"Take off your shoes!" commands my friend Jodi from Long Island whenever I arrive at the doorway of her pretty, Mediterranean home. But I’m attached to my ruby slippers or Betty Mullers or whatever shoes I wore over. I don’t want to comply.
On the foyer rug, I can see the discarded flats, pumps and Converses of those who have arrived before me and have obeyed the "no shoes in the house" rule. Why does this rule agitate me so? Is it because most of my pants are too long and drag without heels? Is it because most of my friends are amazons who diminish me in stature when I’m forced to remove my shoes? Is it because I’m a fashion slave who adores stylish shoes? Maybe I just don’t like confronting rules as a guest in someone’s home.
Whatever the reason, I recognize that not only is it the homeowner’s right to impose a no-shoes rule, it’s also good for the planet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many of us track lawn pesticides, lead and other chemicals into our homes, not to mention dirt and God-knows-what from our city streets. Removing shoes also is easier on our carpets. Mine takes a beating, even with the removal of soccer cleats and muddy garden clogs.
Still, I’m too design-minded to stand for shoes scattered in my own entryway. The required solution: shoe storage that might convert me and keep my house cleaner.
One of the best storage benches I’ve found is the Ethan bench from Home Decorators ($269-$329). It has individual cubbies for housing 16 pairs of shoes and plush microfiber upholstery options in four colors. The same site offers a handsome wicker storage chest with doors for concealing 42-pairs of shoes ($300) which comes in three finishes.
But if you’re cramped for space, like most of us, the Mission style shoe storage chest from Improvements ($160) holds up to 9 pairs of shoes in a pull-down design that fits nicely in a hallway.
And, if you want to keep it cheap and simple, buy one or more of the stackable bamboo shoe racks from Seville Classics ($20). They’re designed for bedroom closets, but these utility racks fit nicely under entry tables and are more eco-friendly than their coated steel cousins.
One important tip for establishing a no-shoes inside policy: Alert guests to your rule before they arrive for a party. There’s nothing worse than neglecting to get a pedicure or having your big toe sticking out of a hole in your sock while sipping wine and trying to look cool at a shoe-less soiree.
Note: images not to scale.