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Etiquette Poll: Participation Required!

by | Nov 12, 2007 | Domesticity, Seasonal Decorating & Entertaining

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Etiquette Poll: Participation Required!

I have a little entertaining etiquette question to throw out for all of you! I was preparing a monthly decorating & lifestyle column that I write and I got talking to my husband about proper party hosting etiquette. We like to throw parties at our house and we have refined our routines over the years for how to pull it all off. You’ll get to read my Top Ten Holiday Hospitality tips when the article comes out if you want to, I won’t spoil the fun by posting it now.

But as I was thinking about hospitality my husband brought up one of his pet peeves. It has to do with shoes. So I decided that since we are in the throws of the holiday party season, I would put the topic out for all of you to battle over, I hope you will lend your insight, etiquette knowledge, personal bias and maybe cultural differences to our topic.

The questions are:

Is it acceptable for a hostess to ask or imply that guests remove their shoes when they enter your house?

Should a host or hostess have shoes on?

Or if you are the guest, should you remove your shoes if your host doesn’t specify either way? What if your host has no shoes on, or there is a pile of shoes by the door, does that imply a “no shoes” rule?

Please tell me what you think, why you think it, and where you are from if it is a cultural thing!

I am sure you will all have your own opinions on the matter, as I do, and I can’t wait to hear them! Don’t be shy! And don’t just say what you think is PROPER, tell me what experiences you have had with this at other people’s houses, or if you prefer people take their shoes off at your house! I know people on both sides of the fence here so be brave and tell me what you think!


Photo credit: Better Homes & Gardens online

Etiquette Poll: Participation Required!

Special thanks to Julie at Nunnie’s Attic for this special award! She embodies the Christmas spirit like none other! I’m passing it on to another special lady, Becky at Sweet Cottage Dreams!


  1. Lavender Chick

    Okay, I’ll go first – sorry if I offend anyone. I believe that you should NEVER ask guests to remove their shoes. First of all, your shoes are part of your outfit – it’s a whole ensemble thing. Secondly, what if you were asked to remove your shoes and you were in desperate need of a pedicure. How embarrasing! Lastly, I believe one is entirely too uptight to be hosting paries if you expect your guests to take off their shoes. An Uptight host generally means an uptight party, if you no what I mean.

    The only time you should ask your guests to take off their shoes is if you’re playing twister!

  2. Kathleen Grace

    Hi Melissa, I think it would be appropriate to tell guests that they may remove their shoes if it would make them more comfortable. Etiquette is usually about taking someone elses comfort into consideration,. On that note, it would probably be unacceptable to insist that they remove their shoes if they didnt wish to do so. By offering the option I think that covers everyones preferences.

  3. Michelle

    I’d give my guests the option to remove their shoes or leave them on.. my home is pretty casual so it makes no difference to me.

  4. Lynne's somewhat invented life

    Oh, tricky. What if the guest had foot odor? Or a hole in the sock? Or ugly toes?

    We have a friend who removes their shoes in the house but when we try to remove ours they protest, gently. That gives us the option of removing or not. They act as if shoes are no big deal. They are very gracious and most people do remove the shoes…except for the foot odored, holy socked, ugly toed friends and they are relieved, I’m sure.

  5. Pieter

    A crazy girl at work said that the hosts might ask you to remove you’re shoes for religious reasons. Either I’m pretty ignorant or my friend is cooked, but other than that I think it’s unhospitable to ask guests to remove their shoes(unless your cult requires it). In one episode of Sex and the City (I apologise for the reference) Carrie gets invited to a dinner party only to find, to her horror, that she has to take off her brand new Manolo Blahniks. The party turns out to be ghastly and as she goes to get her shoes before leaving, she finds they have been stolen! People. Shoes are important, they make an outfit! If you don’t ask me to remove my shoes (because they offend your Persians) I won’t ask you to remove your drapes (because they offend my eyes)

  6. Elaine L.

    Usually if I’m attending a social gathering, it’s in someone’s home that I know, therefore I know if they have a rule about removing shoes and I come prepared with a pair of clean indoor only slippers.

    Yes, there are some religions, that feel that it is not hygienic to bring into your home (which they view as their sanctuary) what you’ve picked up on your shoes from walking around outside all day.
    These are not “cult”, but recognized religions, such as Buddhists or Hindus. Although, I am a Christian, I have a very eclectic group of friends and always respect their wishes.

    If I have ever attended a gathering where I didn’t know the person, I have always been told beforehand that the person does not want shoes to be worn into their home and to bring indoor socks or slippers, if I didn’t feel comfortable going bare foot. If I had this rule, I would likewise indicate it beforehand.


  7. Aina

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my blog, i really appreciate it!

