Taking off shoes indoors

54 posts in this topic

Hi!

 

I'm moving to Munich next week and of course thoughts about that fills my mind right now.

One question that I haven't found the answer to on-line is whether you're supposed to take your shoes of when entering someone's home.

I'm from Sweden so I always take my shoes of when entering someone's home (at least when I'm in Sweden) but what is the correct thing to do when in Germany? Is it different in different parts of Germany? Does it differ if it's snow outside etc..

Please save me from embarrassing myself!

 

Any advice?

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you could start by looking outside of the door if there are shoes already there.

 

You can then look at the feet of the person answering the door

 

finally ask, or just start to take yours off if you are still unsure :)

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I normally take them off unless the people tell me that I can or should keep them on. It is also a good idea to look the feet of the people who live in the house. If they are wearing outdoor shoes in the house, assume that you can to. If they are not wearing shoes, then take yours off.

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Off, that's what I do here, but sometimes they will tell you its ok to keep them on. Living in Hamburg it rains more oft then not so its the only sensible thing to do?

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Usually if a german wants you to take your shoes off they will tell you. In my experience it usually with a nonchalant attitude like " Hey glad you could make it . Come in come in. You can put your shoes there etc ..."

 

So no need to worry.

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Although the amount of shoes in my flat would suggest otherwise, I'm a shoe off kinda gal.

And truly despise slippers.

Horrid, horrid things. I just can't. Ever.

 

But yes, when invited in, you'll usually be told. If not, either ask or take the lead from the host.

Unless for me personally it means slippers.

*shudder*

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Many,like us, provide house shoes for you to wear.

 

I always say, for the sake of the party, stinky feet? If so keep those puppies on.

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I'm with you Katrina. It's no problem to ask people to take off their shoes, but what is with the obsession of covering feet at all times? I know that parkett floors are much more common here, but I've never found them particularly cold - even in the middle of winter. And bare feet or socks don't make any more noise than hausschuhe.

 

I just don't get it.. I'm from NZ - I spent my whole childhood running round in bare feet, and then later wearing only jandals until it's really too cold. Feet are one of my least favourite body parts, but I don't get the strange custom of hausschuhe, especially for guests.

 

OP, if you're not sure - just ask. But in my experience, most of the time it's shoes off so that's not a bad assumption to make unless told otherwise either.

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I hate house shoes, too. I know that in Russia they believe you're liable to catch a mortal disease if you're feet get more than slightly cool, so that the insistence there is intended to be for your own good. Don't know what it is in Germany, but I find those who offer them are always a little astonished that you might be happy walking in socks...

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I automatically go to take mine off, I usually find they'll say 'oh it's fine, you can leave your shoes on' if they don't mind. Though it's no big deal if you just ask if you should take them off.

@Katrina and Imnop: I agree, either shoes or bare feet. Every time I go to MILs she always insists on me borrowing some tatty slip-on wedges (!) that used to be her daughters cos she knows I always come with no socks on and she's always fussing about saying how I'll catch cold going bare feet. Catch cold through my feet? I don't think so. Who says cool floors are unpleasant anyway? I find it feels rather nice, I've always gone bare feet. If it's an issue of having my bare feet touch their floors being abit disgusting for them then fair enough, but don't try telling me I'll catch a cold, that's just rubbish.

However, I have to say eriklj, of all the things to worry about when coming to Germany, this one is a weird one :)

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It's not just the Germans. I once met an Italian girl who was horrified that we (several Australians) would walk around our own house without slippers. She then asked: "But of course you wash your feet before you go to bed, right?" Erm, no.

 

I think the Swedes have a good policy towards bare-footedness - if you don't need 'em, take 'em off.

 

EDIT: particularly after being in the army and seeing many cases of moudly feet that have been covered up for too long, I'm all for a little airing.

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I think it's up to each up to the individual person in their own home, how tidy they are and the rules they establish. It's okay to ask and they will tell you how things are done in their home. My experience was that if the shoes are clean and there was no rain that day then outdoor shoes are allowed to be worn in the front hallway and into the kitchen area of the ground floor. The Hausschuhe are located at the bottom of the staircase going to the carpeted sleeping areas to be worn by family members only. No guest shoes were available, which was fine with me. It seems weird to me to wear communal footwear, sort of like renting shoes in a bowling alley. A lot of people have feet with undiagnosed skin and nail fungi, etc. If it's socks only, then make sure your socks are nice, no thin spots or holes.

 

A question: if someone knows they are going to a gathering/dinner party at someone's house and they will be there for several hours do they ever bring their own slippers? Would this even be an appropriate thing to do? Or would it be taken as an insult? Just wondering what the general etiquette might be on that...

 

Lisa

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we're some of the least, erm, *conventionally* organized people in the country, and even we have a shoe rack next to the door.

 

It's been my experience that if the shoe rack is right inside the door or even right outside it, it's a good indication that you're supposed to take your shoes off.

 

Although, more or less every German household I've been to in Berlin has been shoes off--so, not sure what shoes-on people do with their shoes. I think they put them in fancy cupboards in the bedroom or something.

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Many,like us, provide house shoes for you to wear.

 

You're not Asian are you? Or used to live in Asia? ;-)

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Amazinhg, 17 posts (including mine) and counting on a thread about shoe removal protocol.

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Yes, lived in Asia but had shoe off policy years before when we bought a brand new house in Pennsylvania. The kids had friends running in and out all day.

 

As for here, I don't want what is on the sidewalks in Munich on my floors. Yuck.

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When we were buying useful things half of Ikea for our flat, I suggested buying a bunch of their 2€ house shoes. My German was very willing until I told him I'd only said it to try and fit in and be a good German.

 

I get told I'll die the gruesome death of cold feet if I don't wear my slippers (or words to that effect), but if I do put them on then I'm not allowed to put my feet up on the sofa. I can't win!!!

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