Shoes off at the door is a pretty standard rule in many households. But what is the ‘taking shoes off in house’ etiquette when you are viewing a property or stopping at a friend’s for dinner?
Should you take your shoes off automatically in the hallway? If it’s your home, can and should you insist that guests take their shoes off at the door?
Taking shoes off in house etiquette
If you’ve ever watched Location, Location, Location you may have noticed that you never see Phil or Kirstie take their shoes off in a house. One Twitter user was brave enough to broach the taking shoes off in house etiquette question to the Queen of house viewings, Kirstie Allsopp.
The fan tweeted Kirstie saying: ‘Hi Kirstie, my other half wants to know why you don’t take your shoes off when you view other people’s homes? Don’t shoot the messenger!’
The presenter quickly replied to with her polite approach to whether you should take your shoes off at a house viewing.
‘Many people, including me, don’t take their shoes off when they enter a house. But if asked we definitely do. Just discussed with two colleagues, one did, one didn’t,’ the Love It Or List It presenter replied.
Kirstie’s reply set off a debate among her followers over whether you should automatically take your shoes off in a house or wait to be asked.
One user commented that she would always take her shoes off when visiting another home saying: ‘I am a shoe taker off-er. I don’t want dirt from outside walked through my house. A quick wipe on a rug doesn’t cut it. I will do it in other people’s homes and I request people do it in mine.’
Another Twitter user believed that visitors should be the ones to ask whether it is a shoes-off household, commenting: ‘I feel it is polite to always ask if you should take your shoes off. It isn’t up to the householder to tell you to.’
However, one estate agent commented on the post saying that he advises his clients selling their properties not to ask people to remove their shoes at house viewings, saying: ‘I’m with you Kirstie. I also try to advise vendor clients that potential buyers may feel uncomfortable if asked to remove their shoes.’
One house seller commented that she had gone so far as to provide shoe covers to avoid the taking shoes off in house etiquette issue altogether. ‘When we’d renovated a house a few years ago and it was up for sale, I provided a basket of shoe covers by each external doorway for viewings. It gave those viewing the choice re: shoes on/off, whilst ensuring the final purchaser ended up with shiny new carpets.‘
Unfortunately, the original Twitter user was not satisfied with Kirstie’s answer, replying: ‘My other half is a huge fan of the show but shouts at the screen “shoes” when you do the viewings, but this has not answered her question.’
So what is the final consensus on taking shoes off at a house viewing? Our advice on the issue would be to play it safe and always ask if you should take them off, vice versa if you are a homeowner with a shoes-off policy.
Where do you stand on the shoe on/off in the house debate?