    I live in The Netherlands, and here it is common to never remove your shoes, regardless party or not! I mean, they walk in and out with their shoes all year long!! It took me a while to get used to, because i am a Norwegian girl and we are very strict on hygiene and having a spotless house. But some of my friends know how i feel and they take of their shoes. I even wanted to make a sign and put on my frontdoor. “Do remove your shoes please” :)However, a party is a party. And if you dress up, often your shoes are part of your outfit. SO i would say, never ask, just accept a little bit dirt and clean the floor the following day. Simple as that!

    Aina x

  8. Natasha Burns

    My first thought was what Pieter wrote about the SATC episode where Carrie had to take of her beautiful shoes.
    OK here’s my two cents. If you are having a party in your home I think it is incredibly rude to expect anyone to take off their shoes. It is not “LIVING” walking around a house being so precious about it. They should get floors that are easy care if they are worried about dirt. Really it is one of my pet peevs and I think people need to get over it. If they want to have people without shoes then they shouldn’t have it at their home. My shoes are often the really nice part of my outfit, I always try to wear nice ones especially if it is to a ‘do’. Obviously it is rude to drag mud inside or wear work boots, lol but to expect people to remove shoes really really really annoys me. Like you would not believe!!!!

  9. Ess McD

    Ooh, gorgeous question, and I think I can swing the comment balance another way for you…

    I am an English woman living in Australia who has also lived in Penang, Malaysia.

    In our home we always remove our shoes; we always have. We have two small children and they do too. I keep our house clean and neat and, frankly, I don’t want to wash the floor constantly because someone’s shoe (probably) has dog poo or other germs on it.

    When we lived in Penang it was both cultural and common sense to remove shoes before entrying ANYONE’s home, whether Chinese, Malay, Indian or ex-pat. Penang’s infrastructure is not devoid of yucky things, so no one wanted them in their home. All cultures regarded it as spiritually inappropriate to wear shoes in an environment where they would soon kneel to pray.

    So! The moral of my story is, yes, of course it’s okay to ask people to take their shoes of. It’s your home and you share it with love and generosity, but with your rules. If you worry that guests will be uncomfortable or have grubby toe nails, have some slippers at the door for them to change into (over the years I have collected hotel freebies and offer them. Usually no one actually wants them and is happy to remove their shoes).

  10. Sonia M

    I think it is really bad manners to keep your shoes on whe entering someones home.. i think its perfectly fine to ask quests to take ther shoes off and i really like Martha stewarts idea of having a basket of sockets at the door(that the quest keeps of course)I think instead of asking then to remove shows its nicer to have a pretty sign at the front door thats says something like
    ” please remove shoes Sockettes inside” you could make a pretty shabby chic or country style sign

  11. Vee

    I’ve attended many holiday open houses where I have been asked to remove my shoes; I despise having to remove my shoes. (I do it, but I don’t have to like it.) However, if the host and hostess are not wearing shoes that might make it more acceptable. Further, if the host and hostess provide some very cozy slippers, I could be more easily swayed. Lastly, it would depend upon how casual the gathering is.

    What a beautiful photograph!!

  12. Lucinda

    I think asking someone to take off their shoes when you are entertaining is not proper. Unless it’s a religious belief. I don’t care for going barefoot…I’m a house shoe kinda gal. I also don’t like it when my feet are dirty. Have I been know to kick off my high heels at a good friends house…yes, esp. if I’m curled up on the couch in a great conversation but a formal party, no.

  13. JoAnna

    I guess you could give them the option, but they may feel required to do so. I would assume if I am going to someone else’s home, I would leave my shoes on, unless they ask me to remove them. I think I saw in Real Simple or Martha one time that you can provide little slippers?

  14. Kelly

    Me and my family usually take off our shoes before we go in the house. However, I don’t expect or dare ask my guests to remove theirs! I think that would be rude. Just make sure you have a good doormat outside if you’re worried about them tracking in dirt. I don’t take mine off for religious reasons. I just do it for both comfort and cleanliness. One exception to this rule is for my children’s friends. If they’ve been out playing in the backyard or it’s been raining, I usually ask them to remove them. They don’t mind though because they’re just kids and they don’t care if they have shoes on or not!

  15. Neutral Dwelling

    Should a host or hostess have shoes on?
    I would hope so!

    The only time I would like to attend a party where everyone is dressed up and not wearing shoes is if I were at a foot modeling convention.

    I like my shoes!

  16. Jennifer Froh

    I would say definitely to never ask your guests to remove their shoes. The role of a host/hostess is the make your guests feel welcome and comfortable. When you invite someone into your home, you should take them as they are…. shoes and all. Shoes are a fabulous accessory to an outfit and many people do not feel comfortable without them. Not to mention some of the stinky feet you’ll have walking around! LOL!!!!

