Why Do People Wear Shoes In The House? Is It Considered Rude?

Are you one of those people who get easily irritated or have some pet peeves regarding shoes inside the house? 

I can assure you that you are not the only one. Many cultures do not have the habit of wearing shoes inside the house. And these customs have existed for centuries, especially in Asian cultures, you are politely asked to leave your shoes by the entrance. 

However, most Western cultures prefer wearing shoes inside the house; neither are odd habits or something that guarantees respect or disrespect. Culturally, however, shoes inside the house may be frowned upon in some countries.

Countries like the United States, especially, have a habit of getting comfortable with their shoes. It is more like a lifestyle now instead of a mere habit. People usually walk in with their boots, mainly because American homes aren’t built, keeping in mind the need to take off their shoes at the entrance.

In certain cultures worldwide, stepping inside someone’s house might also be seen as disrespecting them. Mostly, these cultures are from countries situated in Asia and parts of Europe.   

Why Do White People Wear Shoes In The House?

White people are known for a lot of reasons around the world. Funnily enough, they are also known for leaving their shoes on even at home. I would say that it might be because their culture is different, but there are many other reasons too.

At first glance, you might be baffled by the habit and even find it rude; however, it is only a difference in customs. When you inquire a white person about this habit, you’ll learn that most of them don’t even think anything about wearing their shoes inside.

One reason could be that most western countries’ populations live in well-developed cities, with hardly any dirt or mud to watch out for. Also, most people commute to schools, hospitals, gyms, and colleges, which are generally quite clean for walking. Naturally, they believe the bottom of their shoes are clean enough to step inside the house. 

why do people wear shoes in the house
why do people wear shoes in the house

It is more of a matter of relative cleanliness regarding the city rather than any matter of disrespect. Another thing about white households is that they like to thoroughly vacuum rather than mop or sweep. This is also another reason why they do not have any issues with wearing shoes inside.

Unless their shoes are muddy, white people do not think much of shoes worn indoors since it doesn’t create any problems.

What Countries Generally Wear Shoes Inside The House And Which Countries Do Not?

A number of countries prefer not wearing shoes inside the house, while there are countries that prefer the opposite. This table lists a few countries and their preferences.

CountryWear Shoes Inside the House?
South AfricaNo

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Wearing Shoes Inside The House?

Depending on the place you live in or the customs you or someone else follows, there can be pros and cons of wearing shoes inside the house. Here are a few pros and cons that should help you get more clarity on the subject.


  1. Some people believe that wearing shoes inside serves as some sort of immunity against hunting your feet or toes. Wearing shoes inside is also suitable for people with back issues and Plantar Fasciitis . Wearing shoes inside will be beneficial for such people since that’ll help support the body posture.
  2. Not all households are very particular about cleanliness or hygiene. So if you belong to one of those houses or visit someplace like this, it is better to keep your shoes on. There are always a million bacteria on floors and stairs; to be safe, you better keep your shoes on before catching any infections.
  3. Wearing shoes inside is actually advised for the elderly- people who are 50 years and above have their feet padding thinning due to age. It is why they are more prone to hurting their feet and recommended wearing shoes more often.


  1. Wearing shoes almost 24×7 can be gross. Some people sweat more than others. As a result, there are more germs collected on the surface of their feet than anyone else. Also, it is essential to let your skin breathe; constantly wearing shoes causes an imbalance in that aspect.
  2. Outdoor places can be different kinds of gross. You never know what you are stepping on- it could be dog urine on the sidewalk or all the other microorganisms found at hospitals. Walking inside your house wearing the same shoes that stepped over god-knows-what is not a smart idea, especially if you have pets.
  3. Wearing shoes most of the time can be convenient, especially if you have to dash out the door; however, they are a cleanliness hazard. Shoes inside the house mean more dirt, more cleaning, and more energy and time. Leaving those dirty shoes at the door would save you a lot of cleaning time.

Why Do Americans Wear Shoes Inside The House?

There are many reasons that people may find wearing shoes inside the house more appealing. Here is a listicle of why Americans prefer to wear them indoors:

  1. Americans find wearing shoes inside very convenient and comfortable. It makes it easier for them to make a quick trip outdoors if needed.
  2. Taking shoes off in an American house is equal to saying that you are very comfortable with them. Often, people do not want to overstep their boundaries, and thus, they keep them on.
  3. For people struggling with posture issues or back problems, wearing shoes more often helps to improve their posture.
  4. Some people’s feet smell more than others. People often would rather keep their boots on to prevent others from realizing they have smelly feet.
  5. Wearing shoes is an excellent habit for people who are clumsy or more prone to accidents. Shoes will also provide more grip to break a fall.
  6. Often, it will be awkward for you to ask your guests to remove their shoes during hosting a party or dinner, considering it isn’t in their culture. 

Is It Rude To Wear Shoes In Someone’s House? Is It Rude To Ask Your Visitors To Remove Shoes?

Depending on the person’s culture and your closeness with them, it can be either rude or not to wear shoes in someone else’s house. 

If you aren’t sure about it, always ask the owner or your host. There is a chance that they may wish for you to leave your shoes at the entrance but do not want to trouble you. 

It is also not rude to ask someone to take off their shoes before entering your house. However, make sure that you are polite in your request and do not indicate that the other person is gross.

Is It Normal to Wear Shoes Inside the House? Can You Wear Shoes While Working from Home?

Depending on your culture or where you live, it can or cannot feel normal to wear shoes inside the house. However, it is primarily personal preference rather than anything else. Many people work from home, so as long as it doesn’t raise an issue or cause inconvenience to others, it is your choice!

How Do You Tell Someone to Take Their Shoes Off in The House?

If you are uncomfortable with someone wearing their shoes in your house, you should say something. Ask them politely and make them understand why you don’t prefer shoes inside your home. As long as you are not mocking or implying that they are gross, it will work out fine.

Do the British Wear Shoes Indoors? 

Unlike Americans, the British people are not all on one page regarding shoes inside the house. Many British people claim that they prefer not to wear outdoor shoes inside the house. At the same time, there is a section of British people who walk straight indoors without taking off their shoes.

Why Do the Chinese Wear Slippers Inside the House?

A lot of cultures, like the Chinese, prefer to keep separate sets of footwear for indoor use. They mostly keep slippers for washrooms and walk around the house, though they aren’t the only culture to do so.

TL;DR: Why Do People Wear Shoes in The House

Shoes inside the house have been a hot topic of debate since debates. Cultures who remove their shoes by the entrance despise those who do not follow this practice.

At the same time, there is a certain level of understanding between these cultures, and they adjust to accommodate whenever needed. Whatever different people prefer about their shoe habits, there will always be a group of people opposing it.

However, it is more of a personal preference and choice than a compulsion of any kind. People are better off deciding what is best for them and their house by themselves instead of others.


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Meet The Author: Henry

Hi, I'm Henry. I'm an interior decorator and I love turning people's homes into aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces. I love to take on a good DIY project, play with my daughter and spoil my wife.