There are some who think that asking guests to remove their shoes is contrary to the principle of hospitality.

This is a culturally relative matter. Albania and Turkey are countries in which hospitality is greatly valued and yet it is expected in those countries that guests remove their shoes.

The shoes-on people argue that a hostess should primarily be concerned with her guests comfort and not with the state of her carpet or floor. However, most guests will feel more comfortable after removing their shoes. They may, admittedly, be uncomfortable because they are embarassed about their feet or they feel their shoes are part of their outfit. Those problems can be dealt with by letting guests know in advance that shoes-off is expected and so they can either bring slippers or plan their outfits with bare or stocking feet in mind. Any embarassment should be minimal if guests are not taken by surprise.

In my opinion, those who insist that guests should be allowed to keep their shoes on take hospitality for granted.

When I get my own house or apartment, I may well invite you. I will give you the best seat. I will cook for you. I will serve you the best food I can. I will give you whatever you want to drink, whether it be alcoholic or not. I will give you my undivided attention. I will entertain you with conversation. If you live nearby, I will drive you home in my car. If not, I will let you stay the night. I will wash up the dishes and cutelry you have used and clean up any mess you make. Given that I am willing to do all this for you, do you really think it is so unreasonable that I ask you to take your shoes off?

Ballet Versus Football Or A Pas De Deux Without Pointe Shoes?

Many people think that ballet is only heavily stylized dancing, and that especially male dancers are not very strong outside of their art. However, it is actually a complicated practice that involves advanced physics and mathematical principles. Although the years of ballet exercises allows the dancers to make it look effortless, it is an extremely difficult, disciplined, and enchanting art form. "American football is a sport hardly known for its grace and poise, but many players have swapped their pads for points, to do ballet."

Ballet is actually the foundation of most western dance forms, since ballet teaches good work habits, and a safe technique that enables the dancers to perform for many years with less chance of injury.

The graceful dance moves and combinations of movements in classical choreography are taught nowadays with increasing awareness of movement analysis. Correct ballet moves involve the elements of physics in terms balance, center of gravity, leverage and rotational mechanics among others.

The result of accurate ballet training is the ability to balance in a complex position, over a small area and support on the floor. Such as the tiny platform of the pointe shoe.

Physically, in ballet a condition of balance exists when a dancer retains her/his postural plumb line both in a motionless pose, or while moving on a vertical line.

"American football is a sport hardly known for its grace and poise, but many players have swapped their pads for points, to do ballet. Ballet dancers are renowned for their agility; they are able to leap, land and turn with, well... with balletic grace. This has led researchers and sports team players and coaches to experiment with ballet and other dance forms as a conditioning method. Superbowl winner and former top high-hurdler Willie Gault was one such player who believed his on-field performance and resistance to injury was enhanced by ballet. Ballet has in fact been used within American football since the 1970s."

The entire article is here:

If a dancer's or football player's center of gravity isn't in line with other equilibrium state forces, they will be unbalanced and experience an angular acceleration towards the ground, causing them to fall to one side.

Turning movements are common in all forms of dance, which also requires a great deal of physical, as well as scientific awareness that helps achieve the mastery of a perfect turn, or, pirouette. Football players rely on well-trained reflexes to dodge, spin suddenly, maintaining balance and speed. Ballet training enhances these abilities. It also breaks down many basic movements football players use, allowing them to understand how to prevent muscle and joint injuries.

"Ballet versus football" might be more correctly referred to as a pas de deux in training forms for many athletes.

If you are a football player in training and want to see some of the most strength building basic ballet exercises these ballet tips will tell you all you need to start. It is written by a physiotherapist and will train you for injury prevention.

Casa Quickie: Take Your Shoes Off

Casa Quickie: Take Your Shoes Off

Joy to the Home Blog: Why instituting a "Shoes-Off" Policy in your home makes sense

Joy to the Home Blog: Why instituting a "Shoes-Off" Policy in your home makes sense

For the Love of Lavender: A Better. Healthier Home

For the Love of Lavender: A Better. Healthier Home

Recommends having a no-shoes policy.

Stuff Asian People Like: #16 Not Wearing Shoes Indoors

Stuff Asian People Like: #16 Not Wearing Shoes Indoors

Sometimes I think I should have been born Asian. Believe it or not, I am proud of my English culture really.

Removing shoes at work

This week I started removing my shoes while at the office. I had not done this in any of the offices that I worked in before. That was mainly because my shoes had laces. If you take your shoes off at work, you want to be alble to put them back on quickly if you need to rush around. Now that I wear slip-on shoes I can do that (going to Japan made such a difference to my life). Obviously, it is not a cleanliness thing. It is a comfort thing. Who wants to be in their shoes all day?

Being able to remove your shoes is an advantage of working in an office. You cannot do it if you work in a factory or a kitchen. However, it does not look especially professional (unless you work in an Asian country where everybody entering the office has to take their shoes off). If you work in an office wear everybody is expected to wear a suit, then walking about the office in your socks is not going to go down well. However, if you are in that situation, you can always slip them off under the desk without being seen, provided you dont wear lace-up shoes.

The office I work in has a very casual culture. There is no dress code and you can wear sneakers without anybody complaining (not that I do that). I think I can get away with padding in socks some of the time.

Readers, is removing shoes at work something you would do?

And if you were the boss, would you make it a rule, in order to keep the office floor clean?

