Manners Matter: Shoe Etiquette

Dear Mary Pat,

My husband and I just built a brand new house and we’ve gotten into the habit of taking our shoes off when we get home. We want to preserve our floors and it’s also better not to track dirt, dust and who knows what else from outside. When we have guests over, we ask them to please remove their shoes. Most of our friends and family are used to the drill and don’t think twice about it. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law (there’s always one, isn’t there?) ignores our request and says we are being too fussy and that we should lighten up. Is it unreasonable for us to ask this of our guests?


House Rules

Sister Bay, Wis.


Dear House Rules,

It is reasonable to ask people to remove their shoes. There are some nasty things on the bottoms of our shoes and to not track it over your flooring, new or otherwise, isn’t too much to ask.

Maybe your brother-in-law just likes to be contrary, or maybe he’s trying to keep his feet covered for another reason such as holes in his socks or an odor issue. Since you are welcoming people into your home, you want them to be as comfortable as possible. Think about keeping some extra slippers and/or house socks in a basket near the door. If you catch a guest unaware and they have unsightly feet or a chipped pedicure, they will still have the chance to cover their feet while doing what you ask.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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