Shoes or no shoes?

18th November 2019

Do you take your shoes off in the house?  Do you ask visitors to do the same?

In many countries, it’s common practice to remove your shoes when entering a house.  The reason is obvious – to keep floors clean.  And now that many of our homes are decorated in light colours, it makes even more sense.

In countries like Canada which has a lot of snow and rain (as well as beautiful summers!) even workmen remove their shoes on entering.  They will then either put on internal shoes or the blue plastic foot covers you see at swimming pools.

We have a lot of rain in Ireland and our summers are certainly not as good.  Why then is it acceptable to enter someone’s home in wet, mucky shoes in Ireland?  Yes, I know it might be a throwback to when we were mainly a farming community, but that day has long gone!

Is it embarrassment?

Because it is not common practice in Ireland, some people are embarrassed when you ask them to remove their shoes.  They may have holes in their socks, they may be worried about their feet, or just uncomfortable without shoes.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that some method of preventing dirt coming into the home is required.  And it’s not just about dirty footprints!

The soles of your shoes could carry diarrhea causing bacteria!

A Study in 2017 by the University of Houston, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Translational Research found 26.4% of shoe soles tested positive for C. difficile.  C. diff. is found in the soil and so easily transfers to shoes.  Those with low immunity are most susceptible to this bacteria, which can cause fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The study also found 24% of doormats tested positive for C. difficile.  So the importance of the doormat in stopping this bacteria at the door, preventing it coming into the home, cannot be underestimated.

Or the soles may have faecal matter!

Another study by Dr Gerba, University of Arizona found that 96% of shoes had faecal material on the soles.  Worse than that they found the transfer rate of bacteria from shoes to clean tiles was 90% to 99%!  Time for a door mat!

It is true that bacteria are all around us and in fact exposure to bacteria is important for our immunity, but we also need to reduce the level of harmful bacteria we are exposed to.

You may want to go all out and insist your guests take off their shoes.  As a minimum, however, a well-designed door mat is essential.  This means one which is high quality and can effectively remove dirt from shoe soles.  It should be machine washable and ideally non-slip.

Of course, we would say if you are using a doormat, why not get one which complements your floor and your overall house design.  Personalise it for added effect.  Talk to us or email us on info@underfootdesigns.ie to discuss your options.

Christmas photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com