In this post, I am sharing with your the many and simple reasons why we don’t wear shoes in our home – and haven’t for decades.
Even if you don’t know me well, you probably know that I grew up in Germany. I was deeply steeped in German culture – how could I not? Looking back, I think that my family was sooooo German in so many ways.
One of the things I remember from my childhood is that we always wore our “house slippers”. We call them “Hausschuhe” in German. And that’s serious business. At our front door, we left our outdoor shoes and slipped our feet into slippers.
Apparently, that’s the # 1 reason we define our German-ness: https://unorderedlistadventures.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-to-be-german-in-25-easy-steps.html
At times as kids, we had those that looked like socks with soft leather bottoms. Other times, my mom bought sheep skin and sewed slippers from that. Those were super cozy.
Over the years, I have owned so many different types of house slippers, I feel like I know them all. Maybe not exactly but you know what I mean.
These days, I strongly believe that walking barefoot is one of the best things one can do for their (foot) health. However, my biggest issue is that I tend to get cold feet. Especially in the winter. And living in a 1910 home that tends to be “foot cold”. So I do need something warm and cozy on my feet.
That’s where my slippers come in. I love my pair of felted wool slippers. They have lasted me for about a couple of years. And we’re talking about wearing them every single day. I can wear them without socks in the summer, with lightweight socks in the fall or spring, or heavy-weight wool socks for extra warmth in the winter.
In previous decades, I have also owned a pair of felted clogs with a sturdier sole. I think I owned them until I really couldn’t wear them any longer or have the sole glued back on by a shoemaker. In hindsight, I didn’t like the cork sole all that much. It was thick and not very flexible. Also, it’s louder when you walk around the house.
The pair I own now, has a thicker, felted sole that feels perfect. They came with some anti-skid dots. However, they have either worn or are dust-covered. Since they are made from 100% wool, my feet don’t get sweaty and stay fairly toasty in the winter.
And to me, wearing wool socks and felted slippers just adds a layer of coziness (or “hygge”).
I have even felted my own slippers. That means I have knitted a pair of “socks”, washed them in the washing machine to felt them, and pulled them into shape. I still need to play with the pattern so stay tuned for another blog post/tutorial on that!
Reasons why we don’t wear shoes in our home
Aside from my personal preferences, there are some other good reasons for not wearing street shoes in the house. Just think of all the dirt that is out there. No matter how hard you try to not step into poop or chewing gum, sometimes you just can’t avoid it. Or you just plain don’t know that you did. And then? You track all of that into your home.
Here’s an article that explains that even better: https://rare.us/rare-life/health/its-a-good-idea-to-take-your-shoes-off-in-the-house-because-they-drag-in-some-disgusting-stuff/
Or this article: https://www.uh.edu/magazine/2017-fall/making-an-impact/shoes-indoors.php
In many cultures, people take their shoes off at the front door. In Japan for example. They even have a different set of slippers for going into bathrooms. There are more countries in which people remove their shoes at the door: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tradition_of_removing_shoes_in_home
Whenever I damp mop our wood floors (and I don’t do that as often as I should), the wash water looks like coffee. Eeek! Think about all that dirt!
There are some more arguments for why don’t wear shoes in the house other than cleanliness.
One of the reasons, we like to take off our shoes at the door is that there is a transition. From the outside world to inside the home. There is something about coming home and being home. Our house is not just a house but a home. We like being here. We like making it a home. Taking our shoes off at the front door is about stepping inside our home. Just as much as I like to put on my apron when I am in the kitchen. And the slippers are a sign that we are home.
When we have guests over, we have some pairs of lighter slippers for them. Many just take off their shoes and walk around in socks. But the slippers are there for whoever likes them.