In China, you soon notice that nobody wears their shoes inside their homes. The streets and sidewalks in China are really dirty. By wearing your shoes inside your house, you’re not only tracking in dirt and dust, but most likely remnants of garbage, food, spit, and other non-desirable human byproducts. So needless to say, people dont usually want to track all that into their homes.

So, whenever people enter their houses, they kick off their shoes, and put on house slippers. In summer, these are slip on sandals, and in winter, they tend to be warmer, fuzzy slippers. Its a strange custom when you first get to China, but after a week, you find yourself taking off your shoes every time you get home, or go to a friends house.

Another reason for wearing slippers is the the floors build up this phantom dust. Chinese air is dusty at times, and if your windows are open for long periods of time, this dust builds up on the floor. It only becomes noticeable when, after spending hours in the house in bare feet, you either feel the buildup of stuff on your feet, then look disappointingly at the soles of your feet, which are now black or brown.

Finally, when you go over to someone’s house or apartment, always take your shoes off as soon as you enter the door. If they’re okay with shoes inside they’ll let you know, but it’s best to be courteous from the outset.

Tagged with → apartment • customs • hygiene