Bringing Furry Back

I was shopping at Phillips Shoes recently..just looking really when I saw these. I fell in love and just had to get them. The only bad thing about them was that they were not on sale. They were the full $79.00. Now, just a week later, they are on sale everywhere for $39.00. I love them. The pony fur feels smooth. It is not real, but it lools like it is. These are the Aerosoles: Spantastic. Comfy!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

Are There Genetic Differences If You Dance In Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes?

"Are Dancers Genetically Different Than The Rest Of Us? Yes, Says Hebrew University Researcher ScienceDaily (Feb. 16, 2006) - What makes dancers different than the rest of us? Genetic variants, says a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem." Part of dancing in performance is transporting the audience to where YOU are while you're dancing. They are not just looking, they are going with you. You change their brain chemicals!

"The dancer "type," says Ebstein, clearly demonstrates qualities that are not necessarily lacking but are not expressed as strongly in other people: a heightened sense of communication, often of a symbolic and ceremonial nature, and a strong spiritual personality trait."

What an intriguing subject!

Tricking your brain with your own nutritional chemicals and neurotransmitters is an art, I have learned - it's more than eating well and thinking well. is where you'll find the whole article.

"...a heightened sense of communication, often a symbolic and ceremonial nature, and a strong spiritual personality trait." know that electric field that snaps into the audience when a powerful dancer steps onto the stage? It pervades everyone. They are IN that field.

Ballet is ceremonial starting right in class. The world is shut out while students work and the teacher works, in a field of concentration. All the right brain chemicals are neurotransmitting with enthusiasm.

The brain chemical serotonin is found lacking in depressed people - it is abundant in dancers and other artists. Despite the stressful lifestyles, lack of social support, common disorderly eating (and sometimes eating disorders) serotonin is abundant. It seems to be related to the "ceremonial nature and a strong spiritual personality trait". I have known dancers I wouldn't put in that camp - and I envied them! They came to work, did a reasonably good job and went home.

This article from is extremely interesting. There are genetic differences in artists. It indicates a power we don't suspect. It indicates a consciousness that is a component of talent, I think. Not physical ease, but the intangible magnetism where we follow the dancer wherever he/she goes.

It's a brain chemical thing. What isn't? Yet, it is more.

STRAIGHT FROM DeHART - February 27, 2008

Jim Belshaw is the new owner of Roy’s Shoes at 1627 Ellis Street. Jim took over the business from Dan Van Norman, who you might still see spending time at the shop.

Jim Belshaw is donating $1 from every shoe repair to support an Orphanage in El Salvador, a project taken on by Sunrise Rotary of which he is a member.

This might sound like a small thing, but with matching grants from Rotary International he expects to be sending in excess of $15,000 to the Orphanage this spring.

He has already sent the first of two shipments of shoes down for the kids. His son, Jim Jr. has recently started working at the store, working along side a third generation shoe maker. Along with repairs, Roy’s also sells shoes and boots.

Call 250-763-5696 or

Jim Belshaw
Roy's Shoes, Boots and Repairs
1627 Ellis Street
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 2A8

Shoes left by the Door

I think the sight of shoes left by a door is rather beautiful, especially if there is a collection of them left by guests.

A collection of shoes by the door are all different shapes and sizes. They reflect different tastes and lifestyles. Yet they have all been removed for the purpose of entering the sanctuary of an home. Though the owners are different individuals, in their all becoming shoeless, they have united in the fellowship of friendship.

The owners of the shoes are at leisure. They have put aside their work to engage in relaxation or socializing.

Shoes-Off Nazi

Some of the veteran readers of this blog may recall that a while ago, I quoted an American who described me as a freedom-hating shoes-off Nazi.

I have seen quite a lot of people on the internet using the term 'Shoes-off Nazi'. Usually, it is by people who object to being asked to remove their shoes. However, a few people have used it in a tongue in cheek way to describe themselves. It is good not to take oneself too seriously.

It is funny how so many different groups of people get compared with Nazis or Fascists- conservatives, vegetarians, Europhiles, Muslims, fundamentalist Christians, advicates of 'political correctness', feminists, environmentalists, animal rights advocates. And people who prefer shoes-off in their homes. Basically, anybody you disagree with and you suspect wants to curtail your liberty.

It is true that many countries in which removing shoes is expected, such as Japan, Sweden and Russia are in differing ways more authoritarian and less individualistic than Britain and the United States. But easygoing Canadians also take their shoes off.

I can see the funny side of comparing people with a shoes-off rule with the Nazis, but I do not think it is really appropriate. Think about the terrible things which the Nazis did for a moment and it should be obvious why.

The person who called me a shoes-off Nazi may have gathered that I am a Christian. But supposing my parents or granparens were Jewish? Would I not be terribly offended?

If you are going to throw around the term Shoes-off Nazi, you really need to consider the fact that the person might be Jewish or a Jewish person might read it. They might just find your flippancy a little offensive. British readers will recall Ken Livingstone, mayor of London and his stupid comments.

Ebonie Expressions: Kindly remove your shoes before entering...

Ebonie Expressions: Kindly remove your shoes before entering...

Yet another blogger who prefers shoes-off.

The relationship between host and guest

Some people seem to see the shoes-off rule as an unfair restriction on the freedom of guests. I think that is a very sad attitude.

I rather see the removing of shoes as a beautiful and peaceful exchange between host and guest.

The guest removes her shoes when she enters the home. She shows respect to the house she is entering. She does not treat it like a restaurant where her custom is king. Nor does she treat it as her own home, where she may do as she pleases. She has entered the home of another family and she must respect the fact that their lives are lived here.

