Is It OK to Ask Guests to Take Off Their Shoes? 3 Experts Weigh In
You work hard to keep your home tidy, free of germs, and sparkling clean for all to enjoy. And sure, you’re happy to share your space, have neighbors pop over, and you’re even willing to host a cocktail hour or two. However, when it comes to footwear you draw a hard line: No shoes in the house.
But, is it rude to ask guests to take off their shoes before entering your home? Here’s what the experts have to say.
Ask Alice: It’s totally OK to ask guests to take off their shoes, just be ready.
According to Apartment Therapy’s etiquette expert Alice it’s completely reasonable to ask guests to take off their shoes.
“Maintaining a no-shoes apartment is important to you—I imagine it's about a sense of cleanliness and protection over your domain (which you mentioned you have invested time and money into shampooing). I get it,” Alice wrote, explaining it’s key to have a response at the ready.
“For each situation, I'd say some variation of, ‘Sorry to be a stickler, but you know how I am about shoes in the house.’ Or: ‘When I come to your place, I promise to follow all the rules!; Or: ‘If that makes me uptight, then what can I say! But it just really bugs me.’ Or: ‘I just really don't like shoes in the house, thank you.’”
Jodi R.R. Smith, Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting: No, never ask your guests to take off their shoes.
According to etiquette expert Jodi R.R. Smith, it’s only OK to ask guests to remove outerwear like jackets and boots.
"It is the height of tacky to invite guests to your home and then require that they remove anything more than outdoor attire," Jodi R.R. Smith of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, told the Associated Press. "It is one thing to ask me to leave my L.L. Bean boots at the door for a Super Bowl party held during a snowstorm in New England. It is another to ask me to remove my heels at a cocktail party where everyone is dressed in suits and dresses."
WATCH: Things You’re Doing That You Don’t Realize Are Rude
Architectural Digest: Yes, it’s OK, but warn your guests ahead of time.
In response to a reader inquiry, the experts at Architectural Digest said yes, it’s totally fine to ask guests to remove their shoes, but it may be best to warn guests before they even come over.
“That means either a note on the bottom of a formal invite (e.g., ‘Please plan to remove your shoes before coming inside’) or a quick verbal or email reminder that ‘We have this weird thing about outside shoes in the house, so don’t forget to wear matching socks!’ That way your friends can plan their outfits (and their hosiery) accordingly,” the magazine wrote.
Sure, these are all great pieces of advice, but at the end of the day, it’s still totally up to you depending on what you’re comfortable with. After all, it is your house, so you do, in fact, get to make the rules. Just maybe have a few extra pairs of socks handy for any unexpected visitors.