Growing up, my siblings and I were told to take off our shoes at the door in order to protect the off white carpet. (In hindsight, probably not the best color carpet for a family with four kids.) However there are many cultures where taking off your shoes before entering your or another person’s home is not only common but expected.
I worked in South Korea for over four years as an English teacher at a public school. There are special areas right inside Korean apartments that are set lower than the rest of the home. These areas are for your shoes and the shoes of your visitors. It is also common to provide cozy slippers that your guests can wear while visiting your home.
We need to adopt this tradition here in America. We need to take off our shoes before we enter our homes for some very important reasons.
Here I break down a few reasons and provide videos by David Wolfe explaining it all in much greater depth.
Stop and think about where you walked today. Did you walk in a public bathroom? Public bathroom floors contain about 2 million bacteria per square inch while toilet seats only contain about 50. Gross.
Also, we walk where thousands of other people have walked. Who knows where they have been. On a local farm, at the hospital visiting a sick friend, walking through the subway. You do not want what is on the subway platform in your home.
It is common for shoes to pick up loads of bacteria and materials that promote bacteria growth and survival. Do you really want all that bacteria on your floor where your children play?
Common bacteria found on shoes include e.coli, c.diff (causes bad diarrhea or colon inflammation if not treated), meningitis, and plenty of other species.
There are a ton of toxins from the outside environment that can be easily be brought into the home via shoes. This includes herbicides at greater levels than currently exist on non-organic fruits and vegetables and lead powder brought in with dust. Think about it, if you or your spouse work anywhere where harmful chemicals and toxins are used, you bring that home with you everyday with your shoes.
You work hard to keep your kids safe from these chemicals and toxins. Don’t destroy all that hard work by wearing your shoes indoors.
Floor Wear and Tear
All the dirt brought in with your shoes gets ground against your flooring causing wear for hardwood floors and dirty carpets. If you want your flooring to last, it is best to keep your shoes by the door. You can also clean less often because no one will be tracking all that dirt and/or sand in.
Believe it or not, if you do not have any previous foot issues, walking around barefoot at home is good for your feet. When weather is willing, I only wear sandals outside the home so I can get them off faster when I get home. There is nothing like walking around your home in bare feet.
Also, children who go habitually without shoes have stronger feet, more flexible feet, are less likely to suffer flat feet, and develop fewer podiatric deformities.
Admittedly it goes much deeper than this. Check out David’s videos on how to STAY GROUNDED. First he discusses his transition to walking barefoot…
A discussion with David Wolfe about the importance walking barefoot.
Seriously! Leave your shoes at the door!