Hearth and sole: Should you ask guests to remove their shoes?

January 22, 2018

It is the custom in many nations—Japan, Germany, Switzerland—to remove one’s shoes before entering your own home or any other person’s residence. However, while most Americans (74%%) remove their footwear, either always, most of the time, or sometimes when they arrive home, poll results released by YouGov on January 17 find that they don’t necessarily expect visitors to do so.

In fact, 50% of the 6,422 U.S. adults polled in early January said they never ask visitors to take off their shoes at the front door.

Specifically, the latest results show that nearly one-third of Americans (31%) will “always” take off their shoes at home and others follow suit “most of the time” (26%), ”sometimes” (18%), or “rarely” (12%).

Geographically, 92% of people living in the Midwest say that they take off their shoes, compared to the Northeast (88%), West (86%), and South (83%).

Sorting the data by age reveals that older Millennials (ages 25-34) and those ages 35-44 report highest rates of shoe removal—at 90% and 89% respectively. The latter group also leads the nation in saying they always remove their shoes at home (40% compared to 31%).

Conversely, only 10% will “always” request their guests remove their shoes—although slightly more say they ask less frequently: either “most of the time” (11%), “sometimes” (13%), or “rarely” (13%).

Slightly more men (52%) than women (49%) say they ask visitors to take off their shoes sometimes. People living in the South are the most likely to say they never ask visitors take off their shoes (58%). Those in the Midwest (61%) and Northeast (57%) are the most likely of the four regions to say they would at least sometimes ask guests to remove their shoes.

The poll also suggests that requesting guests to take off their shoes may be a generational matter. Those 55 and older (64%) are 14 percentage points more likely than the general public (50%) to say they would never ask their guests do so.

Research contact: Hoang.Nguyen@YouGov.com

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