I have been dying to make a post about this ever since I stumbled upon a report from none other than the President’s Cancer Panel. Among their top recommendations for preventing cancer? Take your shoes off before entering your home!

Authors Dr. Leffall & Dr. Kripke cite the inundation of chemicals into our environment as an understated cause of cancer. Removing your shoes can reduce the amount of these chemicals that you track into the home. They also suggest getting a water filter and storing food & beverages in glass rather than plastic.

I find this an ode to cultural/ancient wisdom, because many cultures around the world have the custom of removing your shoes at the door! For some, it’s quite disrespectful to enter with outdoor shoes on. Modern medical authorities often laugh off the unusual traditions of older, “alternative” medical systems & cultures. However, you’ll find that a huge majority of their wisdom & habits serve an important purpose science will one day discover & write about as a ‘breakthrough’ on MSN! Nick’s grandmother has Ecuadorian remedies for the cold and flu that work 10x better than what’s on the shelf at CVS. I think it’s important to observe and soak up as much knowledge from our elders as possible.

More reasons to remove your shoes at the door:

  • A study done by the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 different bacteria on shoes. Coliforms, a bacterial indicator of the level of sanitation of foods and water (and universally present in feces), were detected on the bottoms of 96% of shoes.
  • E. coli was detected on 27% of the shoes, along with seven other kinds of bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, which can cause urinary tract infection, and Serratia ficaria, which can cause respiratory infections.
  • A University of Houston study found that 39% of shoes contained bacteria C. diff (Clostridium difficile), which is a public health threat resistant to a number of antibiotics.
  • A study from Baylor University found that people who live near asphalt roads sealed with coal tar have an increased risk of cancer from toxins, and these toxins can be tracked in by your shoes.

In our home, removing shoes has always been a given. Let me know if it’s always been a tradition for you too, or if you’re planning on making the change!

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  • Julianna says:

    We have recently started removing our shoes too and have placed “please remove your shoes” signs on our doors. With a toddler and baby crawling all over our floors we knew we had to make this change!

  • Tanya says:

    As a Native Hawaiian born and raised in Hawaii it has always been a custom to remove our shoes before entering a home. This also applies when entering other people’s homes. We were taught that entering a home with your shoes on is disrespectful.

  • Katrinka Hipps says:

    I had done this some in the past; after reading this post, I plan to pick up this habit again!

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