taking off shoes

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Ruzete, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. Polednikova

    Polednikova Well-Known Member

    After three months in Prague, I have got used to taking my shoes off but I have to say that it would be thought bizarre in England. Of course, we wipe our feet on a door mat before entering someone's house but no-one would ever take their shoes off in someone else's home.

    Remember, most houses still have fitted carpets - in sensible, practical colours which don't show the dirt. And anyway, we have vacuum cleaners.

    Most people in the UK would feel embarassed at walking round without their shoes on and as for wearing slippers that someone else has worn, they certainly wouldn't like that at all!

    I've got visitors from the UK here in Prague next week. My view is that a host should make their guests feel comfortable and if that means having shoes in the house because they would feel awkward,, then I certainly don't mind at all.
  2. In Australia, we often walk around in bare feet inside because it is too hot to wear foot wear normally :D
    Because our children are running inside and out so much too, people's soles of their feet may turn out even dirtier than the soles of their shoes :wink:
    My mother in law's house in Brno has shoes/slippers inside the "porch", but I couldnt wear slippers that someone else had been wearing. She was so lovely to supply me with brand new slippers on my first journey to CZ, and of course I accepted. But, as has been noted here by others, I got the "you dont have to wear them and you dont have to take your shoes off". I didnt know what to do after that. What I did do was to make sure my shoes were really clean before entering the porch area, and if everyone else had their shoes off then I did the same! :?
    We are moving into our own home in Brno very soon and we have decided because the wooden floors are both new and unmarked that we will follow this tradition and offer new slippers to all our guests. If they do not want to use the slippers then I will ask them to remove their shoes at the door. :) Am looking forward to seeing the reaction :D
  3. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    That has also been a problem in my home/ intercultural marriage. I have fond memories of running around all summer long barefoot as a child, in and out of the house. Now my kids do it and my Czech husband just cringes. He says, "Look at their feet on our floors" The worse is when they sit on the couch and try to put their feet up on the couch. :x

    I ask him, "What is there to do, expect them to always where shoes outside?" He looks at me like I'm crazy and says "Yes, of course!" Well of course I don't make them always wear shoes outside so it was a never ending circle of discussions throughout the summer. My solution this summer is to keep a container of baby wipes and a small garbage by the door as ask the children to wash their feet as they come into the house. But I know it won't happen due to the children's rushing in and out. Then my husband will move from complaining to me about the issue to yelling at them for not washing their feet! :roll:

    I guess it will be an uphill battle the rest of our lives. When the kids grow older, the grandchildren will do the same. Perhaps someone out there has another solution.
  4. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Yep! My Ukrainian wife is the same about keeping shoes on outside. It hasn't been that big a deal with us, although sometimes it's a little frustrating for me. I grew up in Texas, where we had Saint Augustine grass, which is really coarse, plus fire ants. So even though we loved to go barefoot, we at least had good reason to stay in our shoes. Up here in NY, however, the grass is much softer and no stinging ants, so I see no reason why the kids shouldn't go barefoot when they want. Yes, getting them to clean their feet is a challenge, but at least we have hardwood floors. Maybe this year, we'll have them hose off their feet on the back porch before coming in.
  5. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    I always walk bare feet at home without taking temperaure into consideration :wink:.
    Not strange feeling for me. I have no slippers at all and I can’t stand wearing somebody else’s slippers.
    Well, this is still my common practise. And I’m not a child anymore :wink:.
    Taking off shoes in houses is a Czech custom, but I don’t think it is the same for wearing shoes outside. Call me a country bumpkin, but I think this is rather an urban custom.

    In summer I see no reason to wear shoes when going for newspaper in mailbox, or when going into garden for parsley...
    ...and no sharp tall fescue nor stinging nettle nor red ants (What kind of ants are fire ants? I never heard about.) nor hornets living in our garden can’t scare me :wink:.

    Summa summarum, your posts make me sometimes wonder either I’m a real Czech :twisted:.
  6. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

  7. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    I don't either, but my husband and his whole family will slip on shoes as they head out the door. They always make sure they have these type of summer shoes that your bare feet slip right in and out of. It's that way with all his Czech friends as well.

    Maybe not! :)
  8. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Ukrainian... that makes me curious. I remember you listing the languages you speak and I don't recall Ukrainian as one of them. Why would you learn all those languages and not your wife's language?

    You can simply answer "None of your business" if you want. :lol: Or my husband's favorite phrase, "What are you a cop?" :)
  9. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Ugh, they are really nasty. Our forest ants seems be bigger, but they are quite friendly (no piperidine, only formic acid).

