Take off your Shoes.

Via elephant journal
on Apr 15, 2010
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toms shoes take off

Why you should take off your shoes before walking in your home?

Well, God said so:

King James Bible
And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Fifth in a series of: Mindful habits. 

Mindfulness happens in everyday life, in the details:



It’s a pain. And that’s just the point.


Slip off shoes.

Then enter. It not only curbs indoor air pollution (which is often much worse than outside), but pausing at the door before entering creates a moment of space for your brain before you jump into…whatever’s next.



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26 Responses to “Take off your Shoes.”

  1. Bonnie says:

    The sign on my front door says "Remove Thy Shoes." Provide a seat just outside and inside the entry and pick up a couple of pairs of slippers for your guests; they'll be more respectful of the habit.

  2. yogi Tobye says:

    I have a big shoe rack near my front door. Even before I got a cream coloured carpet, I always took off my shoes. The thing is, I can tell more about a person by wether they take their shoes off or not! My bestest buddies always do it without being asked, I never asked, they just did it. But I've had people just walk in and ignore the shoe rack and then comment on how hard it is to keep a cream carpet clean….. and the thing is, these are the people that I've found most vexing in other ways as well!

  3. […] but they didn’t mention a thing about what I had actually been there for.  Yes, I understand I should have had shoes but… really? Couldn’t they have asked me to get my sandals on, and help me out? We were […]

  4. kendall says:

    Since context matters, I can't help but note that the context of when God spoke those words to Moses… he was outside… in the desert by a burning bush. But then Don Chaffer said it well when he sang/wrote: "In the gas station bathroom by the condom machine, I heard the word of the Lord. He said "Take off your shoes, this is holy ground, too, you know I came for the sick and the bored." "
    So maybe the context has more to do with the place than just home, maybe it has to do with where ever there are burning bushes.

  5. Tee says:

    I have a small plaque similar in sentiment, except that it adds "…and no fair taking better shoes when you leave." Love the humour that lightens the request.

  6. Nancy says:

    Emily, ALL of my maintenance people put on shoe covers before entering, and my Bosnian cleaning lady removes her shoes and cleans in her stocking feet. When on our wedding trip to Hawaii, the home we stayed in had the sign at the front door asking to please remove shoes before entering (we put on sandals or flip/flops provided).

  7. SevaSouleYoga says:

    yesterday for Girls,Inc. checkout from after school program we asked the girls, "What is the first thing you do when you get home from school?" One answer was "Take off my shoes" and we had a great discussion about that! It's a good thing.

  8. Lele says:

    Living in Korea, taking shoes off is custom- a MUST! And, after walking in the filthy, spit ridden streets I am happy to not drag that across my apartment…where the floor serves as a couch/dinner table, lounge area. No doubt, something I'll take with me wherever I go.

  9. tea says:

    shoes off everytime

  10. tea says:


  11. Leigh Ann Kierski says:

    I think it should be a persons choice 🙂 sometimes i wanna wear shoes

  12. yogadivina says:

    Since I left home at 18, I have never allowed shoes in my house.
    My dad hates it. Says "I am acting holier than thou"… I say "my home is my temple"
    I never understand when people get ready to go, they put their shoes on and walk around.
    When I say "please dont walk with shoes on" , the response is almost always "But I am leaving"
    "Yes, but you are still IN my house."

  13. elephantjournal says:

    elephantjournal.com Whoops right link: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/03/whos-donat

    Brian Amende Where is the blog about your outside clothes on your bed where you sleep? 😉

    Adriana Cabanas great feeling to take your shoes off and stretch your toes 🙂

    Michael Myers Well, as long as there is a sink to wash the feet in and some miconazole spray, fresh sock, and a pair of slippers.

    Sabina Podjed The idea to wear shoes at home is very strange to me. Why bring all the dirt from the outside into your home? And why on earth can't you afford to be comfortable in your slippers or barefoot?

    Priscilla Paredes Wood Yes, we do it, I live in Vietnam and it just feels natural to take off your shoes please.

    Cliff Berns Shoes are left immediately inside the door here. I do wool slippers or even better when it's warm enough – barefoot!

    Zac Morris no shoes in the house… ever! we love being barefoot 🙂

  14. Tricia Ptak says:

    After working at a University hospital where I counseled patients bedside (and stepped in ??? that leaked on the floor) I have always taken my shoes off. While in India we learned that it is a custom to remove shoes at the door of a small shop to show a sign of respect for the owner. If you disallow shoes, your guests should be gracious and support your decision.

  15. boulderwind says:

    I like a no shoes rule in the house, but I need to wear orthotics most of the time except when practicing yoga barefoot, of course. Wearing orthotics when I walk, hike, etc has made a HUGE improvement in my yoga practice because I am no longer retightening areas that have been chronically misaligned since birth ( and yes I have done rolfing, etc. and the orthotics were on the advice of my rolfer and I resisted for a long time because I thought yoga alone would take care of those misalignments). I did draw the line at renting a bodywork office where they insisted that the clients also remove their shoes. Great if you only see Buddhist yogi clients, but I draw from a diverse base, so I thought the office mates would be a bit too neurotic for me.

  16. La Sirena says:

    I would welcome an article on how to deal with rude people (yes, it is rude) who refuse to take their footwear off before entering my house, even though they have been asked repeatedly, and told it is for health reasons.

    To the commenter whose husband refuses, despite her health problems, that is a red flag, and in the very least a huge lack of respect.

  17. […] Take off Your Shoes […]

  18. […] #8. Shoes. Take ‘em off. They track in pesticides—you know, poison—from your neighbor&#821… […]

  19. phyllis says:

    Since I am a Home Care RN, I have worked in homes that asked me to take off my shoes. I complied until I had to have Cortisone injected into my arches and stay out of work in pain for a week. After that, I insisted that I would wear very large socks covering my shoes. It was very interesting how much dirt those white socks would pick up. Since I now wear inserts with arch supports, I don’t have foot pain anymore.

  20. Robert says:

    Those are some of the coolest lyrics I've heard in a *long* time. What's the name of the song they come from?

  21. Robert says:

    Word. Just one more reason I love Asia.

  22. Besides removing shoes at home, Swedes take taking off shoes one step further: clinics and many other public service organizations have light, disposable, slip-on shields in their main entrances. So you either take off your outdoor shoes and slip into slippers. Or, you cover your shoe before entering the facility and leave the shields in a designated container at the exit. As a taxpayer, I think it's commendable, because it cuts cleaning costs and reduces wear-and-tear. Teeny-weeny downside: more than once I forgot my shields and ended up slipping and sliding when I stepped on icy sidewalks §;-D

  23. Edwin says:

    I stopped asking guest to remove their shoes after having a dinner party where one of my guest was a double amputee. Asking him to remove his shoes was essentially asking him to remove his prosthetics. I could tell just how uncomfortable he felt the entire evening being the only one with shoes on. It was at that moment that I realized I was participating in an exclusionary practice. I want a home that’s welcome to all.

  24. SwamiMike says:

    Taking one's shoes off before entering homes is common practice where I live in Eastern Canada.

  25. @retiti1 says:

    We take our shoes off after coming inside here- to do so outside leaves us open to frostbite, as we get to -40C in the winter.

  26. Moe says:

    I think you can say something like 'Hey I'm sorry but I'll move your shoes onto the shoe rack if you don't mind.' Also, try to be cool about it, I'm sure they will automatically do it next time. Don't label them rude, just stuck in their head; just like we all are at times.