  17. Julie

    Ok, first of all a hostess should always have on shoes when she is throwing a formal party. People dropping by unannounced and an impromptu party takes place is one thing. Inviting people over is another. Put on your shoes! Secondly, I think it’s rude to ask people to remove their shoes. Especially in the winter. I don’t have carpeting. So it’s not as warm. I have hardwood floors so yes, it’s easier for me to clean my floors if something spills. But I also have area rugs. That’s what rug scrubbers are for. Your guests shouldn’t feel as if they have to take off their shoes in order to please you. I think it’s rude and tacky. Besides, the average person, with average sense isn’t going to trump through a mud pasture and then come into your home. If you can’t bear the thought of people getting something on your carpets, then you shouldn’t be having a party. Things spill, stuff gets dirty – such is life. Enjoy life – don’t get hung up on your brand new carpeting getting a little dirty. Buy a rug scrubber!

    Was that honest enough honey?? HAHAHAHAHA!


  18. Michele

    Well being the ‘Uptight host’ as Lavender Chick quoted in the first comment.. I would probably not ask the guests to remove their shoes but would cringe with every muddy paw print/foot print that was left on my antique kilim rugs!
    I think that the guests should have the good grace to remove their shoes without being prompted.. As a guest myself, I would always offer to remove my shoes or at least wipe them on the mat 100 times! Yes I am uptight but I know how to party!!!!
    Have a great party with or without shoes!

  19. Joni

    well, in the country i am living in, its a baisc courtesy to remove shoes before entering a house. On festive seasons, its common to see pile of shoes outside doors with parties going on. And no, you wont get your shoes stolen. ;)

  20. kathy

    I feel it’s very rude to tell a person to remove their shoes. My friends have the sense to remover their shoes if they’re dirty. I feel the host should also wear shoes. I want my guest to feel comfortable. To greet them at the door with rules is very insulting. That’s my opinion.

  21. Ruth Welter

    Hey Melissa, ow, I love this question..the shoe dilemma. I have been really enjoying reading everyones responses. Ok first, if someone comes to my house just for a visit, I always let everyone keep their shoes on (hubby and I always run around in slippers) unless their shoes are really muddy or dirty or it is raining or snowing and they are obviously tracking stuff through my house. I would then ask them to remove their shoes.

    Let me preface the whole party issue by saying this – I’m not really a party person, I don’t throw them or go to them, I prefer getting together with friends , one on one style. Just wanted to let you know that if this would in any way affect my answers.

    Ok here goes – if I were invited to a party, I wouldn’t mind removing my shoes…as long as the host told me in advance, perhaps in the invite. Then I could atleast bring cozy slippers to walk around in. Because honestly, there would be nothing worse then walking in your socks on a freezing cold floor all night when you could have been in slippers. : )

    I’m a very casual person so it wouldn’t bother me if the host didn’t have shoes on.

    When I enter someone’s home, I try to be respectful of what they would want so, if I see the owner running around shoeless or see a pile of shoes by the door, I would just remove mine. Upon entering a home I don’t know, I always ask the owner if my shoes are ok or if I should take them off.

    Again, I’m a very casual , laid back sort of person so, this is the perspective the above answers came from.

  22. Cre8Tiva

    i hate to wear shoes inside…who knows where those soles have been…i would prefer people take their shoes off…and i almost always takemine off…i keep a basket of slipper sox for this…but i also know some people would rather die than take their shoes off…soi respect that…but when i invite someone,i put in a note that shoes are optional…and i have a cute/old/funny sox contest…works for me…but this is the one who wears mismatched sox…rebecca

  23. janet

    Maybe it is a regional thing, but here in the Northeast, I have never heard of anyone asking guests to remove their shoes. I would be insulted and not likely to return to another party at this “home”. Once in a while, when we are on Realtor tours the listing agent will ask us to remove our shoes (per instructions from owner) and even then I think it is tacky. If the Realtors don’t feel welcome, how will potential buyers feel? Off on a tangent from the original question, I know, just a rant!! When I have been on historic house tours oftentimes shoe covers are provided. Maybe hostesses with no-shoe fetishes should just provide paper shoe covers. They make for quite a chic look, lol.

  24. Penny, Mosaic Artist

    I would never ask guests attending my parties to remove their shoes. I have never been invited to a party and been asked to remove mine either….

    Now, when I lived in upstate NY for 10 years, in the winter time, whenever someone came to your house or you went to theirs at a “casual” gathering, most people would arrive in boots and remove them at the front door because of the snow. Most would not bring an extra pair of shoes, and just walk around in warm socks.

  25. cd&m

    Well I no that some people don’t wear shoes int their homes but if I’m totally honest I don’t think I would actually notice and I would have to be asked to remove mine. I habitually wear shoes in the house because I’m backwards and forwards to the garden all day so I would never ask anyone to remove their shoes. However we do have hardwood floors I think my attitude might change if I had say cream carpeting!

