Should You Wear Shoes in the House?

Welcome mat with shoes and FLAT SOCKS sockless shoe inserts

Wearing Shoes in the House

When a vampire shows up at a person’s house, they ask to be invited inside. When you go to a friend’s home, you ask, “Shoes on or shoes off?” Every homeowner has their own preference around wearing shoes in the house, but asking a guest to take theirs off can seem awkward or even rude.

Not everyone wants to trot around another person’s home shoeless, especially if you have notoriously sweaty socks or a foot odor problem. On the other hand, shoes can track in a lot of unwanted dirt and debris, including pathogens. Taking your shoes off in the house can make for a cleaner, healthier home while FLAT SOCKS sockless shoe inserts help keep your feet and your shoes dry and fresh.

Woman holding green sneakers with pink camo FLAT SOCKS inside

Should you take off your shoes in the house?

In many cultures, taking your shoes off before going inside is customary whether you are entering a home or a place of worship. Wearing shoes indoors can also be seen as disrespectful in some Asian, European, and Middle Eastern cultures.

According to a CBS News poll from May 2023, about two thirds of Americans take their shoes off in their own homes. Despite removing their own shoes, the majority of these homeowners still don’t ask guests to do the same. Asking people not to wear shoes in your house is not rude. It is a reasonable request.

The practice of taking shoes off inside is usually thought of as preventing mud or dirt from being tracked onto the carpet. There is also plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that not wearing shoes in the house is better than leaving them on.

Boy taking shoes off while sitting on stairs

The Benefits of Not Wearing Shoes Inside

By taking your shoes off at the door, you can avoid tracking in dirt and debris, which means less time spent cleaning your carpets, rugs, or floors. You’ll also decrease the chance that harmful toxins like road residue, pesticides, or lawn chemicals will enter your home.

One of the biggest risks of wearing shoes inside comes from disease carrying bacteria that cover the bottoms of our soles. Shoes are a common vehicle for major contaminants like E. coli and staph. A study by the University of Arizona reported that bacteria was detected on the outside of about 96 percent of shoes tested. The transfer rate of bacteria from shoe to tile floor was upwards of 99 percent.

Commonly found bacteria and pathogens on shoes include:

  • Escherichia coli, or E. coli, which is a common bacterium that can cause severe intestinal and urinary tract infections.
  • Klebsiella pneumonia, which can cause infection of the bloodstream and pneumonia.
  • Serratia ficaria, a rarer cause of respiratory tract infections.
  • Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, which is highly prevalent in urban settings and may cause infections.
  • Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, is also a common pathogen found on the shoes of healthcare and food service workers.

Child wearing shoes inside and tracking mud onto carpet

Germs tracked in on your shoes are only a problem if you come into direct contact with the bottom of the shoe or the floor that shoe just touched. While you might be safe, a toddler or child who crawls and plays on the floor is at increased exposure. Plus, bacteria and viruses can live for days or weeks, hiding in the carpet until being stirred up into the air for you to ingest or inhale.

Another study by Cambridge University also confirmed that shoe soles have been shown to transfer infectious microorganisms. However, cleaning floors and your shoes regularly can control and prevent transmission.

Why do people wear shoes in the house?

Despite the risks, there are some benefits to wearing shoes indoors. Embarrassing foot stench, hyperhidrosis, or pain when walking barefoot are a few reasons why people might want to wear shoes in your house. They might also have a physical condition that requires regular foot support.

Some people like to wear shoes without socks, so the thought of walking barefoot inside could make them uncomfortable. Wearing shoes indoors can prevent stubbing your toe and reduce your chance of slipping and falling.

Black and white FLAT SOCKS shoe inserts in yellow sneakers

If you’re scared to take your shoes off in someone’s home because your shoes stink or you don’t want to leave wet footprints on their kitchen floor, add FLAT SOCKS shoe inserts to your shoes. A moisture-wicking barrier and odor control technology helps keep your feet and your shoes fresh and dry. They’re easy to trim, fit easily into most shoes, and come in tons of classic colors and patterns to suit your style.

If you have a kid who hates wearing socks but need an easy way to go from shoes on to shoes off in the house, FLAT SOCKS Kids are the best socks for kids who hate socks. Ditch your socks for a natural, barefoot feel in your shoes, or wear FLAT SOCKS with your normal socks and feel more confident stepping outside of your shoes.

Tips on Removing Shoes Indoors

Before you kick your shoes off in your new neighbor’s doorway, always ask if they prefer shoes off in the house. Establishing your own no shoes in the house policy is easy, but some guests might not feel comfortable walking barefoot inside the house. With a little preparation, you can make guests feel welcome and keep your home healthy.

Here is how to get into the habit of taking your shoes off at home:

  • Store shoes by the doorway: Entryway storage for shoes such as a hall tree, shoe rack, or cubbies establish a clear space for people to leave their shoes.
  • Alert guests with a welcome mat: A welcome mat outside the entrance or just inside your mudroom that says “lose the shoes” or "cute shoes, take them off” lets everyone know your no shoes policy.
  • Keep slippers or house shoes in the home: Leave slippers or house shoes near the entryway so you can easily switch from your outside shoes. Keep a pair of FLAT SOCKS in your house shoes so you won’t have to worry about wearing socks inside, either.
  • Clean your shoes regularly: To get rid of germs on your shoes, clean them about once a month with a disinfectant that kills both bacteria and viruses. Regular cleaning also helps shoes last longer.
  • Vacuum floors weekly: Vacuuming picks up dust particles that pathogens may cling to while using a broom can stir those particles up into the air. Vacuum your floors at least once a week if you wear shoes in the house.
  • Tidy up after guests leave: Vacuuming, dusting, and lightly mopping the floors after party guests leave helps keep your house clean of tracked in dirt and germs.

Shoes strewn about an entryway shoe storage space

So, is it OK to wear shoes inside the house?

Taking shoes off before going inside shows respect for someone’s home and keeps floors clean of dirt, chemicals, and germs. Use no show FLAT SOCKS in your shoes to help prevent embarrassing foot sweat or shoe stank, then enjoy the freedom of going barefoot in your own home by leaving your kicks and your worries at the door.

White loafers sitting by door with grey FLAT SOCKS inside


Backus, F. (2023, May 23). Most Americans are “shoes off” at home — CBS News poll. CBS News.

Study reveals high bacteria levels on footwear. (2008).

Alam, M. J., Anu, A., Walk, S. T., & Garey, K. W. (2014). Investigation of potentially pathogenic Clostridium difficile contamination in household environs. Anaerobe, 27, 31–33.

T. Rashid and others, Shoe soles as a potential vector for pathogen transmission: a systematic review, Journal of Applied Microbiology, Volume 121, Issue 5, 1 November 2016, Pages 1223–1231,

Rashid, T., Vonville, H., Hasan, I., & Garey, K. (2017). Mechanisms for floor surfaces or environmental ground contamination to cause human infection: A systematic review. Epidemiology & Infection, 145(2), 347-357. doi:10.1017/S0950268816002193

Roland, J. (2020, August 24). Should You Be Taking Off Your Shoes Before You Go Indoors? (D. Sullivan, PH.D. MSN, Ed.). Healthline.