### Shoes off at the door: The growing trend driven by hygiene concerns
Shoes on or off indoors? It’s a long-running debate, and those in favor of removal appear to be winning, thanks to a greater awareness of germs. British and American etiquette takes the lead from Asian and Scandinavian culture as guests at dinner gatherings and house parties are increasingly leaving their shoes at the door.
#### Younger generation driving the change
Experts attribute the change to younger people being increasingly conscious of germs. Gabriel Filippelli, a professor of earth sciences at Indiana University, notes that he first encountered this trend with his son and his girlfriend, who have a no-shoes policy at home. Filippelli believes the change is inspired by an increased awareness of the unsanitary nature of the bottom of shoes. This trend has also been observed among friends’ children. Filippelli now operates a strict shoes-off-at-the-door policy in his own home.
#### Justification for the trend
There is certainly some justification for leaving shoes at the door, particularly in cities. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, explains that shoes can track in a variety of contaminants, including fecal bacteria, E. coli, petrochemicals, oils, and lubricants. One study found that 95% of people’s shoes had fecal bacteria on the bottom, with a third containing E. coli. Gerba emphasizes that people may unknowingly be walking on dog droppings.
#### A more pleasant and intimate atmosphere
Those who have experienced parties where shoes are left at the door often report a more pleasant and intimate atmosphere. Ben, who attended two parties in Hackney, London, where guests were in their socks, describes the experience as pleasant and notes that it made people feel more at home speaking to each other. The removal of shoes helps create a sense of informality and breaks down barriers, allowing for more genuine interactions.
#### Changing behaviors and a global influence
Behaviors are changing, and experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened people’s awareness of germs. Filippelli suggests that exposure to different cultures through social media has also played a role. In many Asian cultures, it is considered disrespectful to walk inside someone’s home with shoes on. Young people today are being exposed to this global view, influencing their own attitudes towards leaving shoes at the door.
#### The fashion perspective
From a fashion perspective, leaving shoes at the door can be an opportunity to showcase different looks. Fashion blogger Leandra Medine Cohen recommends outfits such as baggy trousers, miniskirts, or shorts with tights that work better without footwear. Medine Cohen, who hosted a dinner party with New York’s fashion elite, believes that whether guests have to take their shoes off is now often a consideration when being invited to an event at someone’s home.
#### A fashion power move
Medine Cohen also points out that leaving shoes behind is not just about hygiene or comfort but can make a fashion statement. She mentions that red socks, which have become a fashion power move, were worn by all the guests at her dinner party. The trend of leaving shoes at the door has even made its way into the world of podcasts, with guests on the popular men’s style podcast “Throwing Fits” casually mentioning being barefoot during their fit checks.
As the trend of leaving shoes at the door continues to gain momentum, it appears that hygiene concerns and a desire for a more intimate and comfortable atmosphere are driving the change. Whether it’s for health reasons, fashion preferences, or cultural influences, the practice of removing shoes indoors is becoming increasingly common. So, the next time you’re getting ready for a dinner party, don’t forget to ask yourself: does this outfit look good with my socks?
Original Story at www.theguardian.com – 2024-02-10 12:14:00