  26. Pat

    We’ve hosted parties and always have our shoes on. Some guests will remove their shoes, others don’t. We don’t make a special request. We designed and had this home built 4 years ago. It’s our dream home. We waited many years to have this home. We are in our 60’s. We have hardwood floors with nice rugs in the living room and foyer and other rooms of our home. We enjoy life and want our guests to enjoy our home. We leave it up to the guest, whether to remove their shoes. It’s not that we’re not particular about our home, we are.

    Last year we were featured on a holiday home tour. We had our shoes on as we greeted our visitors. Several hundred people came through our home and visited all three floors. Some left shoes by the door, others did not. As usual, we made no special request. The tour was on a weekend, in December, right after we had an ice and snow storm. At the end of the event, I had just a few foot prints by the front door. We had a large rug on the porch, that caught most of the moisture. We also had the street, driveway and sidewalk cleaned of snow. That helped. As I said, above…at the end of the day, our house survived and all was well. A quick job of vaccuming and a little bit of mopping and all was fine. No problem.

    I will remove my shoes if there is a pile of shoes by the door. Or if the hosts request this.

    We are a multi-culture and multi-religion family from the great state of Missouri.

    Thanks Melissa, this was fun. I’m enjoying the comments.

  27. mary

    Wow, what a great question, and I really enjoyed reading all the responses. I live in NJ, and I have never been asked to remove my shoes (except on holiday house tours), and I wouldn’t dream of asking my guests to remove theirs. But then, my floors are old and beat up anyway, so a little dirt doesn’t make much of an impact. LOL

  28. Lori

    I think it is not good manners to ask guests to remove their shoes. You want your guests to feel comfortable, maybe they would prefer to keep their shoes on.

    I think a nice comfortable ballet flat or sandal is nice for the hostess to wear, it finishes an outfit, and looks like you are making an effort to look nice and presentable.

  29. Elizabeth

    Well, I think this topic has been pretty well covered. Again, it depends. We often have close friends over and everyone takes thier shoes off b/c it is casual and they feel at home. But, if I were to have an actual party, where invitations were sent, outfits were put together… then I think shoes should be optional. I have to say, if you are so uptight about your house that you insist on people taking thier shoes off… perhaps you should just keep your house to yourself and leave party throwing to someone more laid back… and fun.

  30. Sweet Remembrance

    I HATE having to take my shoes off at other peoples homes especially for a party!
    We take our shoes off here at home but I never expect anyone to ever do the same!

  31. jean

    Hi..great question to start the day.
    It has never entered my mind to ask guests to remove their shoes. I have, myself, never been asked to remove my shoes. Of course, if shoes are extra dirty, muddy or such, it goes without question that, upon entering someones home (and mine) that the shoes would come off.
    Never, in a million years would I ask my guests to remove their shoes!! Never!! No way would I ever want to put my friends in an embarrasing moment and that is just what might happen if they felt they had to take their shoes off. NO WAY!!!
    NOW, can’t wait to read your article.
    Happy day, bj

  32. Judy

    We have 2 large dogs – who are always in the house – so shoes are the least of our concerns!LOL

  33. all the best

    I love choosing shoes for a party and would hate to take them off! I have never been asked to remove my shoes and I don’t think that I could ever ask someone else to do so. Love the photo btw!

  34. kari and kijsa

    Okay…what a great post….we read the replies and we have to say that we agree with Lavender Chick….such a great response!

    Have a blessed day!

    smiles, kari and kijsa

  35. Terri

    Great post and I can’t believe the feedback. I am also surprised by the answers. Apparently I have been living under a rock but I always take off my shoes at someone’s house unless they tell me not to. At my own house, I would expect that shoes be removed at the door also. It is just courtesy, isn’t it, to not soil someone’s floor and rugs? I dunno. We don’t wear our shoes around the house – we wear slippers!

    However, one exception to the rule for me would be a night time dinner party/soiree where everyone would be wearing dresses and heels etc. Then I would be wearing heels and wouln’t expect people to take off their shoes. I have never had a day-time shindig, but unless it were very dressy, I would expect shoes off. I guess for me if it is “little black dress” then keep shoes on, as the exception to the rule, because otherwise shoes come off, especially for a casual event!
    I cringe at the thought of shoes on my “precious” hardwood floors. I don’t wear mine around the house!

    That being said, I also hate it when I have to take my shoes off if they are a part of my outfit, say when wearing a dress. I feel short! But if I’m in shorts or casual pants, who cares…

    Personal preference I guess, but I believe in showing respect for people’s property and space and make no exceptions to my rule unless we are having an indoor/outdoor (BBQ) thing, or a dressy-up evening thing when shoes are a “de rigeur” part of the outfit.