The hostess is in turn delighted by the respect that the guest shows her. In removing her shoes, the guest has entered into the environment of her family. The hostess will treat her guest with all the courtesy and kindness that she would show to her own family members. She will take care to look after her to the utmost while she remains under her roof. She will serve her the best food, give her the best seat. If necessary she will drive her home in her car or let her stay the night.

In removing her shoes, the guest becomes like the hostess, who is already shoeless. She identifies with the hostess who has welcomed her into her home. In their both becoming shoeless, the host and guest enter a fellowship and unity. They are both without shoes; they are equals. This is true friendship.

Planning ahead

I had a young couple who are my best friends join me for dinner at my house.

They know I expect shoes off. After they took them off I noticed the lady was in pantyhose (Sorry, the majority of my readers are Yanks), so I offered her the loan of some socks. However, she had thought ahead and brought her own, a bright red pair.

I love having friends who respect my home and they way I prefer to live.

As I usually do, I seved oriental food, this time Thai style. Coming to my house for dinner is an Asiastic experience; oriental style cooking and shoes off at the door. But we did sit on chairs. Many Inland residents ask guests to shed their shoes Many Inland residents ask guests to shed their shoes

Don't Waste Time - Learn To Self-Assess Your Ballet Technique

If you are a dedicated student who is willing to do some reading about the finer details of correct ballet technique, you'll acquire good ballet exercise tips and you'll know if you're working accurately in class. No author of ballet technique can see you and your work. However, you can find the information you need about ballet standards, pointe shoes, and you can build strength and the correct muscle memory to advance with optimum results.

If you can learn about self-assessing, and practise very accurate routines to improve one basic ballet exercise at a time, you'll get ahead much faster, for example, even if you continue only doing 2 classes a week. The internet is full of information! Glossaries of French words for ballet are available.

I know that if you are a dedicated student, you will love these volumes of information. You can prepare for pointe safely and properly, even if your own teacher doesn't know how. And many teachers don't, because this has not been taught before.

You can gradually reach the same standards as students who have studied during the early years that perhaps you didn't. You need the right info, that's all. For instance, if you just read one article about a correct plie, and practise that for a week at home, you would improve and strengthen every exercise you do in class.

If you self-assessed and started a routine for preparing to work in pointe shoes, in one month you would be far ahead of where you are now. And I encourage male dance students to do these too, because to date, I haven't found anything written for male students refining their footwork.

Repetition certainly is the essence of ballet training - but it only gets you optimum results if you're doing things accurately. Even the best of teachers can correct you only so much in a class - teachers try their best to correct everyone. So any student who is willing to learn to assess themselves and work a little at home is going to get way ahead!

Be creative in how you apply your homework in ballet exercises - figure out how you can do your foot exercises while you study for schoolwork. Do your core exercises while you watch a movie. There are many ways to not waste time, to build strength and muscle memory, and to excel beyond your expectations.

And always remember, stretching, relaxing tight muscles, and a day of rest is always part of the program!

If learning more appeals to you, click here fordancing in ballet pointe shoes!

Get Into Pointe Shoes -Don't Waste Time Wondering

Every dance student wants to know how to get into pointe shoes. How old do you have to be? How strong do you have to be? What are some realistic goals to work towards? Can you even tell if you're ready to get into pointe shoes? Don't waste time wondering, or repeating the wrong ballet exercises. Learn the finer details about what it really takes.

Accurate basic technique is truly important. Being able to do a plie exercise without the barre, without straining in your neck and shoulders, and with being on balance throughout, tells you that you have developed strength.

Standing in coup de pied, hands on hips, and being able to slowly press up to demi pointe, and lower slowly, 4-8 times, tells you that your postural plumb line is maintained, and that your ankles and arch have developed strength. Again, assuming that there is no strain in the upper body, or loss of turnout.

Doing an echappe to seconde on count 1 hold 2 hold 3, close on 4, 8 times, with posture, turnout and arches held, neck and shoulders easy, tells you that you have built strength in your core, legs, and feet.

But what if you can't do the above ballet exercises? What are the basics that you go back to in order to build strength? Practicing at home is good, although you need to be sure that you are doing the right thing over and over, and not repeating incorrect technique.

How do you fit extra practice in along with school homework and some "normal life"?

Well, foot exercises, turnout exercises, stomach and waist exercises, can all be done while you're watching a movie or studying.

You can do a great psoas stretch while sitting on a physio ball in front of your computer. Stretch one leg behind you, with the ball of your foot on the floor, and gently straighten the knee and hold your posture upright. And keep typing! Or reading.... you'll stretch your hip flexors too. Pause and do a small easy backbend to get that little extra.

There is a wealth of information available now for serious students. Use it to set realistic goals. Don't waste time wondering when you can get into pointe shoes.

Very thoughtful

I was helping out at church today, cooking breakfast at the Dads and Toddlers meeting.

The church gardener was working outside. He was invited to come in and have some tea and a bacon sandwich. He removed his shoes before entering the church, so as not to bring in mud. I thought that was very thoughtful of him.

I cannot really endorse this suggestion

I have come across a few websites and blogs that suggest having a shoes-off rule for the reason that when a girl is visiting it will be a prelude to her taking other pieces of clothing off.

