removing shoes/fairly long/but it's me

linda_intennesseeJanuary 10, 2003

I do not even know what forum this was on....but it was here somewhere...the discussion about removing shoes at someones house....well, i wrote something....maybe someone will remember....anyway, I was contacted from the wall street journal.....can you believe they even read our forums.....anyway here is what was written...thought you might be interested....and I am in it !!!


The Home Front

The Shoeless Party --- To Guests' Chagrin, Hosts Try Stocking-Feet Fetes;

Passing Out the Booties

By Lauren Lipton

1,304 words

10 January 2003

The Wall Street Journal



(Copyright (c) 2003, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

MARLEY MAJCHER has been to a lot of interesting dinner parties. But even she

was caught by surprise when a host greeted her and her husband at the door

-- with a basket of slippers.

"What if I hadn't gotten a pedicure?" the 33-year-old from Pasadena, Calif.,

remembers thinking when her friend asked her to remove her shoes before

coming in. Her second thought: "What do Marc's socks look like?"

Nice to see you -- now give us your shoes. In the latest battle of wills

between hosts and guests, some homeowners are confiscating visitors'

footwear at the door. While no one keeps statistics on shoe-free homes,

retailers have certainly noticed: Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Smith &

Hawken have introduced shoe-storage benches designed for the entryway, while

sales of those disposable booties surgeons wear are also up -- to

homeowners. And in a first, the next edition of Emily Post's Etiquette will

address the propriety of asking guests to air out their feet.

Proponents say the shoes-off rule is comfier, not to mention more sanitary

and easier on the floors. And it's only getting more prevalent as Americans

buy new homes -- with new carpets -- in record numbers. But the shoes-on

camp is gearing up for a fight. Going barefoot, they argue, is chilly,

hazardous (watch out for that table leg!) and potentially embarrassing. "Why

not ask me to remove my bra and pantyhose?" says Alexa Gallagher, an ad

saleswoman who spends shoes-off gatherings outside, smoking, with other


Kimberly Swanson says it blew her party outfit -- on Halloween. The Boulder,

Colo., teacher was dressed as a pregnant scuba diver when her hostess asked

her to take off her swim fins. "It wasn't funny anymore," says Ms. Swanson.

(Hostess Ekaterina Kenney's take: "Once we were all boogieing, I don't think

anyone cared about their costumes.")

When did hosts start getting hung up about the state of visitors' soles?

Even a few years ago, most people wouldn't have dreamed of asking guests to

remove anything more intimate than their coats. But the shoe-free say

exposure to other cultural customs -- through travel or, for many, marriage

-- convinced them to adopt the practice. Then there's the growing concern

about tracking in mysterious stuff like garden pesticides or lead-paint

dust. Even the government's Healthy Homes program recommends removing

outdoor footwear inside.

The stocking-feet phenomenon has worked its way to the fanciest parties. In

Denver, one fund-raising group has been hosting an annual black-tie

"Barefoot Ball" since 2000. And when Washington philanthropist Jaci Wilson

Reid threw a barefoot cocktail benefit at her home in East Hampton, N.Y.,

last summer, at least half of her guests reportedly shed their stilettos.

(It was an unexpected icebreaker, says guest Dini von Mueffling. "We were

all looking at each other's feet, pointing out defects.")

But the biggest motivation of all may be far less high-minded: Many

homeowners just want to keep the rug clean. Americans are buying new homes

in record numbers -- more than a million projected for 2002 alone. The year

before, they spent $46.5 billion on flooring, says the World Floor Covering

Association, up 19% in three years. The most popular carpet color? Beige.

Retailers have rushed in to the rescue, selling quick fixes like chic straw

slippers ($10 at and muddy-boot trays ($29 at Martha Stewart).

It's good business for sign makers: Oregon's Northwest Stone Wise, which

supplies engraved rocks to 150 gift and garden stores, says its "Kindly

Remove Your Shoes" rock is No. 1 out of its 400-plus stock slogans. At $52,

it outpaces "Welcome to My Home" 10 to 1.

Other outfits have cashed in unintentionally, like California furniture

maker Berkeley Mills, which says its $3,450 blanket chests are now being

used to hold guests' shoes. Courtesy Service Products, meanwhile, markets

its shoe covers to real-estate agents and repairmen, but makes nearly all of

its Internet sales to homeowners -- about 20% of whom pass them out to

guests. "I'm totally amazed," says president Martin Held, who recently

supplied 150 pairs of turquoise booties for a Minnesota housewarming.

Of course, Illinois oncologist Steve Cullinan remembers his first and last

bootie party, a big affair in which the host, another doctor, had his young

sons distribute surgical slip-ons at the door. "They said, `Hi, Mom and Dad

want you to wear these,'" says Dr. Cullinan. Though he wouldn't ask it of

his own guests, he says he dutifully put them on. "What are you going to do,

turn around and leave?"