  36. Erin

    Shoes are a must for everyone in my opinion. The only time I don’t wear my shoes, is if I am having 1-3 CLOSE friends or family over, and we’re doing something like watching a movie and even then I usually start out with shoes on. I think if you’re having any kind of meal other than movie popcorn you should have shoes on, and I think if you’re at someone else’s home it would be a rare occasion (like you’re spending the weekend at a friend’s home) when it is appropriate to remove your shoes.

  37. shelbi

    i don’t do much formal entertaining….so i usually have my shoes off myself…i love when my guests do whatever makes them comfortable…shoes on, off…as long as they are happy :)

  38. Erin

    Also, I think asking guests to remove their shoes is unusual, and unless it is for a themed party (in which case a warning on the invitation is advisable) or religious purposes guests should be allowed to use their own discretion.

  39. rochambeau

    Hi there Melissa,
    I think it’s a cultural thing yes. With my personality type I could care less if someone wants my shoes on or off, but I know many people that would find it hard to go with the flow and that to relinquishing their shoes would make them uncomfortable,( and as you know, the whole goal of entertaining is to make magic and to make people feel at ease and comfortable). For small groups, and for friends it’s easy enforce. For larger groups or dressy events I wouldn’t do it, but that just me.

  40. Jane

    I have a two-fold response:
    When throwing a party, I think it is rude to ask guests to remove shoes. And I detest when hosts wear shoes and everybody else is barefoot. Remember that Sex & the City when Carrie took off her Manolos at a baby shower and they were stolen? Worst nightmare ever!

    When just one or two friends drop over, I find they always remove shoes because they want to curl up on the sofa or put their feet up (and here in Canada we have snow to contend with). In Winter, I always have a few new pairs of socks that I offer if somebody wants to get comfy and just lounge.

  41. Teresa

    My thoughts on this are if it is muddy outside or there is chance your shoes are dirty, then shoe removal is needed. I’ve done this at a Housewarming party–2 years ago. I thought we all looked silly dressed fairy well but without shoes. The same couple had another party this year (house is not brand new anymore) and everyone still had to remove their shoes. It seemed silly. Plus half of the party took place in their backyard and so our feet got dirty then we came inside….so if we were trying to “SAVE THE CARPET” it still seemed uncomfortable and we probably all did ruin her carpet. Your carpet shouldn’t be more important than your guests. They can some really good carpet cleaning companies out there.

  42. Annechovie

    I don’t think it’s bad manners to ask guests to remove their shoes, especially if you offer them slippers or socks to wear. Many people have light colored carpeting or floors and sometimes there are crawling babies involved, too. I have never been offended by being asked to remove my shoes. I do it automatically out of respect for my host and their environment. I think if someone is kind enough to invite you to their home, the least you can do is to submit to their wishes. After all, it’s not such a big deal. However, I wouldn’t make an issue of it with my guests either way.

  43. Linda

    This was a fun question….had a great time reading the responses! I’d say, except for a Holiday House Tour, I’ve never heard of taking shoes off for a party, it’s inelegant. (I’m from the NorthEast)If the hosts really wanted “shoes off”, I’d mention it in the invitation.

  44. Esther Sunday

    I am of the mind that the host should not ask the guest to remove their shoes. However, that said, I think that a guest should automatically try to remove shoes when going to someone’s house. I always go to remove my shoes unless my host tells me during the process not to. If I go to someone’s house and see shoes in the hall and my host without shoes, then I automatically remove mine.

  45. Rhoda

    I don’t think I’ve ever been requested to remove my shoes in anyone’s house…not that many people do that down here in the South, that I’m aware of. I certainly don’t ever ask it, as I do not mind at all people wearing shoes in our house. We usually go barefoot at home, but I’m not OC enough to let that be an issue. It seems that there is more of that going on up North, where there is snow & ice so much during the winter, that it would be preferable to take off those wet & nasty shoes. It’s just not an issue in my part of the world.


  46. phyllis

    I do not like being asked or hinted at to remove my shoes…I do check to see if they are clean on the bottom before going in and use whatever rug is provided. I wouldn’t ask an adult to remove theirs here either…only a child with dirt or mud.

  47. Nan

    I live in the Midwest. While we typically remove our shoes when we come into our house, (new carpet) we never ask anyone else to. If they want to, that’s fine. I don’t like to remove mine at someone’s house if I am need of a pedicure. I’d rather clean their carpet or flooring after my visit. LOL

  48. janet

    Just me again. Guess this is quite the hot topic. I am amazed and amused by the answers. I never realized that some people don’t wear shoes in their houses.