As a Christian who believes in reserving sex for marriage I cannot endorse such a suggestion or link to sites that make it. However, if you do adopt this seduction trick, you will find that it does help to keep your home clean. And I cannot object at all to making female visitors more comfortable, whatever your reason for inviting them!

Natural Health: Shoes Off

Natural Health: Shoes Off

"Forgoing footwear indoors helps keep your home healthier and free of pollutants."

ramblings: shoes off at the door rockstar!

ramblings: shoes off at the door rockstar!

CoolPeopleCare: Leave your Shoes at the Door

CoolPeopleCare: Leave your Shoes at the Door

Ballet Pointe Shoes - Develop Long Lean Muscles

Get your dancer's guide to build strength for the long lean muscles every dance student wants,to achieve optimum results in ballet pointe shoes. The finer details are both physical and conceptual, and will improve all your ballet exercises. These tips will also help your pre-pointe homework exercises.

Length is the goal in ballet, and here are some ways to think of it as a realistic goal.

For example, when you start a demi plie, you pull up. But to make that an extra pulled up strength, think of bending your knees, maximum turnout, and not lowering your body for a second. That's right, pull up the lower abs so that your belly button moves up your torso and stays there!

This is different from pulling in your stomach into a bundled knot. Whether or not you succeed in bending your knees and staying up, you will stretch your lower abs long and flat. To practice, open and close your knees a little several times and try to stay up at the same level. Then, when you sink down into that plie, keep the lower torso long and flat, still pulling up and away from the motion, still letting your calves relax, turnout held, and your feet flat on the floor, heels firm. If you do this every time you do a plie, it will make a huge difference in the lengthening feeling.

Another place to feel a lengthening is from the top of a press up. You've reached the top of your demi pointe or full pointe. As you lower the heels, pretend you are not lowering. You pull the heels down, away from your hips and torso. Your thighs stretch out long, in your mental image, like a stretchy band (which they are). You keep trying to stay up even as your heels touch the floor.

At this moment, if you are continuing into a demi plie, you again hold the lower abs long and up, as you open the knees, as if you are not lowering.

Here are just two places that will make a tremendous difference, if you do the lengthening technique every time you do a plie or pull down from a press up.

This helps control the pelvis, posture, and turnout, and you'll get the best you can in developing long and lean muscles and build strength.

With expert instruction on dancing in ballet pointe shoes you'll find more articles on technique with all the details.

SGClub: They shop barefoot here

SGClub: They shop barefoot here

A shop in Singapore where customers remove their shoes before entering.

You keep coming!

It seems more and more of you are coming here. The average number of visits has been progressively going up lately.

It really is nice that people find this place interesting.

It would still be nice if more of you commented. It does make me feel good when I get feedback.

Donations: Total Training Center

total-training5k, originally uploaded by One World Running.

The Total Training Center in Athens, GA is donating about 200 pairs of shoes to One World Running. This photo was taken just before their annual 5k fun run.

How to silently remind guests to remove their shoes

1. Cast your eyes downwards at the guest's feet for a few seconds.

2. Make a faint smile with gritted teeth.

3. Look down at the guest's feet again.

4. When the guest looks down, nod.

This is unlikely to work on first-time guests. This is only for reminding people who already know you don't want shoes in your house.

A window dresser

I saw a woman decorating a store window today in her stocking feet.

It was good to see that. A lot of shop workers will decorate the window without taking their shoes off. I am sure those shop window ledges must get scratched easily.

Don't tell anybody about this post

This might get me excommunicated from the Christian blogsphere, or failing that just getting de-linked from a few Christian blogs. I felt that as I was the only blogger who dedicates a whole blog to the issue of the shoes-off rule, I had a duty to watch an episode of a popular television show that dealt with it as a subplot.

You Tube: Sex and the City- A Woman's Right to Shoes (Part 1)

Sex and the City is a programme I would not normally watch. From what I have heard it is vulgar and obscene. As it happened, I have seen more objectionable things than this episode, but the second part (not linked here) features male nudity.

In this story, the character Carrie attends a baby shower where she is asked to remove her shoes for hygeine reasons. Her Manolo Blahniks are stolen during the party. The hostess begins to offer compensation, but changes her mind when she finds out they costed an extravagant $485.

I do object to the portrayal of people with a shoes-off policy as anti-social and selfish. I suppose it would be a dilemma if some expensive shoes were stolen. Would readers pay $485 for somebody's stolen shoes? I doubt this happens very often. Usually people invite people they trust to their parties.

It is true that the stolen shoes were a finanicial loss to Carrie (though she recovers it in this story), however, if one is responsible for the financial loss of stolen shoes, what about the financial loss to a host of ruined floors? If hosts can be expected to be responsible for stolen shoes, then surely guests can be expected to remove their shoes? Respect goes two ways.

In the second part, when Carrie returns to the hostess, I did recognise an expression on the woman's face when she makes a silent request for shoes-off. I have made that face at people before.

Picking up signals?

My mother came in my room today to show me some picures of a house on the market that she likes.

I looked at the picture and said "It has a nice carpet."

Then my mother said "Oh, I've come in your room with my shoes on" and finished the conversation outside my room.

Northern Ireland

A while ago, I saw a novel in the local library about a family in Northern Ireland. On the front cover was a photograph of different sized shoes left by a door.

As far as I know, removing shoes at the door is not that common in Northern Ireland. I dare say that could change. I know there is a large Chinese community in Northern Ireland.

Anybody from Northern Ireland care to comment?

Shoes outside the door

Today I walked past a house that had three pairs of sneakers sitting outside the front door. They looked like they belonged to some teenage children.

