We are coming off of a week or so tiling project – with more to come.
In many countries like Japan, Korea and Turkey it is considered a major faux pas to walk through a house with shoes on. In some schools in Sweden, children are even required to remove their shoes.
In Japan, removing shoes has also a very practical matter. Traditionally, the floors in Japanese dwellings were covered with tatami mats which are used to sit on and to sleep on instead of chairs and beds. Wearing shoes into the house would bring the mud, dirt, dust and bacteria into the house and you would sit and sleep in all that. Even if the pavement technology has pretty much improved and hard flooring is quite common in Japanese houses nowadays, the tradition of taking off shoes remains.
Generally, we could say that from a cultural point of view, it is considered a mark of respect if guests remove their shoes while entering someone’s home. On the other hand some are uncomfortable and others consider it rude to be asked to remove their shoes (holes in your socks amigo?).
We love how the new tile is coming out. It is the same tile as you all helped pick out for the bedroom at the La Punta Es Casa by the way. Pictures to follow after the grout dries a bit.
The main reason for removing shoes is health
“In the 15th century one was not allowed to enter a room without taking off shoes in Holland. One can only imagine the human and animal sewage that one would walk through out in the world at that time, so removing shoes would be a precaution against illness-causing bacteria”. (Annie B. Bond)
Since municipal sewage systems took hold and cars and trains did supersede animal transportation, we could say that the original health reasons behind removing shoes fell away.
But new studies show that while we may no longer be tracking in as much bacteria on our shoes, we are tracking in dangerous pollutants. Therefore it may be time to return to the practices of the 15th century to protect the health of our homes. In her article about this topic, the Health Home Expert Annie B. Bond, lists up many examples that should convince people to take off their shoes at home.
Pesticides, toxic coal tar, lead etc. are tracked into homes on shoes. Taking off shoes at the door is even more important if you have carpets, which are “sink hole(s) for toxins of all kinds” that are brought into the home on shoes and boots “including pollens, lead, pesticides and more”. Furthermore, infants and young children spend most of the time on the floor (not in all cultures!) and are much closer to the floor, put toys that have been on the floor into their mouth etc. “With their growing central nervous systems and developing immune systems, toxic chemicals can be especially damaging”. The same applies to pets who are also vulnerable to exposure because commonly lying on the floor or carpet.
Here at the beach sandals or bare feet are the typical footwear making shoe removal a breeze.We are leaning towards mild enforcement and total compliance by us. So what is your take on this question.