  49. Meredith

    The epitome of hospitality is to make a visitor feel as comfortable in your home as they are in their own. Your house should serve you, you don’t serve the house. The priority is the comfort of your guests, not the condition or appearance of your floors. Once inside, usually the better the party the more shoes get kicked off along the way anyway!

  50. Vee

    Hahaha! Following you from Terri’s Windlost thinking how positively brilliant you are. All the comments prove that you hit a nerve today!! :)

  51. Gina

    I feel like it seems rather rude. More often than not, I don’t wear shoes around the house. Or wear just flip flops, but I wouldn’t want to be at a party and be told I needed to remove them. In fact, I’ve been to parties in adorable but painful shoes and while I’d have LOVED to take them off, it felt inappropriate to do so. And I don’t have a lot of high falutin’ snotty friends either, it just seems impolite! ;-)

  52. Kathy :)

    Hi Melissa,

    I got your name from Donna over at the Decorated House…..what a lovely blog you have !!!

    Yes I think everyone should take their shoes off, I was raised to take mine off….we live in the once the Winter arrived my Mum would actually leave a note on the porch. My kids don’t think twice about it….they just kick them off at the backdoor. If you really think about it why would you want to bring the outdoors inside ???

    When people come to my house they know I prefer shoes off….

    Last year we had some work done at the house and the worker put these booties on over his workboots….I tracked down where they bought them and
    bought a box….I was having a XMas party so I got them in red. And of course Martha Stewart has all of her guests remove their shoes…she passes out slipper socks.

    I have to add that my husband’s family never take off their shoes…..only when they come here.

    It is a pet peeve of mine…so I’m sorry if I went on and on.

    Looking forward to reading what others think.
    Kathy :)

  53. Lynn

    Hi Melissa, First of all, thank you for your kind words and….you have inspired me. That photo is gorgeous. I have tall windows like that in my den and I think I will hang wreaths on all of them for Christmas. I would never ask my guest at a party to take their shoes off (and I have white area rugs in the living room and white carpet upstairs). However, I have had parties where the guest automatically removed their shoes because it was rainy and muddy. With that being said all my family leaves their shoes in the front hallway because they know Mama doesn’t want her white stairs to get dirty. Now if only the dog would take his shoes off.

  54. sherry

    I take my shoes off when I enter someone’s home..unless I am told specifically to leave them on. When people come here I tell them to leave their shoes on…I’d rather people be comfortable and I don’t worry about marks or stains. Life is too short to worry about that…I’d rather spend quality time with people I like than make them be “stiff” and uncomfortable in my home. There are still people who will take them off when I’ve said “keep them on”.

  55. kim in Camas - ScrapToMyLu

    I live in a neighborhood of “newer homes” and it seems that just about everyone takes shoes off. It seems like a given, but I have never cared if a person wears shoes in my home. I am actually embarressed if someone is here for a second……to say…..pick up a child and they slip their shoes off. I have made it clear that you CAN wear your shoes in my home. I would NEVER ask someone to take their shoes off. I think it’s rude to ask anyone, or rude to have a sign at the door. With children running in and out, I do ask them to remove their shoes. Kids shoes are nasty. Now if someone in a household has serious allergies ect…. then I would never be offended if I were asked to remove shoes.
    I think in general people are uncomfortable to take shoes off, especially at a party. That’s my Dollar’s worth.

  56. Cathy

    NO!!! I don’t think it’s good etiquette at all. I have never asked a guest to remove their shoes. Tacky! If ones carpets, rugs, floors are that valued, company doesn’t need to be invited in my opinion.

    Great post!

  57. Wanda

    Wow! We have opinions, don’t we?

    The only time I have shoes on at my house is if I’m entertaining planned guests. If someone drops in I’ll be barefooted and stay that way. I’d never ask someone to take their shoes off, no matter how tempting it is to protect the wood floors, but I wouldn’t mind a bit if they did.

  58. Jennifer

    What a great question, Melissa! Shoes should definitely stay on. I NEVER like walking around in my fabulous dress without shoes. You have to clean up after a party anyway! Shoes aren’t that dirty!

  59. Chris

    I would never wear shoes inside someone’s house — especially if it has carpet. Who knows what you’ve step in on the way over, and I wouldn’t want to walk around someone’s house wearing shoes that have been outside.

    Most people that I know either remove their shoes at the door or else bring along a pair of inside shoes/slippers to wear after taking off their outside shoes.

  60. brilliant asylum

    Wow–58 comments! this is a popular subject. All I know is that I don’t want to remove my shoes in public. I am short, I like to wear heels and sometimes skip a pedicure. Floors were meant to be tread upon anyway.

