To Remove Your Shoes or Not?
In many other countries, it’s an expectation that you remove your shoes when entering another person’s home, for hygiene purposes as well as a sense of tradition. There are sometimes socks or slippers provided to offer the most comfort. Therefore, it is very understandable for international students and visitors to ask: Should I remove my shoes when entering an American’s home? The short answer is, just ask your host what they prefer!
Perspective of an American:
In general, whether you remove your shoes or not depends on where in the United States you live and what the season is. I grew up in the South and we never removed our shoes when at home, unless it had rained. If you’re in Massachusetts and it’s been snowing or raining, it makes sense for you to take off your shoes when you enter your house or someone else’s. It never occurred to me to take off my shoes for a reason other than the weather until I had a roommate from Taiwan. Now it’s second nature to me, and I usually ask my friends to take off their shoes if they are staying awhile. I make exceptions if I’m having a get-together with a large number of people, because there is no space for everyone’s shoes. Also, I know people’s outfits might not be complete without their shoes (in addition, if my guests didn’t know the expectation ahead of time, I hesitate to ask in case they feel embarrassed if they might have socks with holes or mismatching socks). However, if someone feels strongly about visitors removing their shoes, they can easily let their visitors know ahead of time so they can be prepared. ~Dana