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No Shoes Inside, Please

Boulder, Colorado

December 1, 2020

I wasn't raised to take my shoes off before I came into my house. Seems strange to bring up a time that was 50 years ago for me but those things you learn -- or don't learn -- as a kid tend to become habits -- good ones and bad ones.

In two places I have stayed this year, my host requested no shoes in the abode. I respected their requests but never really thought about why they have that rule.

In reading Jonathan Haidt's book, The Happiness Hypothesis, he describes how when he spent time in India he learned to remove his shoes when entering a home. He explains that it is a way to separate your home from the outside world, to treat your home as an oasis from the dirt and grim you would bring in from the outside.

That really resonated with me. In a way, it is making your home a Zen space.

If you need more reasons, in a study by shoe company Rockport, they found that frequent contact with "fecal material" (most likely thanks to your trips to public restrooms) means shoes harbor a host of nasty bacteria, including E. coli. Yuck.

If I ever have a home again, I think I'll adopt this approach.

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