To wear or not to wear, that is the question — at least when it comes to bringing your street shoes into the house. Culturally, the consensus is divided. Keeping on your shoes is common practice in many Western cultures, while it’s unheard of in many Asian cultures, sometimes for religious reasons, here in Ethiopia mulims mostly take off their shoes once inside their home. Regardless of custom origins, the question we’ve been sitting on it: How much dirt are you really dragging in by bringing street shoes inside?
According to Dr. Janna Tuck, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, dragging in dust on outdoor clothing and shoes is one of many causes of allergies in the average American home. “You step on a lot of different things throughout the day, whether it’s grass or the street,” says Dr. Tuck. “And often that ends up going straight from your shoes to the carpet.” Even if you have hardwood floors or tiles, dust particles and other allergen culprits can often cling to the soles of your shoe, in between the groves, and accumulate. Because small factors like these can easily add up over time, Dr. Tuck says, “I would vote dirty outdoor shoes stay outside.”
But if keeping shoes on still seems more practical in your home, she does offer a few solutions to keep dirt and irritants to a minimum. Try making a habit of regular vacuuming and dusting, and be mindful of keeping windows closed during heavy pollen season, which can vary regionally. If you’re dying to let in the breeze of early spring, you can also consider installing an air filter to help keep allergen levels low.
Our favorite solution (no chores required!)? Swap out your sneakers and sandals for a pair of (stylish) indoor-only slippers. And hey, we know habits can be hard to break. Luckily, with these slippers we bet you’ll switch in a snap.