There are two kinds of people — those who insist on guests taking their shoes off when they enter their home and those who couldn't care less.
But is anyone right, per sé? We asked physician Dr. Ian Smith. And even though he's in the first group, he says, "It's actually not so bad."
Hear him out, though — because there are a few exceptions.
"You have hundreds of thousands of bacteria that are on the bottoms of your shoes, but not all of them are bad bacteria," the doc explains. "Some of them are actually good bacteria. And you actually need good bacteria — it could be good for your immune system so your body is understanding that there's different stuff out there."
"But think about it — there's already bacteria all over your house — and if you take your shoes off, that means your socks are going to be full of bacteria," he continues. And then if you take your socks off, your feet will be covered. "So you can't really avoid the bacteria."
With that said, there are a few instances where Dr. Ian says shoes should definitely come off.
"If you live in an urban environment where dogs are doing their business all over the place — because you can't see all the stuff with your naked eye — you should take your shoes off because you're tracking [it] in," Dr. Ian says. "That's one of the biggest ways of transmission — the fecal oral route."
The other exception? Similarly, if you live on a farm with a ton of animals, take those shoes off.