It is quite interesting to see how, depending on the culture, there are two groups of people in this world. Ones that do not take off their shoes when entering the home, and the ones that require you to take them off at the door. In the USA, it’s quite common to walk around the house in the same sneakers you were using to walk around the city or go to work and back, while in most parts of Asia and (less commonly Europe) it’s completely unacceptable. There are more than a few strongly convincing and scientifically backed up reasons why the east side of the world might be right about this one. In case you weren’t a no-shoe indoors kind of person, here are some that might change your mind.
The danger of wearing shoes at home doesn’t stop at bringing in the bacteria and spreading it all over your home. Chemically it goes a little bit beyond that. Shoes can also carry chemical toxins of a different kind, which can eventually pollute the air in your home. A Baylor University did a study on chemical toxins in pavement and had shown that not only is there a strong correlation between coal-tar-sealed pavement and increased risk of developing cancer, but these PAH chemicals (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ) are easily transported from the outside into our home and settle on objects as part of household dust.
Harmful Viruses and Bacteria
Stop for a moment to think about where you have been today. Where did you go on foot, and how many different surfaces you came across. Can you even imagine what you could step into or pick up on your shoes? As mentioned above, there are scientific proofs for what it is you are bringing to your home along with your shoes. The experts from Healthy Sole suggest that shoes are usually the unsuspecting place by which microorganisms can crawl into your home. The places that are particularly susceptible to the spread of bacteria and viruses are hospitals and medical centers. It’s, of course, impossible to leave your shoes out of the hospital, so there are technologies available to sanitize them before entering the facilities.
As mentioned already many times, shoes spend most of our day on our feet, walking through dirty environments. Even before we knew anything about the science of bacteria, the cultures that were used to take off shoes in the house have understood that by doing so, they prevent dirt from getting in their homes. But let’s get to more statistics.
As crazy as it might sound, the bottom of your shoes contain a lot more bacteria than an average toilet seat. Yes, you have read that correctly. According to many studies, it was found that the average toilet seat has about 1,000 bacteria, while the shoe soles host millions! Speaking of toilets, have we mentioned feces and the bacteria present in it? Surely nobody would like the idea of all of it being spread all over your floor at home. Perhaps having at least doormats with some of the efficient disinfectants sprayed regularly on them can significantly contribute to maintaining healthy feet as much as possible, and even better, leaving the shoes at the door too, until using them again.
Leaving your shoes at the door when coming into the house is not only good for you and your family’s health and home but comfort as well. Not all shoes are fully ergonomically designed, and even wearing the most comfortable pair of shoes you own for too long can seriously affect the entire structure of your foot and lower leg. In case you have a medical reason that requires you to keep your feet supported at all times, you might find that orthotic slippers can be a great choice. Otherwise, it’s the best advice to give your feet space and air they need to relax after a long day being trapped in shoes. Walking barefoot, at home, in particular, is known to have positive effects on exercising dormant muscles in the feet and legs and help to improve blood flow.
Although it’s not a common practice among many cultures, leaving your shoes at the door has many benefits. From maintaining your foot health and keeping the overall cleanliness level of your home to keeping your family safe from harmful bacteria and viruses, shoes really should be left outside of your home. However, if this is not the option, do your best to clean them as much as you can or use other preventative sources.