Friday, October 28, 2011

8 Reasons Why Eco-Yogis Shed Their Shoes

After living in four different provinces over the past 10 years (and spending my entire life of 30 years in Canada- yep turned the big 3-0 Monday!! EEK), I have to say that I've been to my fair share of homes and met quite a bit of people country wide.

Out of them all, only *one* family kept their shoes on in the house. One family in 30 years of visiting. I know I've said this before, but until recently I honestly thought that Americans who kept their shoes on indoors on TV were just representative of some weird tv-land trend. What seems to be the case, for the most part though, is that keeping your shoes on in the States is the rule, not the exception (whereas in Canada it's the exception...).

Here are some reasons why shedding your shoes in the house is the Eco-Yogi(ni) thing to do:

1. Less dirt tracked into your house= less to vacuum-sweep-mop= less energy and cleaners needed. I don't know why people ignore this, but when you walk outside your shoes step on dirt (etc), which depending on the weather can vary in quantity. This dirt is then dropped off at various points all over your house. That commercial for the fancy steam-vacuum that shoes the family walking all over the (gradually browned) rug? Wouldn't be a problem if they took off their shoes, where else do they think that dirt comes from?

2. Less cleaners and energy also means less house work for you... which also translates into more time for Yoga. :)

3. It's polite. Yeppers, taking your shoes off in someone else's house shows that you respect their home, their cleanliness and you trust that they keep a clean and welcome home. If you visit someone in Canada, it's a good bet to take off your shoes.

4. You can feel more comfortable curling up on the couch, chair or bed without shoes on.

5. You'll feel more connected to their earth, more grounded and centered in the present. I swear,  shoes= working and being busy doing stuff. No shoes= relaxing and opening up.

6. You're ready for yoga at ANY TIME.

7. You get to enjoy wearing fun socks! (or slippers!)

8. Canadians are cool and we have fabulous ideas!

Are you an American that takes off your shoes in the house? Why or why not?

Happy Halloween Weekend!!

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Happy birthday!

    I'm am American that takes off her shoes - that's a rule in our house and was when I was growing up. I think most of my friends take off their shoes in their own houses but don't expect visitors to remove their shoes. When I was a kid, there was less shoe removal, but carpets were brown and green and orange then - not always white or cream like they are now.

  2. I'm an American and always shoes off. But, you're right. Most people here just leave their shoes on when they visit. I don't get it either.

  3. Yes, I don't wear shoes in the house because I don't want to track in all the dirt, grime and pollutants. I also don't want to put my face down on the floor during yoga knowing what might be down there! LOL.

    I try to take off my shoes at most people's houses. Many are annoyed with my request that they take off theirs - they think I'm anal. But oh well!

  4. i love being barefoot which is why i take my shoes off, but i would never ask a guest to remove their shoes in my house and yes maybe it's a culture thing but i think it's rude to ask someone to remove an item of clothing in order to be a guest in my home. if they want to, they can, but life is too short to have rules like this in my opinion - do what makes you comfortable! live and let live :)

  5. I'm an American who takes of my shoes in the house. But I'm also 1/2 Asian and was raised in an Asian household so we never wore shoes in the house.
    Our current home is all tile downstairs but we still don't wear shoes in the house. Everyone (kids included) take off their shoes downstairs and store them in the closet by the front door. We don't ask visitors to take off their shoes but most people will see our shoe bench by the door and take them off of their own accord.
    We have carpet on the stairs and all upstairs so NO ONE wears shoes up there.
    I think the grossest thing ever is seeing someone laying on their bed with shoes on. UCK!

  6. UK here and growing up, we took off our shoes and wore slippers. It's something I do in my own home and with my own family. Our visitors all have the same rules so it's never a problem asking them to remove their shoes.

  7. @Erin: thank you :) so hilarious and true- carpets WERE brown and green! haha.

    @Ann: I like the suggestion further down to have a shoe bench with shoes near the door (we have our shoes lined up near the door). It's a pretty obvious cue for guests.

    @Five Seed: I know... ick! I also take off my shoes in other people's homes- but then in Canada it IS considered rude to leave them on. So I guess it's a cultural thing.

