Why Do People Wear Shoes in the House: Reasons Explained - Footwears Fact (2023)

Last updated on August 30th, 2022 at 10:49 pm

If you are a European or American, it is pretty common for you to wear shoes even inside your house. So, you won’t find it unusual at all. However, while wearing shoes inside the home is usual for Americans and Europeans mostly, Asians will find it utterly surprising. However, Asians strictly maintain the rule of no shoes inside the home.

Thus, many people actually ask us, “Why do people wear shoes in the house?”

In America, Europe, and United Kingdom, wearing shoes inside the home is largely a part of their cultural practice. But, there’s a catch; they won’t wear the outdoor shoes inside the home. It is also because American and European people live in cleaner cities, and they are more likely to catch germs than Asians. Finally, older people will wear shoes indoors to protect their feet from bad impacts and infections and stay healthy.

But, should you wear outdoor shoes inside the home? Probably, the answer is no.

So, here we will discuss the reasons of people wear shoes indoors and also, is health safe or not in this write-up. If you look for a healthy lifestyle, this discussion would be a great help for you.

Why Do People Wear Shoes in the House: Reasons Explained - Footwears Fact (1)

What's Inside:

Why Do People Wear Shoes in the House

There are multiple reasons why white people wear shoes inside their homes. Firstly, it has become a part of their culture and tradition. Also, many wear shoes indoors for protection from different elements and cold.

Cultural and traditional aspects:

As human beings, none can avoid their social culture. It means if you are in Europe and America, you will follow the cultural rules of these locations. And in most parts of Europe and America, people have developed the culture of wearing shoes indoors.

Although it is unknown when and how white people in the western world started wearing shoes indoors, the culture is estimated to be at least a few centuries old. Some say that the practice started in medieval Europe during the great plague. At that time, people would wear shoes separately indoors to avoid any possible germs.

It gradually became a cultural part of their lives, continuing until now. However, it’s not a good practice to bring your outdoor shoes directly indoors. You should use a separate pair of shoes or sandals for indoor use.

Also, if you have wooden floors, choose shoes with a softer outsole to avoid scratches on the floor. It is vital as wooden floors get scratched pretty soon.

Protection from slips and cold:

Older people will wear shoes or sandals indoors to protect themselves from slips and accidental falls. It is important because older people are prone to slips and falls, and the possibility increases with barefoot.

In fact, a study in the Science Daily named “Going barefoot in the home may contribute to elderly falls” found that 52% of older people fall on the slippery floor barefoot and even with slippers. When they wore shoes with socks, the percentage of falls on slippery floor lowered drastically to 20% or even lower than it.

These statistics show that older white people will wear shoes mainly for safety purposes inside their homes. It will protect them from falling and walking confidently. Also, wearing comfortable walking shoes will give their feet a nice cozy and cushioned feel.

Why Do People Wear Shoes in the House: Reasons Explained - Footwears Fact (2)

Also, pediatrics suggests that wearing anti-slip shoes indoors will help people walk freely and stop falling accidentally. So, people have made it a norm in their indoor space.

Next up, people will wear shoes in wintery locations to protect their feet from cold. Yes, even after using room heaters, the floor of your home remains cold largely. Thus, many people will prefer wearing shoes indoors to protect their feet from the cold coming from the floor.

Prevents infection:

Let’s admit the fact that when we are outdoor, we walk carefully and try to avoid anything that might infect us, including viruses and bacteria. But in indoor locations, we will often walk carefree, making us vulnerable to viruses and bacteria.

Although our home remains clean for the most part, Americans and Europeans believe that it helps them maintain hygiene to wear shoes indoors. Also, when asked to white people, “Why do white people wear shoes in the house?” the answer will be the same.

Also, many people wear shoes indoors to protect their feet from insects such as ants, spiders, and termites. It helps them walk confidently and stay free from any possible hazards. Also, people will wear shoes indoors to get rid of dust and debris.

Moreover, when you wear shoes indoors, it will help you maintain cleanliness. And it is known that western people are addicted to cleanliness. So, it is natural for them to wear shoes indoors. However, it is still not a good practice since wearing shoes indoors will dramatically reduce the lifespan of your wooden floor and carpets.