    Well, but what else? :D Maybe an American, my friends tell me often I must wear an underwear with stars and stripes when hearing my political opinions :twisted:. But I never left Europe…

    Possibly she is native of Russian. A lot of Ukrainians speak Russian.
  10. Wow, what a spin on such a simple topic :D I have really enjoyed reading all your comments :) and having a giggle too!
    Talking about the customs regarding footwear: could you bear with me whilst I put a little extra query in here????
    I have noted that my hubby, his dad and many other gents I have met in Brno, wear socks with their sandals during the summer months. (For that matter, my mother in law does as well)
    In Australia, men used to wear socks with sandals many many years ago (say 30+) but not anymore. Too hot, and too much extra laundry for us over here :eek:
    I think the older British males still wear socks with sandals during summer too?
    It was just a small surprise to see this custom in Brno, and I presumed it was because the people are wanting to keep their feet clean? :?
    After seeing this in Brno, I realised why my hubby kept wearing socks with his sandals in Australia :D You can take the man out of Brno but you cannot take Brno out of the man! :roll:
  11. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Socks in sandals? What do you think about this forum :D?
    We didn't ignore such an important topic :twisted:. This thread, unfortunately mostly in Czech.
  12. Thanks for pointing out the thread Wer :shock: :D I didnt think it was such a topical subject but, as soon as I learn how to read Czech (hic), I will definitely go there to try and find out the secret as to why some wear socks with sandals 8) (still) :roll: PS: I just hope my husband doesnt log onto this website :lol: (he would just crack up :) )
  13. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    Wer nailed it. About 1/2 of Ukrainians (among them my wife and my Ukrainian officemate) are native Russian speakers.

    So, ... are you? :D
  14. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    According to my husband I am. 8)
  15. Karkulka

    Karkulka Active Member

    Hello guys, I am new here, but the topic of shoes on/off made me to register and post :D I am Czech, living in Belgium with my Spanish husband. Really mix of cultures.

    At home, I made my husband to take the shoes off, though he drives me insane every day, when he returns from work, walks IN THE SHOES up to the bedroom :twisted: and there he takes them off! Grrr! Also he hates to wear slippers or anything "normal" (from Czech point of view) at home. In the end, he wears shoes at home, but they are his "home" shoes and he does not use them for going out. At least, acceptable compromise :)

    In Spain, his family finds it absolutely insane, that somebody would actually want to remove their shoes in the flat. Everyone wears shoes in and out, they don´t take them off. When I visited them in Madrid, it was hot.. my feet were burning in my shoes, so first thing I did was to kick the shoes off once I could.. but parents of my hubby found it shocking. Because, they say, it is only the Arabs who go barefeet at home.. (of course, no slippers available).

    Most of Belgians here also wear shoes at home, they don´t change at doors. Even little children when they go to school or kindergarten, are wearing their shoes all day long.. what a hell it must be for the little feet!
  16. dzurisova

    dzurisova Well-Known Member

    Children here also wear shoes all day at school. Most Kindergarten is usually 1/2 day but there are some whole day kindergartens and the children only take off their shoes during nap time which in only about 1 hour.
  17. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Before I begin on the subject, I want to stress that when the streets are muddy, outdoor shoes should come off everywhere on the planet. Not doing so is simply crass. Now, that I made that point, I must say that I hate this petit bourgeois custom of removing shoes just because my hosts worship their clean floor. What point is there in putting on a smart dress if you end up in someone's disintegrating slippers? It rather spoils the silhouette, doesn't it? So I cheat. I bring with me a pair of smart pumps that I change into at the door. My hosts assume that they are my special indoor shoes (not true) and everybody is happy.

    I also urge my guests to keep on their shoes and I really mean it. I don't obsess about my carpets and vacuuming the area where the guests had walked takes about 10 minutes tops. You may think me wrong but millions of French, British, Belgians, Italians, Portugese or Spaniards cannot be all wrong, can they?

    I also invite you to perform a little test. Next time the streets are dry, wipe your shoes on the doormat when you come in and then run your palm over the sole of your shoes. Chances are, that your palm will emerge perfectly clean. (This doesn't apply to sneakers which tend to accumulate dirt.)
  18. Ink4u2

    Ink4u2 Active Member

    Wow! What a fascinating last few pages of postings I've just finished reading! So many of you, from cultures all over the world, with such strong views of whether or not to wear shoes in the house or socks or slippers! I'm an American, yes, and proud to be one!...Many have a low opinion of us and unfairly so! Such propoganda you should not listen to! I want to speak for my countrymen (and women) when I say that taking your shoes off in American is widely varied throughout the country and there is no wrong or right of it here...it all depends on the host/hostess you are visiting! Many here will say, "let me remove my shoes and leave them by the front door." If the host or hostess appreciates that they say, "Why THANK YOU!" then some others that you go to visit will say, "Don't be silly! Leave them on! I'm not that worried about you being so unclean as to make you take them off!" So then you leave your shoes on! Either way it can be the the choice of the home owner, and their choice to decide what being hospitable means! Americans do not have shoe issues for the most part, I dare say. We can be as polite and respectful as any of the rest of you in others cultures. No one culture/country has the "corner on the market" when it comes to being the most polite or least respectful. There are those who are, and those who aren't in every land...Please do not judge the average American by the decisions our government makes...that would be unfair and unrealistic by any society's standards!

  19. Ctyri koruny

    Ctyri koruny Well-Known Member

    I always walk around my own home barefoot, but if someone came into my house and took off their shoes I would find it incredibly rude!
    Their feet could be smelly! Or ugly!

    I would only take off my shoes in the house of a very very close friend, if I also knew her family very well, and I would ask permission first, and if everyone else was wearing shoes I would not ask at all.
  20. kibicz

    kibicz Well-Known Member

    2Ink4u2: "Please do not judge the average American by the decisions our government makes" - we dont because if we did, wy should already commited suicide.. manytimes...

    2Čtyři kačky: "Their feet could be smelly!" - no wonder while they walk whole day in one pair of shoes! ;-)

    btw: what do you find ruder: blow your nose or sniff around all day long?

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