You can remove them before you come, but it’s probably better if you don’t.
In all countries of the world, it is customary to remove shoes before entering the house. Some households do this for practical reasons, while others remove their shoes for religious reasons. In the United States, conversations about shoes in the home are often related to bacteria and dirt. While this is a valid concern, your shoes are probably not as dirty or microbial as you think.
How microbial are your shoes?
The mere fact that your shoes walk on the floor means that they are likely to carry dirt and bacteria from outside into your home. LiveScience found studies showing the presence of E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a microbe that can sometimes cause skin and blood infections). Since then, it has been found that these bacteria are a concern, but that the risk of getting sick is quite low. Kevin Garey, a clinical pharmacist and professor, told Live Science: “For a healthy individual, the bacteria on shoes probably pose no risk, or even a minimal risk,” because a typical footprint simply does not contain the thousands of microbes of the same strain that would be needed to make someone sick.
Other common residues found on footwear are pesticides and herbicides, or chemicals such as tar and other construction materials. According to Healthline, “[t]hese chemicals are associated with health risks as minor as skin or eye irritation and as serious as cancer. But again, bringing traces of these substances home on your shoes is unlikely to increase your risk of contracting any disease.
But take off your shoes if you want to – or if your host asks you to.
It is good to know that your shoes are not likely to transmit diseases to you or your family. But for some people, the desire to remove shoes before entering a house is still strong. By leaving your shoes outside, you reduce the amount of dirt and dust in your home, making cleaning much easier. Some floors are susceptible to scratches and nicks, and taking your shoes off can mitigate further wear and tear.
And as mentioned, removing shoes is part of some cultures and upbringings, so be courteous. If a house clearly states that shoes are not allowed, don’t insist: It’s perfectly normal to want a shoe-free home.