to the stairs in their shoes, but the carpet tends to stop them in their tracks. Even when we have a party, the rule remains. We had 60 guests at Christmas – there was a huge pile of shoes at the door. At the end of the night, one of our friends realized his shoes were missing, but he preferred the pair left behind!
When we sold our last house, we asked the real estate agent to make sure shoes were removed. But the first people who came to see it left theirs – and promptly kicked dog waste down the hall. The agent was mortified and had a real job getting rid of the smell. This is what can happen when people stumble with their shoes on. It’s simply good manners to leave them at the door.’
Rosie (41) lives with her boyfriend in a one-bedroom flat in Walthamstow, East London. She is a writer.
‘I would never expect guests to take their shoes off. Houses are for living in. Our apartment is very clean, and my boyfriend in particular can be quite pernickety, but expecting visitors to walk around barefoot or in socks would be a step too far. It seems so undignified. We just assume people will wipe their feet before entering. That’s what the doormat is for, after all. Just don’t put your dirty shoes on my couch!
Of course I respect other people’s rules when I go to their houses. If a friend wants me to take my shoes off, I do. But I hate walking around in socks or tights in the winter. My feet get cold and I don’t feel properly dressed. In the summer I usually wear ballet pumps. The prospect of picking them off is even worse.
We once went to a property viewing and were asked to take off our shoes before the estate agent would let us in. I wore pumps without socks, and there was no way I was going to get my feet covered in dirt from walking around a stranger’s house. . We left without seeing it.
I wonder if the “shoes off” brigade ever parties. Surely the rule will become unenforceable if you have many guests coming and going? If you insist that people go barefoot in your home, you need to be sure that your floor is impeccably clean. Why should I get your dust and dirt on the soles of my feet? I think if you’re going to ask everyone to take their shoes off, you should be prepared to provide them with clean and comfortable hotel-style slippers!’