  61. katiedid

    Well what are the door mats for if not to wipe off your shoes before entering? Especially during the Holiday Season for a party, shoes are part of the ensemble, no? I have a big basket of shoes for my family for most of the time. But I agree with what looks like the majority here: a good hosts job is to ensure the comfort of his/her guests. If that means cleaning your floors after the party, then so be it! Great post Melissa! You have the most fun blog! :)

  62. Lisa

    Hello Melissa,
    Love, love love the question! I have had many an occasion at my lovely nest, some where I asked for shoe removal with darling little sign hung on the front door, and I also have had a few get togethers that shoes were kept on. I really think that when people are coming to an event that they have been invited to most likely they are not hiking through the mud pits before they are going to arrive, and take notice in being dressed for an occasion. Plus, I really didnt like having a mountain of shoes at my front door. So, I go with shoes on, buy a great door mat, clean up later and enjoy your friends!!

    Also, you posted to my coastalnest that your photo was up so I came to “check you out” I cannot find you sweet sister!!!
    buzzz back by and we can get together and chat.

  63. Laume

    I understand that in some countries it’s a cultural thing and if I was in that situation, I would remove my shoes. However, I have a thing about walking around in socks, I hate it, so I don’t remove my shoes. On occasion people have asked me to remove them at the door and I usually just say “no thank you” or “I don’t do that” and no one has ever insisted. I think it’s totally fine if someone WANTS to remove their shoes. And if I have on sandals and want to remove my shoes and walk around at a barbeque in barefeet or something, that’s fine too. I’m really amazed at how many other people feel the same way as I do – I thought I was the only oddball that felt this way. Apparently not.

  64. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Michelle! Well we agree with Natasha, your shoes are a part of your whole outfit! A major part, lol! And the hostess should have shoes on as well, we think :) Have a wonderful day! J & J :)

  65. designflute

    I am a little surprised that this is even a topic for people in other parts of the world.
    In India (most of the region except so called modern mentality pockets) removing shoes is a way of life. Outside the home or inside at the entrance (where) is not important.You don’t bring outside dirt into the home!(wiping off on door mats is just not enough) For us it is a matter of cleanliness & hygiene,as simple as that simple!! Like my grandpa I would shamelessly ask if someone does not remove shoes at the entrance automatically.
    Full marks & many thanks to you for bringing up seemingly such a small but imp. lifestyle topic!

  66. Dawn-Hydrangea Home

    I personally would never ask a guest to remove their shoes (except for the children that have just been running around in the muddy yard). I also think it’s an important part of the outfit. Although, in the snow, with all of the sand you can track into someone’s home, I would hope my guests would wipe their feet really well!

  67. andrea danielle

    Omg, I certainly would not like to attend a party where I had to remove my shoes. I would never ask people to remove their shoes. I would die if I had peeling toenail polish and on occasion I do. I don’t feel that is very welcoming. Now, I totally understand why people would want shoes removed. Geez.. we walk in public restrooms and no telling where else…it totally grosses me out. I currently do not have any carpet in my house, just rugs. Another point… a lot of people like to step outside during a party and it would be very inconvenient to have to stop and put shoes on.

  68. jlanier2001

    Your blog is going on my list of blogs to visit regularly. Great ideas throughout! I especially enjoy the posts with French influence. Thanks also for visiting my blog (the one with the wristwarmers). Congratulations on being in the top 10 too!

  69. Jenn and Jacqui

    Hi Melissa, SO SORRY, we are scatterbrained Bowerbirds this week :) lol J & J xo

  70. ellie

    well….In Hawai’i where I lived for 10 years we always took off our shoes….that was the custom. I was a teacher and got so used to not wearing shoes at all!! I was always found barefoot running aroung the classeroom and campus. Then I moved back to Calif…and my husband was always telling me to put on shoes…so I guess I eventully gave in and I wear shoes most them to your question…I understand why the host would ask to remove your shoes but…if I wear certain shoes..even with the odor eaters…my feet sometimes stink really stink…so I would probably offend everyone at the party if I took my shoes off!! Egads!! I think it should be up to the individual guest….Leave a pair by the door and that might suggest to them to take off their shoes…but I would never ask them to do so. If you want to host you have to be willing to deal with the clean up….

  71. accessoryalamode~Deb

    I personally don’t tell my guests to take their shoes off. But some just do anyway, so I leave it up to them. I do keep a bench by the door with a deep tin bucket where I throw my kids shoes becuase kids, well that is a different story as they don’t always remember to wipe and have a habit of running in the mud. But if we are talking about adults, you could give them an option by leaving a big basket filled with socks or slippers like Martha Stewart says to do. I include my shoes as part of my outfit and when I have to take them off it feels like I just messed up my “look” :o) I have a sister-in-law that leaves a little poem and note on the door to remove the shoes, so when I go there I always try to remember that and not include the shoes as part of the outfit. This is a very interesting topic. The picture posted is soooo gorgeous as usual!!