Getting into the habit

I spoke to a woman the other day who said she had adopted a shoes-off policy once after getting a new carpet. However, after a week she went back to wearing shoes in the house with the resulting effect that the carpet had become very dirty.

It is not always easy adopting new habits. It is easy to slip back into old ways. As the testimony of this lady shows, a new carpet will only continue to look new while it is kept clean. The same goes for hardwood floors too and even those 'easy-clean' PVC floors.

Too make a lifestyle change like making one's home shoe-free requires determination.

There are a number of things that will help you to make the change to a 'no shoes in the house' lifestyle.

Firstly, if you forget to take your shoes off at the door and then remember when you are in the living room, don't excuse yourself and leave them on. Take your shoes off straight away. If you make exceptions for yourself, you will give up.

Secondly, don't store your shoes in a closet. Leave them next to the door, either lined up or on a shoe-rack. That way you will notice them when you come in. If they end up in a big heap, it does not matter, they will be even more noticeable.

Get some really comfortable slippers!

Ask guests to take their shoes off as well as your family. That will force you to be consistent. Inviting your friends to a shoeless party will get them used to the idea.

Get into the habit of taking your shoes off when you visit friends. That way it will soon seem weird wearing shoes indoors.

Do readers have any other suggestions as to how one can get into the habit of removing shoes?

Pointe Shoe Fitting For The Best Fit

Once you have studied about pointe shoe fitting and purchased the best fit you can get, you still might need to make some modifications.

Pointe shoes that are hand made have tiny variations in the finer detail of the shoe, and one pair may not feel as good a fit as another, even if it is made by the same cobbler.

If the shoes feel off a bit, there are many ways to make them exactly the right fit.

If you check the Dr. Scholls (or some similar foot care brand) area of a store you'll find all kinds of insoles, gel soles, corn and blister pads and other things you can cut up and put in your shoes, or on your toes, to make a pointe shoe fit exactly.

In fact, many professional ballerinas customize every pair of shoes that they have. They develop all kinds of tricks to make the shoes enhance their dancing.

Heel grips can help the back of your pointe shoe if it seems a little wider than usual, even though the size is the same as a pair you had that was a perfect fit.

Gel soles can be cut up and glued into the shoe or around or in between your toes, to get the perfect toe spacing, disperse the pressure on the toes in the box, or on the wings.

Plastic wrap is great to put in between the tops of the toes and your tights - you get a slide instead of the friction that rubs the weave of the tights into your skin.

If you have a bruised toenail, it takes a while to go away. A podiatrist may be needed to cut into the nail and drain the fluid from beneath it. Then, you may need a full sponge toe cover over the nail, and even a half size larger shoe, until the bruise has healed.

In other words, use everything that is available to dance safely, and know that you can avoid dancing in pain. Especially if you have an exam or a performance, you do whatever you have to do to dance your best. There is no rule against that.

Knowing about and getting the right pointe shoe fitting will make dancing in ballet toe shoes easier for you.

More Guests

I had a couple of young ladies visit the house this evening.

One was polite enough to offer to remove her shoes. The other protested that her feet were smelly, but she took her shoes off anyway.

Pointe Shoe Sizing - Avoid Dancing Ballet In Pain

Get your own information on pointe shoe sizing, to avoid dancing in pain. If you get exactly the right fit, the most pain you should ever feel is a spot where your tights were not smoothed out, or where your protective padding slipped. Foot injuries are avoided by a good fit, good training, good floors, and being strong enough in the first place.

Dancing in pointe shoes should not be painful - uncomfortable sometimes, yes. Getting exactly the right fit is a challenge - knowing how, and finding a ballet store that has a lot of different kinds of shoes to try on.

Some ballet stores have excellent shoe fitters and some do not.

Some students have one foot that is longer, or wider, or weaker than the other foot.

Pointe shoes must be bought for the longer foot, and the shorter foot can be padded differently. Just like you do with your street shoes.

A weaker foot must be exercised twice as much as the stronger foot. This gives you more homework, but you can build strength and develop two strong feet.

Go to a ballet store during quiet shopping hours if possible. Call them first and let them know you want to come in and talk to someone who knows the shoe inventory, and can help you. Ask a lot of questions before the shoe fitter brings out shoes.

If you have hyper-mobile feet with a high arch, you'll need stronger shanks, probably a longer vamp, though not if your toes are short.

Let the shoe fitter see you on demi pointe - she/he will hopefully see right away the length of your toes, the type of arch you have, your foot width, and will know what shoes to suggest.

Your teacher may give you an idea of what shoes to try on as well.

Try on the shoes with your tights on your feet, and also wear some padding - be it gel or lambswool or a tissue wrapped around your toes - this will help you get as close to exactly the right fit as possible. Don't make it a goal to get rid of padding. As you get stronger you may use less or none, but don't assume you will never need it.

Do not try to stretch the life of your pointe shoes with extra padding - that will not work, and you may get injured. Pouring shellac into the shoe can add some extra life, if done before they are worn out. But you need to experiment with this, and have a good pair of shoes to wear to class while you try out shellacking another pair. Without practice, you cannot count on this to work out well.

Ultimately, if you have good practice routines to continue building strength for ballet and pointe work, you can avoid dancing in pain. Taking care of your feet involves strength, gentle stretches for some of you, foot massage and supportive street shoes. Work like a pro, right now.

