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raenborn

Your kitchen hardwood floors: shoes off or shoes on? I want to know!

raenborn
4 years ago

I've read a lot here about hardwood vs tile for kitchen floors but there's one thing I'm still curious about: do the people who love their hardwood floors also typically have "shoes off" houses?

I have two kids and our kitchen opens directly onto the deck and garden. I'm not sure I would want to enforce a strict "shoes off" rule. Does this disqualify us from having a wood floor?

Comments (54)

  • lucky998877
    4 years ago

    I'm a shoe police, everyone in my house stops to do that ;)

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    I think you have to use both your head and WALK off rugs , at exterior entry points. Hardwoods are routinely walked on with shoes. Stones caught in your heavy track sneakers are best left behind. No matter the surface.

    raenborn thanked JAN MOYER
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  • wilson853
    4 years ago

    I have had hardwood floors in my kitchens since 1986. We are generally a shoes off house, but I also have clean shoes that I only wear in the house. My kids were trained to remove shoes because outside shoes carry more than sand and rocks. We would never make guests remove shoes when we entertain. In 25 years, these floors have only been refinished once, and really didn't need it, but we went darker and added more hardwood in the remodel. Just make sure that you get a wood that scores high on the janka scale. Tile styles seem to change fairly quickly so if you are planning to stay for the long haul, I would go with hardwood.

    raenborn thanked wilson853
  • Robin Morris
    4 years ago

    We are shoes off for sure. I also plan on our Ipe deck being shoes off since it is a just extension of our house IMO.

    raenborn thanked Robin Morris
  • johnsoro25
    4 years ago
    We are both- the first floor is shoes on or shoes off. Whatever is comfortable. Second floor is shoes off. My first floor is entirely hardwood and the little scuffs and dings are definitely not from shoes but normal kid (and adult!) wear and tear. They still look great after 5 plus years.
    I will say, the first few months after the floors were finished I was neurotic about keeping them perfect. Then my dog and kids made me realize they are just floors. They will acquire character, like the rest of the house.
    raenborn thanked johnsoro25
  • carladr
    4 years ago

    We are a shoes-off household as well but there are some exceptions i.e. walking to/from the kitchen to take out the trash.

    raenborn thanked carladr
  • Toronto Veterinarian
    4 years ago

    Absolutely no "shoes off" policy in my home - it's totally up to the person, including guests. (Well, I don't have hardwood in my current kitchen, but I used to.) I am a bare foot person by choice - I go without shoes as often as I possibly can - but I don't mind what others do. I don't expect my flooring to look unblemished after the day it arrives, and if it can't be cleaned, it will become a happy memory of my life. I also don't expect my guests to go without shoes that they may need or want for their health or comfort.

    I've been asked to remove my shoes and put on (provided) slippers when I've gone to someone's house for a social gathering, and I've always been offended.....to me, it indicated that they valued their floor more than my being there. (The exception is a shiva, when I've been asked to remove my shoes for religious reasons, which I respect, and on business visits, when I'm a necessary interloper rather than an invited guest.)

  • gella81
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Hardwood floors throughout. We don't wear outdoor shoes inside, but change into indoor slippers / flip flops / canvas shoes. At the same time, we don't make guests take off their shoes if we host a gathering, but rather plan on cleaning the floors afterwards. If friends stop by for an informal visit, they normally leave their shoes by the door without being asked. And we do keep a stash of disposable slippers (like the ones used in hotels in spas) in the foyer to offer guests.

    raenborn thanked gella81
  • queenvictorian
    4 years ago

    I grew up in a shoes-on household with hardwood floors throughout. In 20 years since the floors went in, there are some wear spots in the kitchen around the sink, stove, and kitchen table chairs, but that's just wear on the finish, not damage to the floor itself.


    It'll be fine. Worst case, you refinish the floors ever so slightly more often than you would if you were strictly no-shoes, and that's only if you find the wear bothersome.

    raenborn thanked queenvictorian
  • herbflavor
    4 years ago

    shoes on, and we have a wooded lot....outdoor footwear almost 100% are on our feet. Have a small broom/dustpan in a utility spot CLOSE by...sweep often. Wipe feet upon entering home and make sure floor has at least average or above average coating: use mats in strategic spots [I shake them often]….and don't worry.... but don't pick flooring species or stain or other features that will stress you. Wood floors are the best.

    raenborn thanked herbflavor
  • leelee
    4 years ago

    I love my hardwood kitchen floors and always wear shoes. We do not remove our shoes when we enter the house. I like that my floors flow from dining to kitchen to den all the same wood.