  72. Design for Mankind

    Melissa: GREAT topic! I could only read through the first nine responses, so if this has already been said, my apologies!

    Whenever I’m hosting a party, I line a few pairs of my own shoes along the wall by the door. It usually poses the question from the guest, “Would you like us to take off our shoes?”

    We ALWAYS answer… “only if you want to, but it’s no big deal.” Because it’s not. My husband and I take off our shoes every day, but that doesn’t mean the guest needs to if he/she isn’t comfortable with doing so. As a host or hostess, you’re offering your home for the comfort of others, and that’s the responsibility that you accept when inviting others into your home.

    A million rules bend when you have guests over, whether intentionally or not. I suggest to make the shoe rule one that is available for bending, just in case a guest has a hole in their sock. :)

  73. Lady N

    I grew up in a house where we NEVER wore shoes in the house. I really think its a cultural thing – I am asian and we always took our shoes off. Even when I go other people’s homes where it wasn’t required, I still took off my shoes. While I have never had to ask anyone who came over to my house to take off their shoes, most of my friends and colleagues have been courteous enough to realize that that was what I did in my home and didn’t make a fuss over it. As long as they didn’t have dirty shoes, its not a big deal to me. But I think its always courteous as the guest to notice these things and ask if uncertain, especially if the host is a different religion or culture.

  74. rose

    I don’t ask people to remove their shoes and if someone comes in and automatically begins to take their shoes off, I ask them to leave them on. I don’t want their sweaty feet all over my floor. I’d rather clean up after mud/dirt than that.

  75. Mari-Nanci

    You have plenty of opinions here, on your question. I’m not gonna’ weigh in on that. But oh that room you put at the top of your entry! {for which you left a credit link} Oh my! Oh sighhhhhh… I LUV it!!!!


  76. Heather

    We have a no shoe house because we have little kids crawling all over the floors. We do not, however, require that anyone take off shoes when visiting. Sometimes people ask – most families we know take off shoes too – and we tell them we do, but do not feel obligated. Parties, I think shoes stay on.

  77. teaorwine

    Wow…you have really received a lot of response to this sensitive issue. After living in Germany for many years, we always remove shoes in the house. Europeans have house shoes for wear indoors, street shoes for wear outside the house. I certainly do not require guests to remove their shoes, but many do as they model what we do. Guests should be comfortable in my home; their choice as to the shoe issue. There are many reasons to and many reasons not to as is evidenced here in all responses. When hosting a social gathering in my home, I do wear shoes. This is probably the only time! I will share an incident with you, then stop I once had a visitor to my home which had gorgeous, original, wooden floors with some rugs, but also much exposed wood flooring. The visitor wore stiletto heels. Upon her departure, I noticed many pings to the floor as the sharp heel dug in with each step. Actually, you could follow her steps around the house. Kind of like she had left bread crumbs behind. She would have been so very embarrassed to know of this, don’t you know. Just a thought if you plan on wearing stiletto heels into a home.

  78. MamaGoesGreen

    What a great post! We have all wood floors, and I generally don’t wear shoes inside my home, even while entertaining. Unless I am in bad need of a pedicure, or the party is a bit fancier than normal. I am from Florida though, where flip flops can be dressy with the right bling! I wouldn’t ask any of my guests to take off their shoes, but if it would make them more comfortable, they would certainly be welcome to. I have noticed since we moved to VA, a lot of people take of their shoes when coming in. I think this has more to do with lots of farms and animals….who knows where your shoes have been!

    MamaGoesGreens inspiring blog post..Laptop Lunches

  79. Joie at Canned Laughter

    It is only appropriate to request that guests remove their shoes at the door when suitable storage and fresh slippers are provided. No guest should be asked to roam around barefoot or in their stocking feet.
    Thankfully, I have never been in an Asian home where suitable footwear was not provided. Seems to me that if a westerner is that worried about his rugs/mats, he should roll them up before guests arrive.

    Joie at Canned Laughters inspiring blog post..Diamonds Are So Prosaic

  80. Matthew C

    “It is only appropriate to request that guests remove their shoes at the door when suitable storage and fresh slippers are provided. No guest should be asked to roam around barefoot or in their stocking feet.”

    A lot of people would rather be in bare or stocking feet than wear borrowed slippers, even if you tell them the slippers are freshly cleaned.

    You might like to visit my blog on the subject of removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please

    Matthew Cs inspiring blog post..SKY T.V. Engineer

  81. Liz

    I think “no shoes” policy is great. My neighbors all know remove your shoes and only our friends are invited over. They know we have a new home and new floors. So I think it is perfectly fine to ask guest to remove their shoes. What if there shoes messed up your floors. Guest are not going to help replace the wood.


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