For cushioning and comfort:

If your home has a hard floor, it will create serious consequences due to impact. In fact, pediatrics suggest people wear cushioned shoes while walking on a hard surface to prevent impacts. Thus, you will find people with hard tiled floors in their homes wearing shoes regularly in their indoor space. It saves them from impacts and pain.

Safeguarding of abnormal arch:

They’re people who have a slightly abnormal arch in their feet. People with a natural arch will absorb shocks and impacts quite successfully. So, their foot remains safe. But, a problem arises when people have the abnormal arch design.

There’re two types of arch conditions when you would need improved support. Consequently, people will wear shoes to protect their somewhat distinctive arch.

  1. Collapsed or damaged arch
  2. People with a high arch

When you have a high arch, the ball of your foot will be prone to hard impacts with the floor. It will subsequently damage your feet. Therefore, people with a high arch will always wear shoes even indoors of their homes for better protection.

On the contrary, people with a flat arch will come in complete touch with the room’s floor. So, it becomes even more essential for them to wear shoes to stop contact with the floor and reduce the impact while walking. Henceforth, they too will wear shoes indoors for cushioning and protection of their arch.

Diabetic people:

Diabetic people face problems with blood circulation, and they need huge time to stop blood flow due to any cuts. Thus, even a minor cut in their feet might lead to hospitalization and serious consequences. So, naturally, diabetic people won’t walk barefoot and risk cuts.

Thereby, they will almost always wear shoes, even inside their home. Not only does it saves them from accidents but also, it could be a lifesaver.

Why Do Americans Wear Shoes in the House

We have discussed the reasons for western people wear shoes in their houses. But, is there any particular reason for Americans wearing shoes inside the home? As far as our research goes, Americans wear shoes indoors for the same reasons described in the above section.

The practice of wearing shoes indoors is deeply rooted in American culture. Nowadays, it has become a norm for Americans to wear shoes in the house. Some Americans will even bring their outdoor shoes inside the home.

Nonetheless, we discourage this practice, as outdoor shoes carry germs and bacteria, which are hazardous. It is even more critical during this pandemic when you would want to eliminate the slightest risk of any germs attack.

Why Do People Wear Shoes in the House: Reasons Explained - Footwears Fact (3)

Is It Common To Wear Shoes In The House?

Whether or not wearing shoes is common inside your house will depend on the locality. If you live in any European country or America, it is usually common to wear shoes indoors. But the same isn’t true for Asian countries.

Asian people will generally leave their shoes outside and walk barefoot inside the home. It is a common culture in almost every Asian country, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Bangladesh, etc. Since many Asians still eat on the floor, they like to keep the indoor floor as neat and clean as possible. As a result, they will not wear shoes in their indoor space.

Moreover, many Asians can’t afford to buy a pair of secondary shoes or sandals exclusively for indoor use. So, they leave their outdoor shoes in the gate and walk barefoot inside the home.

Which countries wear shoes indoors?

Mostly, people in Europe and America will shoe indoors. The list includes:

  1. Great Britain
  2. America
  3. Germany
  4. France
  5. Spain
  6. Portugal
  7. Norway

However, people generally leave their shoes outdoors in Slavic countries, including Eastern Europe. It is a general practice in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, etc.

Final Words

We have discussed the common reasons people wear shoes in the house. Usually, people wear shoes indoors to protect their feet, mainly due to cultural reasons. Also, diabetic people wear shoes indoors to safeguard their feet from cuts. It is a common practice in most European countries except the Slavic region. Also, Americans too wear shoes indoors. But, if you go to Asian countries, the scenario is entirely different, where people will mostly leave their shoes outdoor.

Why Do People Wear Shoes in the House: Reasons Explained - Footwears Fact (4)

Kristin Wilkins

Hello, I’m Kristin, the founder and main author of footwearsfact.com. I’ve been working as a footwear designer and have built a keen interest in different footwear problems, suggestions, and designing. I hope I’ll be able to serve your needs with my skillful team member.


