Why you should never wear shoes indoors

When I was a kid my mother constantly nagged about wearing shoes indoors. At the time, I didn’t really get it, but now in retrospect it feels very sensible. As a child, I often ran around, jumping in puddles, piles of earth and trees so my shoes were quite dirty – and it was of course forbidden to bring in such filth into our family home and dirty our carpets and hardwood floors.

But the fact is that dirty floors may be the least of your concerns when it comes to wearing shoes indoors. That’s because shoes carry over 421,000 bacteria – and some may even be dangerous to your health.

Studies show that on average, we carry up to half a million bacteria on our shoes – something most of us don’t think of when we walk around home with shoes on.

E. coli

These bacteria include E. coli, a common intestinal bacterium. The study actually found this bacteria in 27 percent of all shoes tested.

“We walk through things like bird droppings, dog waste and germs on public restroom floors, all of which are sources for E coli,” explains microbiologist and professor Kelly Reynolds from the University of Arizona in an interview with The Huffington Post.

If you drag this bacteria into your home, it can in a worst case scenario spread to your food and drink, or otherwise enter the body.

E. coli can, among other things lead to diarrhea, vomiting, infections and at worst meningitis and even death. As with so much else, the weaker one’s immune system, the more harmful E. coli can be to the body.


Chemicals and toxins can be used to perform many useful tasks – and can be found in many everyday products we use for specific purposes.

But using your outdoor shoes indoors can bring these harmful substances right into your living room.

“Think about rain water in the street. It can have gasoline in it and chemicals, and those get on your shoes and can be brought into your home,” says Kelly Reynolds, who adds that if the body is exposed to it long enough – and frequently – it can cause serious illness.

Children play on the floor

Children playing on the floor is another big reason to avoid wearing shoes indoors. 

Children tend to place toys or fingers in their mouth – fingers which have also been in contact with the floor. This is a sure way of them ending up ‘consuming’ germs and bacteria off the floor.

A dirty home

Aside from bacteria and toxic substances, my mother did have a point at the end of the day.

If you don’t remove your shoes, filth, dirt and soil will inevitably be dragged into the home. That translates into an unavoidable truth: more cleaning for you. 

While it may be debatable just how bad it is to walk around with your shoes indoors – it’s clear that it is at best something to avoid, and at worst dangerous for children and adults alike.

Please help share so that more can learn about the dangers of walking around with shoes indoors!

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