House shoes or socks?

House shoes or socks?

Q. During these days of “staying home,” I have been going out once each day for a walk as exercise. When I return, I’ve been told I should leave my shoes at the door. What are the most durable socks to walk around the house in? Do I want rubber soles? What are my options?

A. In these days when we are all super conscious about staying safe, we are looking for ways to do just that. In our own homes our environment can be controlled, but when venturing outside, things are more tenuous. You are definitely smart to focus on keeping the barrier as separated as best possible; this has always been a good idea dating back to mothers’ telling kids to wipe their feet. At least for now, the footwear you use in public should  indeed end at the doorway.

Inside, when you return home, you have a few options. Wearing some kind of special socks is certainly one of those choices, but I’ll list these (as I would anything from suits to polos) by informality and formality.

1.Going barefoot – I know there are people who find going barefoot at home comfortable and the most natural thing imaginable, but I am not one of them. Not only would I be very uncomfortable, but my feet would be cold. For me, and for others like me, this is not an option.

2. Socks in the house – This is not my favorite choice because standard socks can be slippery. Still, if you like the idea of socks, it might be best to hunt for a pair that has a non-skid treatment on the bottom. Many versions come in a variety of colors, and are warm and comfortable to wear at home. These socks are widely available in stores and online. If you’re not sure about the size, you can exchange your pair until you find the right ones for you. The grippers on the bottom provide safe, secure anti-slip traction even on slippery floors. Search on the web for either non-slip socks, grip socks, or non-skid socks. 

3. A similar idea is to wear slippers. Any lounging slippers or bathing footwear might serve the same purpose. However, there are a couple of issues with regards to both Slippers and Socks.

Downsides of the above: In these days of Zoom and other visual teleconferencing, you might want to pay attention to which shoes you are wearing. Just in case they may be seen, you might want to wear something a bit more formal than either slippers or socks (unless you are sure that your lower half is not going to show).

Also, if you are used to wearing quality shoes or even high-end sneakers for the bulk of your walking, your feet may not take kindly to the change. Soles, and especially heels, of the business adult tend to be much more tender than our ancestors’ and you might have a combination of discomfort and even heel issues without the support and cushioning that shoes provide.

If that is the case, there are many products to heal your feet . . . and you should move on to my next suggestion. 

4.Wearing another pair of shoes – Often a man’s shoe wardrobe consists of a limited number of dress shoes (perhaps, just one pair), sneakers, and comfortable walking/work shoes. He may not necessarily own an extra pair to devote to wearing exclusively in the house.

Lots of times the only other shoes he has are a pair he does not like. This may be the perfect time to use them, or get rid of them.

Your best choice is a pair of comfortable informal shoes that you will just use for wearing at home, perhaps loafers or slip-on deck shoes that are versatile enough to go with most of the clothes you might be wearing.  These are great purchases for men now and for when they will be attending informal get-togethers.

Loafers are the most formal of all slip-on shoes. There are a few types: penny, tassel, and Gucci/horse-bit.

While each one is different, they all share certain elements: Loafers never have laces; they have leather uppers and smooth leather soles; and they are meant to be worn with socks.

Shoe manufacturer make them in a range of colors and prices. They are probably a step too elegant to be used as your at-home shoes.

Deck Shoes are more laid back than loafers and more versatile. These timeless comfortable shoes can be worn with or without socks. An advantage they have over leather loafers is that they can be made of softer material, and they usually have some sort of non-leather, non-slip soles.

They come in classic colors as well as an array of brighter, more offbeat shades. Prices range from high-end to amazingly affordable. Their snug fit gives much more support than you would expect from a slip-on, making them ideal for at-home wear.

Soft deck shoes are my definite preference. Since I do not feel comfortable walking around the house in socks (or in bare feet), my own system is to keep two pairs of shoes near the front door.

I put on the walking pair when I am about to leave the house for my daily walk. As soon as I return home, I remove the walking shoes and slip on a comfortable pair of soft shoes that I wear while at home. I am not spreading around any unsafe germs, virus, or dirt from outside in my home.

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