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Party Shoes Welcome Here

Friday, 24 October 2014 | Tags: , , ,

Dust off your cocktail attire because party season is just around the corner. And that probably means you'll either be having guests over or be a guest yourself. The question is, what are you going to do about your feet?

That is, are you going to make your guests remove their shoes? It is a hotly contested matter. And I for one stand firmly in the shoes on camp. I speak from experience.

Years ago I was invited to the home of a very important executive for very fancy cocktails with some very stylish people. I  was young and not worldly. Upon entering I automatically removed my shoes. Isn’t that the polite thing to do? I think it’s also a Canadian thing to do. As I stood in the living room I felt small. And that’s because I was. A good three inches smaller than I was five minutes ago. I looked down at my bare feet (it was summer), with my weirdly long toes and month old pedicure and felt positively naked. Everyone else had their nice shoes on (including Mr. & Mrs Important. They were American.) I wish I’d had the courage to sneak back to the front door to find my pumps.

There is plenty of research that says wearing shoes indoors leads to an unhealthy home. That shoes track in toxins, E-coli and all sorts of other nastiness. But let’s be clear: other people’s sweaty feet isn’t sanitary either. And I’m not talking about wearing shoes inside all the time, but just for entertaining. Get a doormat. I highly doubt any of your guests ran through a barnyard on their way to your house.

No-shoes-inside people also fear damage to their floors and carpets. While I get the desire to keep a home pristine, scuffs happen over time and are a sign of a life well lived. Your friends likely are not hooligans out to wreck your house and will wipe their feet at the door. If you aren’t ready for a few scratches then don’t have a party.

When given the choice, I guarantee you most people prefer to keep shoes on. Most men like to feel taller and a lot of people make an effort with their outfit and stocking or bare feet wasn’t part of the plan. People feel exposed and less put together without shoes, even if everyone’s in the same boat.

Alas, as a guest one should plan accordingly. Touch up that pedicure and wear nice socks just in case your host forces you to comply with a no shoe policy. And keep in mind it’s also cultural. In Asia it is a sign of respect to remove one’s shoes before entering someone’s home. I generally take my cue from my host. If she is wearing shoes when she answers the door, then I’m in the clear. If she isn’t, I offer to remove them. But I don’t think she should make me.

As a host, I am always in shoes and I have specific styles for entertaining in. Luxe flats are perfect. Or a small heel but nothing super high if I’m cooking. No boots.

Personally, I’m more concerned with the state of the bathroom after a party just in case any men in attendance might have had poor aim. But that’s just me.

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  • suzybel

    Unless your shoes are covered in nasties, mud or snow, leave the shoes on. I also carry a pair of “inside” dressy flats to put on if I need to.