Make sure you know about pointe shoe sizing, to avoid dancing in pain.

You Tube: The First Commandment of Carpet Cleaning

You Tube: The First Commandment of Carpet Cleaning

An excellent piece of advice in this video. No prizes for guessing what this first commandment is.

The Charleston Gazette: Lose the Shoes

The Charleston Gazette: Lose the Shoes

'In Asia, most people take off their shoes at the door. Is it time Americans followed suit?'

This article is encouraging because removing shoes tends to be more common in the northern, rather than the southern states. But this and the viewing stats for this blog suggests that the south is catching up with the north.

The Empowerment of Blogging

Blogging is a wonderful thing. There has never been anything like it in the history of mankind.

Blogging empowers people to communicate. Anybody with a computer, no matter how lacking in talent or importance can set up a blog and write stuff and communicate it to a potentially unlimited audience worldwide. You and I may never get to write a book, yet we can publish stuff on a blog and people all over the world can read it.

I think it is safe to say that no publisher is ever going to publish a book about people removing shoes in homes. There are cleaning manuals that will suggest having a shoes-off policy and the Lonely Planet Guides will tell you which countries have the custom (a useful thing to know if you are doing any travelling). However, there are no books on just this subject.

Yet blogging has given me the power to publish pages and pages of material about why people should take their shoes off at the door. Blogging has empowered a dull person like me with to make my views heard across the world on this little matter of etiquette. And it has given the ability of anybody who types 'ask guests remove shoes' into Google to spend a few minutes reading my stuff.

There are a lot of blogs that deal with important subjects, government, the economy, the environment, religion. Yet there is room for blogs on less pressing issues like this one.

For those of us who like to keep our floors really clean or free from scratches and who want an atmosphere of peace and comfort in our homes, removing shoes matters. It is a lifestyle choice we have made and is important to us. Blogging has given us the ability to meet online and share ideas and encourage each other in keeping our homes shoe-free. I am grateful to Blogger for that.

Neat Freaks?


It is commonly thought that people who insist on shoes-off in their homes are neat freaks who are obsessed with keeping their homes clean and tidy.

I dare say that there are some people who prefer shoes-off who are genuine neat freaks. And those who are Obsessive-Compulsive about cleanliness may well be among the shoes-off community.

Of course this is culturally relative. In Japan it is thought that money is dirty and unhygeinic because it is handled by untold numbers of people. Japanese people also regard any objects placed in bathrooms, such as books or ornaments to be 'dirty'. A person in a western society who held such attitudes would almost certainly be regarded as Obsessive-Compulsive.

I have known a number of people who really were excessive in their desire to keep their homes clean. Interestingly, these people did not require visitors to remove their shoes. I suspect that they probably spent so much time in cleaning their homes that they were happy to waste time cleaning up afer their visitors.

Many people who keep their homes shoe-free are not domestic goddesses who like nothing better than spending whole days doing spring cleaning. Rather, they are busy working people who have far better things to do. They do not want to clean up for the sake of it, but they know that living in a clean environment is healthier and far more pleasent. Knowing that time is precious they would rather keep the mess to the minimum and spend as little time as possible cleaning up after their visitors. Prevention is better than cure.

Nobody needs a house that is spotless, but it is pointless to allow dirt and dust to accumulate when it could easily be kept out by leaving shoes at the door. A floor is meant to be walked upon, but that does not mean that one should not reduce wear and tear and save time and money.

Housewarming Party


If you are moving into a new house or apartment and you want to make a clean start and have a no-shoes rule, you have an ideal opportunity to kick it off with an housewarming party.

The best thing to do is to indicate clearly on invitations that you will be requiring shoes-off. That way people will have no surpises. They can bring slippers, wear clean socks with no holes or a floaty skirt that looks great with barefeet (Trinny and Susanah actually recommend that hostesses of dinner parties should wear a long skirt with barefeet or slippers).

Having an housewarming party is such an excellent way to send the message that your new house will be a shoe-free zone. Even those of your friends who do not come will see on the invitation that you want shoes-off.

Requiring shoes-off at a housewarming party sends the message that you are really serious about the rule and that it is not just an exception for a wet winter evening. After all, some people with shoeless homes actually make an exception and allow shoes-on in parties. However, having shoes-off at an housewarming makes it clear that you want the house to stay as it was when you bought it.

The Leg Extension Exercise - Elegant Arabesque and Other Ballet Positions

Any leg extension exercise in ballet is important. The finer details need to be understood to build strength, and get the most out of your daily routines. To sustain high extensions while on pointe, as in pas de deux, takes years of consistent practice.

A routine exercise for strengthening extension is doing a developpe, lowering the leg 2 inches, and raising it up. Lowering, and raising it up. Basically, for as many times as you can stand it. Then, relaxing the muscles completely before doing the next position.

The assumption is that your placement is good, and you are not straining too much. You can do this lying down, (on your back for devant and on your side for a la seconde) to isolate the leg muscles, and then standing up, which is harder.

The repetitive flexing of the psoas muscles ( as in the above, not to mention every tendu and degage you do!) can leave those muscles strained and shortened with tension - so you need to stretch the psoas muscles - a lunge, in parallel, pulling up the abs and leaning into it gently and often, will stretch out the psoas. A deeper stretch is the runner's lunge: one leg extended behind you, knee on the floor, palms on the floor on either side of your front leg; you remain pulled up as you stretch the psoas. If you turn sideways away from the back leg, you'll feel a stretch along the TFL (Tensor Fascia Lata) which goes deep into the side of the hip muscles.

