It would be easy to lie and say that we diligently remove our shoes before tracking dirt into every room of the house, but honesty is the best policy: This is an area we could probably improve on! Because the case for ditching your shoes at the door is very strong, thanks to a new study lead by Dr. Kevin Garey at the University of Houston.
Basically, the soles of our shoes carry all sorts of pathogenic bacteria (that’s the bad kind), and there’s a particularly nasty one called Clostridium difficile (known as C. diff. If this rings a bell, it’s the infection that Tig Notaro got that made her VERY sick). Don’t be alarmed, but the research indicates that this bacteria is on “26.4 per cent of shoe soles.” Yup, that is not too good.
Other studies have shown that shoes can carry Listeria monocytogenes, which can lead to an equally severe bacterial infection. SO in that case, taking off our shoes at the door will prevent this kind of worrying bacteria from being spread throughout the house. Which seems pretty worth it.
And as the study points out, simply wiping our shoes on a mat won’t do the trick; it might actually make things worse since the mat can carry all sorts of bacteria as well. “[…] You have to think of the person who wiped their feet before,” says Dr. Garey. “You might be picking [up] stuff they left behind.” Yikes.
Who needs to wear shoes in the house anyway? It’s much more cozy without them!