Why do people wear footwear at home? ›

Why should people wear indoor shoes in the house? Walking barefoot on hard surfaces for an extended amount of time is bad for your feet because it allows our foot to collapse which can lead to a tremendous amount of stress not only to the foot but to the rest of the body.

What are 5 reasons for wearing shoes? ›

Over time, more serious problems can develop. Bunions can form, resulting in pain and disfigurement of the feet. A prolonged lack of proper foot support can cause arches to collapse, and can cause serious joint pain.
1. Shoes Prevent Foot Problems
  • Corns.
  • Ingrown toenails.
  • Fungal nail infections.
  • Athlete's foot.

Why do people wear footwear? ›

Footwear refers to garments worn on the feet, which typically serves the purpose of protection against adversities of the environment such as wear from ground textures and temperature. Footwear in the manner of shoes therefore primarily serves the purpose to ease locomotion and prevent injuries.

What happens when you wear shoes in the house? ›

Shoes worn outside can be vectors for all kinds of dirt and microbes – we already know this – but just how dangerous is it? According to the experts, about one-third of the matter building up inside your home comes from outside, much of it being tracked in on the soles of our shoes.

What footwear do you wear at home? ›

That's where "house shoes" come in. Wearing slippers or sneakers at home (that you only wear inside) is an easy way to cushion your feet and protect those precious fat pads while also helping to keep your toes warm during the colder months.

What does a house shoe mean? ›

Noun. houseshoe (plural houseshoes) (chiefly Southern US) A slipper, moccasin, or other warm footwear not appropriate for outdoor use.

Do people wear shoes indoors? ›

We vary in our modes of dress, levels of formality, and cultural backgrounds. For every answer that says, "Yes, Americans absolutely wear shoes indoors," you'll find another that says, "Not necessarily." So, do some Americans wear shoes indoors? Absolutely.

Were humans supposed to wear shoes? ›

Like all other animals, humans evolved to walk without shoes. Then, as our ancestors strode across the savannas in search of food and shelter, they eventually figured out how to protect their feet from extreme temperatures and sharp objects: wrap them in animal hides.

Are shoes and footwear the same thing? ›

A shoe is a type of footwear that covers the foot and protects it with a sole. There are various styles of shoes for different occasions, such as athletic shoes, dress shoes, sandals, and boots.

What do shoes symbolize? ›

Shoes have, for centuries, given hints about a person's character, social and cultural place, even sexual preference. Shoes are powerful “things”, as they take control over the physical and human space in which we live. They allow us to move in and experience the environment.

What happens if you don't wear shoes at home? ›

Additionally, bacteria and other germs tend to live longer on the bottom of your outdoor shoes. This is because your shoes also pick up organic matter from plants and soil that help bacteria thrive. Removing shoes before entering the house helps limit your exposure.

What does a shoe in front of your house mean? ›

At last week's meeting of the local residents' group it was suggested by one attendee that when shoes are placed outside a house, they are part of a burglars' code. The claim was that they signify that a house has been cased and deemed worthy of and viable for burglary.

Is it OK to go barefoot in the house? ›

It's not just about the risk of getting dirt and germs on your feet. Going barefoot in your house can lead to foot problems such as heel pain and/or ball of foot pain.

Are house shoes good for your feet? ›

House slippers can be helpful for people with foot issues

“For certain pedal issues, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis or metatarsalgia, I recommend patients wear an indoor house sandal or slipper in order to provide arch support, cushion in the ball of the foot and general comfort.”

What do you wear on your feet at home? ›

You should wear slippers at home! “Most people have hardwood floors and walking around without any form of support, leads to excessive pressure on the ball of the foot and heels. The lack of support can also cause the arches to stretch and flatten.”

Why are shoes most important? ›

Wearing proper walking shoes is a fundamental element in maintaining the correct walking technique, as well as preventing injury. Shoes are tools. Without the correct tools, you are likely to hurt yourself, making you more prone to suffer further and more severe injuries in the future.

