Everyday vs. Party Time: Should Guests Go Shoe-less?

Apartment Therapy Reader Survey

Some of my friends have strict no-shoes policies in their homes. Guests of any age must remove their shoes in the front hall. Fine, no big deal. But should this rule apply for adult-only social occasions like cocktail parties or dinner parties? For me, the shoes or boots I wear when dressing up are an integral part of my outfit. A mini skirt, for example, is far less fabulous in flat stockinged feet! Is it asking too much to expect adults to go shoeless on such occasions?

In our house, it is customary for people to take their shoes off when they enter the house, though I am really only a stickler about this rule when it comes to kids; adults don't typically jump in mud puddles, nor are they likely to climb on my furniture. For me, it is not because I am grossed out by germs or unsavory detritus from footwear per se (germs build immunity!); rather, I prefer to limit the number of times I have to vacuum in a week!

I personally don't ask adults to take off their shoes unless it has been raining or snowing, and even when the weather is nasty, I will usually let them keep their shoes on if they want to. My logic is that most women are unlikely to trudge through the slush in nice heels or boots, anyway. They probably make arrangements to avoid the elements as much as possible when dressing up for a dinner party or semi-formal affair.

I suppose that folks who live in places like Toronto or Minneapolis — for whom avoiding snow and slush may be nearly impossible — probably have a system for dealing with this dilemma. I know when I went to college in Montreal I would sometimes wear my snow boots out in the elements and carry my "nice" shoes in my purse to change into upon arrival.

What is your policy for wearing shoes inside your home? Are you more lenient when entertaining at night, or when hosting a semi-formal or formal shindig?

MORE SHOE POLICY DISCUSSION ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
Etiquette at Home: Solutions to The Great Shoe Debate
The Benefits of Leaving Your Shoes at the Door

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