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Shoeless In The House

Everyone has a pair. Just admit it. You know that one pair of really comfortable shoes you go walking in or just kicking around in at the grocery store. You can most often find these shoes tossed off near the back door, in the garage or the mudroom.

Mudroom is the modern term used by millennials who install fancy benches, brass hooks and cubbies near the inside doors of their homes. We just used to call it the space by the back door. It usually included a plastic rug piled high with an assortment of wet boots and muddy shoes.

It’s nothing new to remove your shoes before entering a house. Growing up, we were required to do so to keep the freshly waxed kitchen floor and the newly swept hardwoods clean. The real test was getting the dogs to adhere to the clean floor regulations.

However, the dawning of carved out mudroom spaces has led to no-shoes-in-the-house becoming an art form. It is more common to leave your shoes at the door in American homes than it once was. Other cultures have done so for centuries. They respected the science of not tracking dirt into a home or damaging floors with their shoes.

A study by the University of Arizona revealed that there are more than 421,000 different bacteria on the soles of our shoes. You don’t really want to know what they include, especially if you are reading this while enjoying your breakfast. Let’s just say, leaving our shoes at the door keeps a lot of germs and disease from coming inside with us.

It provides kids a more sanitary place to play and for babies learning to crawl across the carpet.

It’s commonplace for carpet cleaners and other inside-your-house workers to don plastic or paper booties to cover their shoes. Even some realtors provide such temporary footwear when showing houses to potential buyers.

Maybe we should carry shoe coverings with us much like we became accustomed to wearing masks.

But going shoeless inside doesn’t mean you can’t cover your feet. It’s a good time to show off your fancy socks or slippers. My aunt used to crochet us slippers all the time and they came in handy on those cold floors in the winter.

Foot specialists have varying views on going barefoot. Some claim it’s healthy to walk barefoot inside or in the grass.

But older people may benefit from wearing shoes to prevent falls and other unforeseen injuries.

We all know the dangers of naked feet outdoors. Bee stings, broken glass and sharp surfaces are just some of the hazards that await us.

You only have to experience one of these accidents to run for your comfy shoes.

And if you’re like me, those shoes are right where I left them – by the door.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligecer.net.

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