We recently visited our former neighbors in their new home, and they asked us to take off our shoes. I felt funny taking off my shoes. Should I have refused to take off my shoes? Is this a new trend?
Shoes or No Shoes?
You couldn't really refuse since it's the host's wishes. Shoes off in the home are becoming more of a trend in the United States. It's not new for most other parts of the world. And, it's not just a "Japanese" tradition as most people think.
Hundreds of millions of people in other countries take off their shoes before entering their home. Also, in many countries, people do not have raised beds, but put down a mat or futon to sleep on the floor. When you think about it, it makes sense to be shoeless in your home. Your shoes have been everywhere, and they don't need to be tracking in dirt, chemicals, or other substances into your home. You'll notice how much cleaner your wood floors and carpet stay, too.
If you go back for another visit, you could bring a pair of socks or skid-resistant socks to wear if that would make you feel more comfortable. It would be nice if the host had some clean socks or slippers for guests to borrow, too.