Lack of strength in arabesque could be in your mid back muscles, in your deep abdominal muscles, in your hamstrings, and in your hip extensor muscles.

Here's a ballet exercise which will strengthen all those muscles. Stand in arabesque in the corner where you can hold one barre on the wall in front of you, and place the arabesque leg behind you on the barre behind you. Let the leg rest for a moment and check your placement.

Is the leg extended out away from you leaving you length in the back, as opposed to you having bunched up back muscles at and above the waist? Do you feel your butt muscles holding the leg as high as it can go? You can test this by lifting the leg off the barre without letting the back work or move forward at all. Just an inch, only the leg moves.

Hold the leg there, feeling the back of the leg (hamstrings) and butt (hip extensors) holding it. Put the leg down and pick it up 10 times, just an inch. Gradually work up to 20 times.

Here's an extension of that exercise. Get placed like above. Do a demi plie, allowing your back to move forward as needed, but staying upright in your upper back. Lift the leg just off the barre and come up from the plie, holding the leg in position. Do this as many times as you can.

Always relax and stretch everything again after such a strenuous exercise. Tension leads to poor muscle tone=loss of strength.

For abdominals, lying down with perhaps a small rolled towel under your neck, super-slow motion pull ups are very effective. If you count three real seconds for the first inch of movement, and pull up slowly to count to ten; then, 3 real seconds for your first inch back down, and getting down on the tenth count - don't relax! Repeat twice more before you rest back. That's all! Only three times. You'll feel those muscles really working. Breathe throughout - put one hand behind your neck if you feel a lot of strain (most do) and let the other hand reach out toward your knees. You only do this once or twice a week.

Here's a wonderful stretch to oppose all that work - some call it a bow - it's a yoga exercise. Lying on your stomach, reach back and grab your ankles - then lift up your feet and hands toward the ceiling and your body will make a bow shape. This will stretch those abs (including the psoas) and also stretch across your chest and the shoulder area. Don't force to the point of pain - just enjoy a lovely stretch. You can stretch your back the other way by hanging over a large physio ball and just relaxing.

The above routines are very rigorous. If you do class daily I would only do these all, twice a week on top of everything else. If you do class two or three times a week, I would do them on those days (2 of them) because you are warmed up enough. But not two days in a row.

Get your own copy of Analyzing Arabesque to achieve the best out of your leg extension exercise.

Swedish Guest

I had a Swdish gentleman visit yesterday. Being from Sweden, a shoes-off culture, he removed his shoes at the door without being asked.

Lutheran Church of Hope

Jan Peticolas has spearheaded a monthly shoe drive at the Lutheran Church of Hope in Broomfield, Colorado. The Sunday School children and the Social Concerns Ministry are working collaboratively with One World Running to gather, clean, and repair all kinds of shoes including slippers, boots and heels.

Hope's ministry collects shoes at the church on the first Sunday of each month, from January through May 2008. The first collection, on Jan. 6, gathered roughly 150 pairs. The February drive added another 175 pairs. Thanks to Jan, the Lutheran Church of Hope ministry, and the Broomfield community for the donations.

Use All Your Ballet Bar Exercises To Get Into Pointe Shoes

Learn how to get into pointe shoes with your ballet bar exercises.

In ballet, every exercise is designed to build strength and most ballet exercises approximate a full body workout. The accuracy of your daily routines determines how you build the best muscle memory, and affect how well you progress to the perfect pointe, just for one example. Consider battement fondu, A French ballet word meaning melted, referring to the quality of the movement.

Battement fondu can be done as a melting adagio exercise, or as a crisper faster movement. It is always elastic in quality, as it is designed to develop the thighs for strong jumping. The coordination required in the exercise is needed for the grands sautes such as grand jete en tournant, fouette saute and all the many other jumps found in the solos of classical ballet.

Battement fondu develops the quadriceps, or thigh muscles. It's beautifully elastic stretch up from the demi plie, to a full rise onto demi pointe and full leg extension, is a challenge for all the basic technical areas. As a habit, check for the points below during your battement fondu exercises:

***Are you on balance in your demi plie - can you lift your hand off the barre just before you reach the bottom of the plie, and keep it off as you press out of it?

***Does your presenting leg fully extend at the same moment your supporting leg reaches its fullest demi pointe? Can you lift your hand off the barre right here?

***Is your postural plumb line stable from the depth to the height of the movement?

***Can you feel an elastic resistance resulting from the quality of your press up from your demi plie, and also a resistance you create, pressing your extending leg out to its stretch? (It's like you are using an invisible stretchy band tied to your ankles).

***Are your foot muscles working and engaged throughout the whole movement, both up and down, strengthening the foot and ankle without over-working your calf muscles?

***Are your arm movements also coordinated, without strain?

***Can you do battement fondu without the barre, en croix, at a 45 degree height?

Aside from being a whole body workout, the building of strength for your pointe work and jumps is accelerated with this exercise. Keep at the finer details in your daily routines and you'll have a perfect pointe - and wonderful jumps too.

Get your special dancer's guide on how to get into pointe shoes. It will take you way beyond your current progress if you follow it as carefully as it is written for you.

Political Speculation

Despite being British, I am finding the American primary elections so exciting. Those of you who have recently visited my main blog, This is a Cult will know that my preferred candidate is the Republican, John McCain.

Leaving politics aside, I think the candidate most likely to favour shoes-off at the door is Barack Obama, seeing as he is from Hawaii.