Why is a shoe called a shoe? ›

Etymology. From Middle English scho, sho, from Old English sċōh (“shoe”), from Proto-West Germanic *skōh, from Proto-Germanic *skōhaz (“shoe”), of unclear etymology; possibly a derivation from *skehaną (“to move quickly”), from Proto-Indo-European *skek- (“to move quickly, jump”).

What is a fun fact about shoes? ›

In the late 1800s, rubber-soled shoes became known as “sneaks” because the sole made the shoes quiet and noiseless. Later, “sneaks” gave way to the term “sneakers”. The son of a shoe cobbler, Jimmy Choo grew up in the world of shoemaking.

Do the shoes really matter? ›

And there's no better protection for your feet than shoes. Proper footwear can provide you stability and support to keep your body feeling its best. This will improve foot health, and increase the longevity of your activity level as you age.

What can you tell by a person's shoes? ›

Someone's age, gender, income, and attachment anxiety can be determined at an above chance level just by looking at photographs of their shoes. Surprisingly minimal appearance cues lead perceivers to accurately judge others' personality, status, or politics.

Why do people wear shoes in bed? ›

They may do this for any number of reasons, including: Your feet are cold. Your feet feel better in shoes. You are too tired to take off your shoes.

Why should we not leave your shoes in the living room? ›

The takeaway

Removing your shoes before entering a home is an easy and courteous way to keep floors free of bacteria, chemicals, and other harmful substances that can be found on the soles of your shoe.

What happens if you don't wear shoes? ›

Apart from causing an achy body, walking barefoot also exposes our feet to bacterial and fungal organisms that can infect the skin and nails. These organisms can lead to infections that change the appearance, odor, and comfort of the foot, such as athlete's foot or fungus.

Why you should go barefoot? ›

Walking without shoes can improve balance, help with pain relief and lead to improved mechanics of hips, knees and core.

Who wore the first shoe? ›

During the Kassite period (c. 1600–1200 bce) in Mesopotamia, soft shoes were introduced by mountain people on the border of Iran who ruled Babylonia during that time. This first type of shoe was a simple wraparound of leather, with the basic construction of a moccasin, held together on the foot with rawhide lacings.

What shoes symbolize in the Bible? ›

Our first source of information concerning the shoe is the Bible. Here the shoe partakes of the character of the profane, symbolizing the Earthly in contrast with the Holy. thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground', is the command to Moses (Exod.

What is the world's oldest shoe? ›

The Areni-1 shoe is a 5,500-year-old leather shoe that was found in 2008 in excellent condition in the Areni-1 cave located in the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia.

When did humans start wearing shoes? ›

Humans have actually been wearing shoes of some sort for at least 40,000 years. Analysis of skeletons from Tiankyuan Cave in China showed changes in toe bones potentially associated with decreases in strain on the forefoot from not walking barefoot.

What does wearing a shoe in mean? ›

if you wear in something such as a pair of shoes, you wear them until they fit your feet better and are more comfortable.

What color is the shoe explained? ›

Right Brain. The theory is that "left-brained people" see gray and teal, and "right-brained people" see the sneaker as pink and white. The terms "left-brained" and "right-brained" have come to refer to personality types in popular culture, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

What is another word for shoes? ›

synonyms for shoes
  • cleat.
  • loafer.
  • pump.
  • slipper.
  • sneaker.
  • tennis shoe.
  • clog.
  • moccasin.

What cultures don't wear shoes in the house? ›

  • In many countries like Germany, Switzerland, Skandinavian countries, Turkey, Japan, Korea etc. ...
  • In these countries it is considered a major faux pas to walk through a house with shoes on. ...
  • In Japan, removing shoes in the genkan, the entryway area of the house, apartment or building, has also a very practical matter.

What is the no shoes house rule? ›

Long story short: taking off your shoes at the door helps you control household dust, toxins, and germs. It's also an easy way to keep your floors cleaner for longer. And in many cultures and households, it's the polite thing to do.

Is it rude to ask houseguests to take off their shoes? ›

In response to a reader inquiry, the experts at Architectural Digest said yes, it's totally fine to ask guests to remove their shoes, but it may be best to warn guests before they even come over.

