There’s this ongoing battle in many countries. The dispute can destroy dinner parties and make friendships awkward. Some people compare this battle to the War of the Roses, eternal until death do us part.
It is called – The Battle of Wearing Shoes Indoors!
I for one, do not allow shoes in the house. I never have. I never will.
When I grew up, half the homes I would visit would take their shoes off and half would not. Even when I lived in New York and the temperature was -30C and blizzard conditions, I saw some friends keep their shoes on.
At my birthday parties, which occurred in December, my mom would always run around and ensure kids took those shoes off. I’m glad she did; no wants to clean up snow blizzard crap on the carpet. Plus, it was a to teach the kids, and adults, that we do ask for respect when you come into our home.
There were always some kids who would cry when they had to take their shoes off. They probably turned into the same adults who “can never take their shoes off because I’ve been doing it for 15 years.” Gross, don’t you want your feet to get some air? No wonder athlete’s foot is a huge problem in the United States.
But after doing some reading, the shoes on indoors turns out to be Anglo-Saxon tradition. Britain, northern Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, and some South American countries.
The Daily Mail had a hilarious article about wearing shoes indoors.
“Is asking guests to remove their shoes before they cross your threshold good housekeeping or horribly naff? After all, the suggestion is that your friends’ shoes are so grubby that they are bound to be treading something unspeakable over your carpets.”
Insinuating that your friends shoes are “so grubby” is misleading; shoes ARE dirty. What “unspeakables” would someone tread? Dirt, leaves, mud, water, snow, stones, dog shit, cigarette butts, snus, gum. No unspeakables here, shoes tread dirt.
“One poster wondered whether it was OK to ask guests to remove their footwear at the housewarming party she was hosting. ‘No,’ was the overwhelming response.
‘I’m picturing a Barratt home, twigs in a vase covered in fairylights and that Ikea picture of pebbles,’ sniped one woman on the forum.”
Remind me to never invite the nay-sayers into my home.
“Podiatrist Kate Millns says: ‘Asking people to remove their shoes is giving your guests unnecessary stress, as most people like to keep their feet hidden. It’s more hygienic to make them keep their shoes on, especially if they are not wearing socks or tights.”
By far the most bizarre of all, how does keeping one shoes on be more hygienic than taking them off? Honestly, if your feet smell a lot, you should be seeing a doctor, and possibly not wearing shoes every second of every day.
What to do in a Nordic household:
From the forum, Imamother.com:
“Yes its YOUR home but wouldnt you want people to be comfortable in your home? Lets say they put on their worst pair of socks with holes in the front, not knowing that you had such a “policy”. Would you like to take the risk of embarrasing the visitor by them having to wear “holey socks” or putting them in the position of not wanting to take them off?”
If my friends had a pair of holey socks, it is not my problem. It’s also NOT for me to make fun of them and make it an issue.
One of these days, I will stitch a sign to say “Inga Skor.” And if someone questions me, I will say “we’re Swedes, take off your damn shoes!”
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