    Floors still look great.

    raenborn thanked leelee
  • Robin Morris
    4 years ago

    Toronto Veterinarian, for me and a lot of others it is a cleanliness thing not a keeping my floors nice thing. It is healthier and safer to take your shoes off.

    https://www.lifehack.org/317735/scientists-discover-why-you-should-take-off-your-shoes-before-entering-your-home

    I would be offended that you value keeping your shoes on over the cleanliness/safely of my home.

  • badgergal
    4 years ago

    Hardwood floors in kitchen, dining area that has sliding glass doors to deck, back hall with entrance from garage, foyer and walkways around the great room area. Shoes on all the time in my house. We do have rugs at the entrances, in front of sink cabinet and in the back hallway. Sure the floors have some scratches in them but overall they look great. I have 2 grandkids and 2 grand dogs that are over all the time. Two weeks ago I had a party with 35 people. I would never ask guests to take off their shoes. My floors 30 years old but were refinished 8 years ago when we remodeled our kitchen. I would not want tile in my kitchen. Here's a shot of my floors. They are natural ash. The patio door not shown is to the right. It leads to a deck backyard and pool. That entrance gets tons of use.

    raenborn thanked badgergal
  • lucky998877
    4 years ago

    Robin, I'm with you. I like clean! I grew up in a culture where entering the house with shoes would be considered as an insult. I think that an easy rule is to follow what the host/hostess does.

  • ninigret
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    we've always been shoes off. children learn what they need to learn, and it turns out that just like they learn to put on pants before they go out the door, they learn to take shoes off when they come in. lets hear it for velcro.


    our powder room was off the foyer, all tiled, they didnt have to take off their shoes to use the toilet.


    now that we're all adults, i leave it completely up to their discretion. i never ask guests to remove their shoes but i also dont think they just came in from the swingset nor that they trod in doggydo without realizing it. i take off my outside shoes and put on my indoor sneakers. i need the support, but i dont need the grit.

  • Helen
    4 years ago

    Shoes off in a kitchen are hazardous in my opinion. I would never enforce a shoes off policy. If you don't want street shoes, then have people put on house shoes or slippers.


    It is not uncommon for people to take off their shoes when it is rainy or snowy but most people I know don't make people take off their shoes normally - isn't that why one has welcome mats and rugs in the foyer?

  • K Laurence
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Hardwood throughout our house, although we often change our shoes once when we’re Inside, we generally wear shoes of some sort since my orthopedic surgeon told me “ no flats, no flip flops & no bare feet, even inside the house !” it was the cause of spinal & foot pain. It is important to have support, so if I wear sandals at least a 1” or more heel recommended. I keep a rug in entryways from outside.

    And I would NEVER ask a guest to remove their shoes!

  • Nidnay
    4 years ago
    Agree with robinlmorris.....it’s a cleanliness thing. It’s not unkind to your guests that you prefer they remove the footwear that has walked through the doggie park, hospital, filthy city streets, public restrooms, or a thousand other places. I think removing one’s shoes when entering someone else’s home is a respectful and considerate thing to do and shows you understand that others might not appreciate Fido’s invisible stomach contents being dispersed throughout your home and onto your flooring (be it wood,carpet or otherwise). Even thinking about my own activities, when I go out in my yard to fill our bird feeders....there is bird poo under them....I certainly don’t want to drag all that back into my house by leaving my shoes on.
  • Fori
    4 years ago

    The question is, "do shoes ruin hardwood floors enough to not put hardwood floor in a kitchen with kid traffic?".

    No, but put a big waterhog type mat in front of the door to catch most of the grit. It makes a difference.

    raenborn thanked Fori
  • Mona
    4 years ago

    We are a shoes off home and have a mix of hardwood and carpet. I do wear slippers in the winter. I don't make guests take off their shoes.

    raenborn thanked Mona
  • lisa_a
    4 years ago

    You probably don't realize it, raenborn, but you may have poked a hornet's nest with this question. = ) It's been a number of years now but I've seen some really nasty, knock down, drag out threads on the shoes on or off topic. Hopefully this thread won't go down the rabbit hole.


    My mom grew up in a shoes off house. They had farm shoes and street shoes but none of them were worn inside. I didn't grow up on a dairy farm like my mom but even so, I grew up in a shoes off house. My kids did, too. And now that they live on their own, they continue to leave their shoes at the door. It's habit.