Linda Roberts of Knoxville, Tenn., wanted to. After breaking her little toe

five times in her home, she thought she was done going barefoot -- until she

took her son to see her ex-husband and his wife, who have a no-shoes policy.

"Boy, she was giving me looks," says Ms. Roberts. So to avoid a scene, she

shed her shoes, sat down in the kitchen -- and didn't budge.

Indeed, etiquette gurus say compliance is about the only option for guests.

"You do what they want," says Shawna Schuh, a business consultant in Gaston,

Ore. "And then you question whether you'll ever visit again." Experts debate

whether it's appropriate to impose shoelessness in the first place. Most say

it depends on the party (business functions, no; good friends, better).

Hosts can get away with religious or cultural reasons, they say, but

finickiness is questionable. "How do you tell someone your new carpet is

more important than they are?" says Ms. Schuh.

That's why at least one host finally decided to relax. Terri Nelson and her

husband used to make guests go shoeless to spare their cream carpet. But

somebody dropped a cocktail-sauce-covered shrimp on it anyway. "Stuff

happens," she says. "Even when people take off their shoes."


Barefoot Boutique

Shoes-off hosting has spawned its own cottage industry. Here are

products for barefoot bashes, plus other floor-saving options:

Product: Arts & Crafts chest;

Comment: California furniture maker created its $3,450 blanket chests

for stowing quilts, but it estimates about half of buyers now get them

to store shoes in the entryway.

Product: Shoe covers;

Comment: Company markets surgery-style booties to real-estate agents,

but says homeowners are buying now, too. One Minnesota hostess ordered

150 pairs, dubbing her event a "Blue-footed booby" party.

Product: Toes and Tattoos pedicure kit;

Comment: Now guests can go barefoot for a reason: Group pedicure!

Specially packaged for parties, this $15 kit includes polish, toe

separators and temporary tattoos for four.

Product: Corduroy house slippers;

Comment: Site suggests keeping several loaner pairs of unisex

rubber-soled slippers (colors: navy, black, brown) for guests.

Product: CarpetSaver runner;

Comment: Pekin, Ill., etiquette expert Robin Thompson votes for

shoes-on parties, and advocates putting doormats inside and out. Still

not enough? This washable terrycloth runner can be cut to fit the

length of the entryway.

Product: Resolve Spot Magic carpet cleaner; Available at supermarkets

Comment: This spray promises instant stain removal with no scrubbing.

(There's also a foam version for larger areas.) After trying it on wine

spills and pet messes, our testers say: It really works.

Product: `Kindly Remove Your Shoes' entryway rock;

Comment: Company sells rocks (no kidding) engraved with messages, and

this one's the top seller of its 400-plus stock slogans. (No. 2: "What

If the Hokey Pokey Is What It's All About?")

Document j000000020030110dz1a00028

2003 Dow Jones Reuters Business Interactive LLC (trading as Factiva). All

rights reserved.

Lauren Lipton

The Wall Street Journal

(212) 416-3134

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Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

There used to be a japanese restaurant in Atlanta many years ago that made you shed your foot wear at the door. It was a novelty then. We would eat there when we were in town for a play or some other such event.

We were in Charleston a few years back doing the plantation tour fund raiser. It was pouring down rain when we went to one beautiful place. I can't remember the name now but it had a golf course. We had to take off our shoes at the door and don those hospital type things.
I totally understood. The mud and water would have ruined their floors and carpets.

Once in Russia I laughed because we were touring a palace there and we had to put shoe covers on. The shoe covers were squares of carpet pulled up by two corners and a piece of elastic holding it together. I remember thinking then that it was a good idea but wished they knew about the hospital shoe covers. I also wondered why they didn't do a similar thing at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg to protect those beautiful old floors.

In private homes,I suppose "when in Rome" would be the thing to do.

Just think what a whole new world of opportunities for yet another shopping trip it would bring if it became the norm to take off one's shoes before entering someone's home.
You'd have to have a pedicure at least every 2 weeks and you certainly wouldn't want to wear those tacky little shoe or foot covers or anything that someone else had put on their feet. The very thought of catching a fungus or some other such thing would be enough to drive one to drink.

There would be a rush to design little shoes and foot covers of every color and material.
Fabric would have to be imported from all over the world.
There would be a scramble of designers to come up with the best the quickest. Milan would probably devote a whole show to shoe covers alone.

Television commercials would have to be made showcasing beautiful feet wearing the very latest from Paris in shoe and foot covers.

Oh! My! God! we would then have to make yet another decision. Which shoe covers to take to wear with the dress.
I can't think about this today. "I'll think about it tomorrow y'all" she says as she presses the back of her hand to her forhead and sighs.

No wonder the Wall Street Journal was so interested.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2003 at 10:05AM
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