    @EcoGrrl: I can understand in the states it would be different since it's the exception to expect this- but if you ever visit Canada it's more the rule. So- it would be considered opposite- rude to leave your shoes on. Funny how that works eh? I have one Tante who leaves her shoes on, she claims because of foot issues- but every christmas when there's SNOW and mud and slush, she tracks all this into my parent's home. And everyone comments on how rude it is...

    @Shizzknits: yes! something Canadians and Asian cultures have in common :) Very cool! I also agree that having an obvious visual (I've heard of some americans problem solving over getting shoe racks or pretty shoe benches near the front door).

    @KIA: so would it be something Canadians do because of our british cultural similarities?

  8. I'm an American and I always take my shoes off at home; I love being barefoot! When I'm visiting others it depends on how long I'm staying or (in some cases) whether their floor looks clean enough for me to walk barefoot on.

  9. I live in New York City and we ALWAYS remove our shoes when we get inside our apartment, and we always ask our guests to do the same. We have a toddler, and who knows what might get tracked in from the subway? Eww!!

    We've never gotten any strange looks for asking, but maybe it helps that we have a bench with a cozy pillow and a storage space for shoes right by the door. :)

    Most of the people we know remove their shoes upon returning home. I always ask if I should take my shoes off in someone else's home if I'm not sure. I grew up in the country, and we had slippers or "house shoes" that we changed into at the door.

  10. There is nothing wrong with insisting on shoes-off as a house rule. More and more British and Americans seem to be doing this.

    I have and whole blog about removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might like to take a look.

  11. I tend to be barefoot most of the time too, except in winter when fuzzy socks rule!

  12. I take my shoes because that is the custom in Hawaii (where I grew up) I actually think it's an Asian custom and that's where it came from to the islands. Even though I'm no longer in HI, I still think it's respectful to take shoes off before entering anyone's home :) Glad you posted about this!

  13. I'm Canadian and actually had never thought about this topic until I saw the post...I was thinking "why wouldn't you take your shoes off??". I honestly have no idea what I'd do if someone didn't take their shoes off when they visited; it's never happened! I guess my great Aunt doesn't, but she doesn't move very well so it's hard enough for her to get them on in the first place.

  14. I'm British and always take my shoes off... I remember my grandparents would always take their shoes off in the hall and put on their slippers. It was just what you did! Kept the place clean and slippers are softer and therefore less wear and tear on carpets. Now I do it as I don't want street 'funk' in my home...

  15. Everyone takes their shoes off in my house, even the cleaner. The only people who get away with it are workmen if there is a health and safety aspect.

    Why would anyone wear shoes in the house anyway!?

  16. I'm Minnesotan and we take our shoes off in the winter and usually in the summer too. In the winter, many people carry slippers around with them to wear when they are visiting and often the hosts have extra slippers handy for folks who forgot theirs.

    However, I had a friend from Washington DC who moved to Minnesota and was shocked by people removing their shoes to come in her home. She thought that was gross. In DC people wiped their feet on the mat and left their shoes on.

  17. Always shoes off in our house. WE ask people nicely when they enter to remove their shoes. Believe it or not, we actually have certain relatives that blatantly and rudely refuse to take them off.

    And I take them off, or at least start to, whenever I visit other peoples' homes. If they tell me no, and I see everyone else with shoes on, I'll leave mine on because I don't want to create a scene at which I am the centre.

  18. Since we were small, we were taught to take off our shoes before we enter the house. We each have slippers specifically intended for indoor use only.

    - online yoga community

  19. We were always a shoes-on house growing up, but have shifted to shoes-off now that I'm a married adult with kids--we never made a thing of it, we just sort of DID it.

    And honestly, without really making a thing of it, most of our friends when they come in (maybe they see us with no shoes?) stop and either remove their shoes or ask if they should. And we live near Chicago.

    So, fairly normal and acceptable here.

  20. Hi Gail, what you say is very true. My parents always put on their slippers in the hallway, as did everyone i knew. It's something my own family does now. We take our slippers with us when visiting friends and family. I see it as a polite gesture.


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