    But we also have our reasons for being a shoes off house. The house stays cleaner (I hate housework), carpets last longer and most outdoor allergens stay on the rugs at the entry points (I take lots of allergy meds, I need all the help I can get to battle these nasties). btw, my allergist and my doctor both recommend leaving shoes at the door for health reasons. Add in that we have a number of gravel paths and shoes with treads that are really good at picking up and carrying tiny, sharp edged rocks along for the ride - not kind to hardwood floors - and it makes sense for us to be a shoes off house.


    But that's how my family and I choose to live. It's not for me to tell others how to live in their home or judge them because of their choices. Honestly, I rarely give this much thought and I abide by whatever the rule of the house is when I visit friends and family.


    PS My DH's family used to tease me because I carried slippers with me when I visited them. After getting my toes stepped on too many times - easy to do when a small ranch home is filled with 35+ family members - I stopped doing that and wore my shoes in the house like everyone else. I have to say that it felt very weird at first, lol.

    raenborn thanked lisa_a
  • Robin Morris
    4 years ago



    Toronto Veterinarian, please do no not visit the bay area or make any friends here. It is a cultural thing to remove your shoes here. Everyone I know makes you take off your shoes when either their home. It is rude not to abide by people's house rules/culture when you are a guest. SF, although I love it, is pretty dirty and it doesn't rain here for about 6-7 months straight. This fact combined with the Japanese influence is why I believe it is so common for people to remove their shoes here.

    I grew up in the east in a house that wore shoes, and it always grossed me out that people would sit and play on the floor that they walked on with the same shoes they would wear to school or stores, so it was a cultural thing I was very happy to adopt (along with crab for Thanksgiving)

    Btw, I have house shoes my mom wears when she visits since she has foot issue. But my feet hurt way less since I stopped wearing as often.

  • heatheron40
    4 years ago

    We have wood floors throughout house, marble floors in kitchen! The marble is softer than wood, very fine scratches are developing from MIL's walker after 2 years. I vaccuum everyday and we are shoes on. I would guess with shoes on refinish 5 years sooner. Our floors are 20 years old. I anticipate buffing and reapplying poly in 5 or so. Just kids, a couple of indoor/outdoor cats. No dogs.

    Oh yea, wood floors are heart pine, pretty soft....

    raenborn thanked heatheron40
  • Helen
    4 years ago
    If you want people to take off shoes you should supply them with suitable indoor shoes since many people don’t walk around barefoot especially when they are not in their home.

    Also many women have shoes that are part of their outfits. If you have a party do you have everyone walking around without shoes
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 years ago

    How about everyone just do as they please in their own home regarding floors and carpet? I can tell you right now, that BARE feet are the worst for your carpets. Yes...... the sweaty bare feet that harm nothing.......but leave behind a wonderful residue that collects gunge and soil, just like a lab laying next to your bed.

    The world is full of germs. I've been in homes where someone was obsessed with the CLEAN FLOOR.. Two weeks running with no soap in the powder room, and a guest towel shared by whomever shall enter.

    Let the dog lie : ) Wash your hands. Get over the neurosis of germs ( San Fran excepted) . Kids used to play in dirt. They used to even eat it. Nobody seemed to die from that. Now we have kids who don't even GO outside, they are sick every other week. Pick your poison, its your house, and your floor. I enter my own with shoes, I wash my hands. .......I don't eat from the floor. I haven't had a cold in thirty months. lol

  • Rita / Bring Back Sophie 4 Real
    4 years ago

    I live on the SF Peninsula and we are a shoes on household. My friends in the city itself are all shoes on households as well. I do what my hosts ask. Personally, I find households where people walk bare footed unappealing to say the least.


  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Worse are the folks who never bleach their white socks................? I've seen plenty of socks that make me worry about a lot of the REST. : ( Spare me? hahahha really spare me. Keep your shoes on..........

  • partim
    4 years ago

    When I read these threads I am so happy that my house has a lot of tile, and no hardwood. We originally made that choice to accommodate my son's wheelchair. Unlike shoes, wheelchairs can't be removed. So even in Toronto's dirty winter weather, you give the wheels a bit of a wipe to get the worst of the slush off, and they're all over your house.

