When you have guests coming over to your house, it can be a bit awkward to ask them to remove their shoes, especially if the are not wearing sandals or flip-flops. But, there are ways to do it gracefully.
Firstly, create a visible area near the entrance where guests can place their shoes. They will see your family’s shoes there, and hopefully, get the idea that shoes should be removed before entering. Then, invite them into the house by saying something like, “Do come in – you can put your shoes on the rack.” This way, the request is part of the invitation, and it would be awkward for the guest to do anything other than remove their shoes.
If the guest does not get the hint, ask again more firmly but politely and provide a good reason, such as new carpets or just having them cleaned. Alternatively, you could offer socks or slippers, which are a common practice in Japan, where shoes are always left outside.
If you’re inviting guests to a party, you could include the request for “no shoes” on the invitation. Also, have scented foot spray available in case a guest is embarrassed about their foot odor.
Remember that it’s your responsibility as the host to make sure that your guests feel welcome in your home. While it may be scary to ask people to take their shoes off, most people will feel more comfortable for having removed their shoes. However, some people may not understand why you want them to remove their shoes, and others may have cultural or personal reasons for not doing so.