Where is it unlucky to put shoes? ›

There is a superstition that bad luck will come to a person who places shoes on a table. Another belief common in the North of England is that the tradition relates to the coal mining industry.

What does it mean if someone leaves shoes at your door? ›

It's always better to be safe than sorry… Shoes: This one is a little less common. But if you find a random shoe left by your gate or driveway, it could be a sign that your home is 'easy pickings'. Remove it, keep an eye out and, if more appear, notify the non-emergency line on 101!

Is it OK to shower barefoot? ›

Wear shower shoes – Walking barefoot in a public shower or even a locker room can expose you to fungus. Wear flip flops or shower sandals to protect your feet. Bring your own soap – Soap that you bring won't be contaminated by other people or have been exposed to the damp floors.

Are Crocs good for your feet? ›

They lack heel support

“Crocs are backless and do not support or control the heel,” Weiser adds. As a result, you could develop heel pain and tendonitis of the heel. The lack of heel support can make it more difficult to maintain stability as you walk, so you may be more likely to trip or fall.

Are bare feet dirtier than shoes? ›

Most dirt that does get on your feet gets brushed off in a few steps. And unlike the moist, dark, hot, anaerobic environment inside a shoe (a perfect breeding ground for bacteria), bare feet are exposed to ultraviolet light, oxygen and moving air, so they stay clean and dry.

Why do some people wear slippers at home? ›

It helps to prevent accidents such as slips, keeps your house cleaner, and prevents fungal infections from spreading. It can also reduce instances of colds and flu, stops foot pain from her indoor surfaces, protects your socks, and could make you more productive.

Are you supposed to wear shoes in the house? ›

It's best to take your shoes off if you have young children crawling on floors or people in the home who have allergies, because pollen can be transferred to floors, especially to carpets.

Do people normally wear shoes in the house? ›

It's pretty common for Americans to walk around the house in shoes…and they don't necessarily don and doff their shoes near the door. But, it's also not a universal thing either. A fairly large percentage of Americans do indeed take their shoes off, consistently.

What's the point of house slippers? ›

Slippers act as a comfy protective agent against communicable foot diseases like athlete's foot and toenail fungus infections. So yeah, don't just wear slippers to feel pampered.

Why do Asians wear house shoes? ›

Those of us that have travelled to Asia or have visited an Asian's home in Europe or the US know that Asians remove their shoes at the door and do not allow outside dirt inside. This is healthy and practical, as most Asians sit on the floor.

Is it better to go barefoot at home? ›

It's not just about the risk of getting dirt and germs on your feet. Going barefoot in your house can lead to foot problems such as heel pain and/or ball of foot pain.

Why do people wear slippers in bathroom? ›

03/5​Prevents bacterial and fungal infections

Despite mopping and vacuum cleaning, you cannot stop the harmful microorganisms from entering the house with water, air and other carriers. Wearing slippers helps protect your feet from communicable foot disease. Some of these are toenail fungus and athlete's foot.

What cultures Dont wear shoes at home? ›

  • In many countries like Germany, Switzerland, Skandinavian countries, Turkey, Japan, Korea etc. ...
  • In these countries it is considered a major faux pas to walk through a house with shoes on. ...
  • In Japan, removing shoes in the genkan, the entryway area of the house, apartment or building, has also a very practical matter.

What happens if you don't wear slippers? ›

What happens if you don't wear slippers? Without support, walking on hard surfaces for extended periods of time can cause the tendons and ligaments around the ankle to become inflamed and irritated. This can then lead to instability or tendinitis, which can quite painful.

What's the difference between a house shoe and a slipper? ›

Simply put, a house shoe is a shoe that's meant to be worn indoors, typically at home. While the terms are often used interchangeably, some folks differentiate house shoes as a closed footwear style and slippers as a distinctly slip-on style—hence the name slip-ers.

Is it OK not to wear slippers at home? ›

For many, the cumulative time spent barefoot has caused an increase in foot pain or discomfort as they go about their day. Wearing supportive slippers inside the house is often about more than just pure comfort. Foot specialists often recommend them over barefoot at home to prevent discomfort and injury.


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