    We never got any nasty bacterial diseases from the grit and grunge that the wheelchair tracked in. Sometimes I wonder how people deal with actually being outdoors, since they are so worried about tracking the dirty outdoors inside.

    raenborn thanked partim
  • jmm1837
    4 years ago

    We're a pretty relaxed family when it comes to shoes in the house. We do have "house shoes" because our kitchen is tiled, which is not great for aging backs and feet. The house shoes go on in the morning, but if we go out, we often keep our street shoes on when we get home. Door mats and a couple of rugs in our entry hall take care of most problems (and protect the wood floors under them). I'm not too concerned about bacteria - washing hands properly before cooking and eating eliminates a lot of the risk, as does cleaning one's shoes regularly. Obviously, given our laid-back attitude, I'm not about to ask guests to remove their shoes.

    raenborn thanked jmm1837
  • raenborn
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thanks so much, everyone. Your comments are really helpful. Yes, lisa_a, I did forget my question might draw responses about indoor shoes in general! That very personal decision is definitely interesting to me as someone who grew up in a family with one custom and married into a family with another but you are right I am focused more on the specific question of my kitchen floor material right now.


    From what everyone has said, I now feel more confident about giving wood floors a try. It sounds like common sense cleanliness, a good door mat, and a sense of perspective will see us through!

  • jmm1837
    4 years ago

    I could add one more thing, if I might: our current house, as I mentioned, does have tile in the kitchen, but our previous one had wood throughout. I'd go back to wood in the kitchen in a heart beat. Much easier on the old bones, and after ten years, they still looked good. And while there were no kids around, there was a large dog. Mats, rugs, wipe your feet before you come in, and you're good to go IMHO.

    raenborn thanked jmm1837
  • sherri1058
    4 years ago

    We are generally a shoes off house, but I was really happy that I was wearing shoes when I dropped a dish that shattered into a million pieces all around me.

    raenborn thanked sherri1058
  • redoredone
    4 years ago

    We do not remove our shoes, nor do our guests. We have hardwood throughout our house and love it in every room, including the kitchen. My previous home had hardwood in the kitchen and we loved it for the 27 years we were there.

    raenborn thanked redoredone
  • Brandee Taylor
    4 years ago

    hardwood floors are easy to clean so we don't mind shoes being on. Also i find that if you have all natural wood floors all the dents add to the character.

    raenborn thanked Brandee Taylor
  • vinmarks
    4 years ago

    We have hardwoods throughout our main floor including kitchen. We are shoes off but I would never expect a guest to remove their shoes unless they are family. We do wear slippers in the house.

    raenborn thanked vinmarks
  • Rebecca
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Hardwood, carpet, tile or Lino.... here in Western Canada EVERYONE takes their shoes/boots off when entering a home. Granted, it’s the way I grew up so it seems normal, but I always wondered WHY anyone would traipse into a home with shoes on? Dirt, dog poop, who knows what, tramped into a home? Why?

  • grapefruit1_ar
    4 years ago

    Our hardwood floors ( white ash) are now 32 years old. You enter our front door right onto the wood ( rug is there) . The hardwood is in the kitchen, too. The only time we remove shoes is if they are snowy or muddy, etc. I do not find the thought of people's shoes being gross. I can easily wash my floors. HOWEVER , I am more grossed out by people sitting on the upholstered furniture. Where have they been sitting previously....bus, taxi, subway, office chair, park bench, doctor's office, school, etc.? I cannot easily wash the sofa when they leave. Do you curl up on the sofa ? I guess we should ask our guests to remove their pants. :)

    raenborn thanked grapefruit1_ar
  • groveraxle
    4 years ago

    FWIW, the only ones who go "shoes off" on my wood floors are the dogs.

  • Louise McCarthy
    4 years ago

    I seriously don't care. I dont wear shoes around my house. Because I am lazy. If I go out I generally do put something on my feet. Now that it is getting cooler I will wear my (brand new, arriving tomorrow!) UGGS. Yes, I know they are ugly and bad for your feet but I saved up for them. My last pair fell apart more than twelve months ago. And, no, I would never ask anyone to remove their shoes. I raised seven kids, who grew into big adults, they all played sports and brought home plenty of germs. We all survived. Shoes on or off really doesn't make any odds. (I raised my kids in the Bay Area and am very familiar with the shoes off routine. Of course I would always respect the home owners request as would my children).

  • Jora
    4 years ago

    I grew up with shoes on inside the house. My family never understood why I took mine off when I came in. Now that I own my own house my husband and I never wear our 'outside' shoes in! Purely for the fact that we prefer not to track outside germs inside our house.

    We don't however, ever, tell a guest to take their shoes off. If they ask what we prefer, we tell them whatever they prefer (we always plan on cleaning up after guests leave regardless, so it's not an issue).

  • Nick
    4 years ago
    I would separate the two issues. We have hardwood floors throughout the house and it would never occur to me that they can't take everyday urban footwear (I.e. shoes, but not boots or cleats, etc.). My daughter and I wear shoes in the house; my son and wiffe don't. Some guests do, some don't. That is down to personal preference rather than anything to do with the type of flooring.
    raenborn thanked Nick
  • baileysr
    4 years ago
    Shoes on in our house, if you want them on. The wood floor in our kitchen and first floor is 6 years old and looks fine.
    raenborn thanked baileysr
  • patriceny
    4 years ago

    Hardwood throughout my entire first floor, including the kitchen and all entry areas.

    Residents don't wear shoes in the house. Human residents, nor furry ones. :)

    Visitors are not given any rules upon arrival. :) Most people see you walking around in bare feet, or socks, or slippers, and immediately move to take off their shoes. Depending upon who they are and why they are there, I often tell them don't bother. For instance, if it's the HVAC guy and he's going to work in the cellar, I couldn't care less if he keeps his shoes on.

    As someone noted upthread, the nice thing about hardwood is that it does clean up very easily. I prefer the residents keep shoes off the floor b/c it does keep the floors cleaner, but there is no way I would ever make a guest remove their shoes.

    As far as damage - most of the damage to my floor comes from the toenails of the 20 pound furry lunatics who share my home. Yes I keep them short - no lectures on appropriate dog nail procedures please! They are young and love to run and play - nails dig in on cornering no matter how short they are. :)

    However there has been some damage from people in shoes who had rocks stuck in the treads. Most of it from the early days when the house was under construction because sadly my GC was an inconsiderate moron regarding things like this.

    TL:DR. It's hardwood. It dents. I do what I can to keep the dents to a minimum but don't stay up at night about it either.

    raenborn thanked patriceny
  • pink_peony
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Wood only in every single area of this house. Although I would prefer that shoes were never worn in my home due to my neat freak tendency , the reality is that never ever ever has happened in any of my homes (which all have had wood) and the floors are just fine!

    raenborn thanked pink_peony
  • ILoveRed
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    This subject pops up on here every few years. I love hardwood in the kitchen.

    My dh says that our new house will be shoes off when we move in. lots of hardwood.. He is a lot pickier than I am. No point in arguing with him. But after the new wears off of the house I have no intention of asking my guests or family take their shoes off. He will relax too. I have Morton’s neuroma on both feet from running hospital floors for years and cannot go barefoot.

    now, if someone shows up with high heels on that is a different story. Those divots are impossible. Still haven’t figured out a polite way to ask someone to take their spiked heels off. Awkward, awkward, awkward.

    My oldest dd lives in a city home and she has everyone take their shoes off in her house and I can see why. No matter where you walk outside there is residue of dog feces. Even if folks pick it up while walking their dogs you know the residue is still left behind. So when I visit her I take an extra pair of indoor shoes.

    big pile of shoes by her front door and when visiting her and I see folks come in, they automatically take their shoes off. No hesitation.

    raenborn thanked ILoveRed
  • Nidnay
    4 years ago
    Ha....this shoes on, shoes off debate is almost like online political discussions.
  • disfromage
    4 years ago

    I haven't read all the comments, I'm sorry if this has been mentioned already. Shoes on/off in the main parts of the house are a personal preference, but I strongly feel that shoes are required in a kitchen (which is the OP's question). Kitchens are dangerous places full of hot liquids, heavy pots and pans, and sharp knives. Shoes add a layer of protection if something goes wrong. Accidents happen—please be safe!

    raenborn thanked disfromage
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    4 years ago

    It has come up sooooooooooooooo many times. Do what makes you happy : ) We'll assume you serve no eggs on the floor.Footwear aside. hahahhahahaahha




  • Robbin Capers
    3 years ago

    Growing up we wore shoes in a house with wall to wall carpet (even in the kitchen!). I don't remember it being horrible, but after over a decade of living in a place where taking shoes off at the door is standard practice I can't imagine it. Doesn't seem like it would ruin the floor regardless, but I'd definitely encourage indoor sandals or slippers at least and have good door mats.

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