While I don't like the idea of this chap becoming president of the United States, it would be nice if he applied this Hawaiian custom in the Whitehouse. I think most ordinary visitors to the place have to take their shoes off to go through security checks anyway.

Take Your Shoes Off, Please - Why Health Customs Make Sense for American Homes

Take Your Shoes Off, Please - Why Health Customs Make Sense for American Homes

Article by Jeanette Joy Fisher

Well done to Rich for pointing this one out.

Natural Attachment: See Mum, No Shoes!

Natural Attachment: See Mum, No Shoes!

Somebody kind enough to post a link to this blog. It is always great to read stuff from people who prefer shoes-off.

Embracing My Inner Cowgirl!

It has been awhile since I visited my blogs. I have been consumed with family matters and work that left no time for anything like blogging. Boy how I have missed it. Slowly but surely I plan to get back into the swing of things. It is a new year and I have new shoes. It is good to be back. I hope I have the time to stay around a little more regularly.

Where am I now? A new job that I have been at for 6 months. New annoying co-workers who really do wear bad shoes. New shoes that I have yet to show you. But I will. Let's get the shoe on the road. Let me tell you about my shoe filled Christmas that I gave myself.

I went to visit dirty Filas godmother in Atlanta for christmas and I found the most wonderful pair of cowboy boots. Like I need another pair. I already have these that I love. I was in Lenox Mall and of course shopping for know...something for them, two things for me, something for her, two more things for me. Yeah that is how I roll! I saw these Frye boots and they screamed for me to get them. As soon as I saw them I was in love! I tried them on and of course my friend and dirty Fila were saying that they were hideous and that the store should be paying me to get them out of the place. They hated them. I bought them anyway. They could not believe it.

My friend said that I was not allowed to wear them around her, as I would look quite crazy in them. That was fine. I knew I would be wearing them when I got home for many years to come. Aren't they pretty? Pink sparkles? How can any girl pass them up? These are my new boots. Now don't hate...congratulate!

I have the light brown pair and they were a steal, on sale for only $132.00. Boooo-nanza!

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~



I am always a little surprised when I see children wearing shoes at home, whether on television or in person. It surprises me because when I was a child, my parents expected me to remove my shoes at the door. When I visited my friends' homes, their parents often expected me to take my shoes off. So it always seems a little strange when I see children keeping their shoes on at home.

The practise of removing shoes was expected until I reached the age of about 12. My parents became less stringent about it as I got older. Occasionally this house rule would be revived in later years. It was restored when I was 21 when my parents and I moved to a house with cream carpets, though they were not consistent in keeping to it.

There are some homes, in the UK, where the hosts will expect the children of guests to remove their shoes, but would not expect it of adult guests. Some guests will insist that their children remove their shoes without removing their own. I can understand why some people may be more concerned about children's shoes; children do tend to be less careful about what they step in and are more likely to run around in long and wet grass. However, adults should never forget that their own shoes pick up an awful lot of less noticeable dirt. There is also the fact that children learn to follow rules better when adults act consistently. There is a certain amount of 'do as I say, not do as I do' in the requirement of shoes-off for children only.

Some childcare experts are of the opinion that children should wear shoes to the minimum necessary and therefore recommend shoes-off indoors for health reasons.

Dance Pointe Shoes - Setting Realistic Goals

Get your copy of highly effective yet simple exercises for training in dance pointe shoes. Even before you explore getting exactly the right fit, or the brand of pointe shoes you will look for in the ballet store, choosing your daily routines carefully will give you an edge in the competition of the ballet field.

Here are some areas to focus on and analyze for yourself. I hope the male ballet students read this too, because any pre-pointe exercise (and everything is pre-something) that is chosen because a student understands the anatomy, the function, and the aesthetic of a ballet exercise, will also help a male ballet student understand the ways to both stretch and strengthen his feet.

Do you have tight joints/ligaments/muscles in the ankle or foot area or are you hypermobile?
(hypermobile is what every dance student wishes to be. However, there are problems in the highly arched foot, just as there are problems in the foot that doesn't curve over the top of the instep.

Also, the audience is not aware of the aesthetics that dancers and choreographers are obsessed with. I once took a neighbor of mine to see Swan Lake. The ballerina was a very popular dancer who had highly arched feet. My neighbor is a trained artist, familiar with human anatomy. Sometime during the ballet, she leaned over to me and whispered "what's wrong with her feet?" Later she confessed that it made her feel nauseous to see the ballerina's feet pointe like "they are broken".

Quite a new experience for me to hear THAT.

If you need more flexibility in the ankles and foot, did you know that stretching from the knee down can help with that? Using a soft rubber ball, knead the muscles of the tibia (shin) by kneeling and sitting on your feet, and placing the ball under the tibial muscles below the knee. Press into it gently,moving the ball down the shin to the ankles, and you will get some relaxation in those muscles. You may feel some very tender spots where tension has built in the muscles.

And next (I learned this from Deborah Vogel) place the ball under your metatarsal area, above the joints, and lean into it GENTLY, and you'll feel a fabulous stretch over your instep area, right where you would like it to curve more.

Do you know how to strengthen your feet?

Did you know that cramping in your feet, lower calves and even upper calves, usually means that your tiny foot muscles are weak? If they cannot do the job, your calf muscles that end down in your foot area, will have to do the extra work.

This results in calf tension which will shorten your demi plie, lessen your ankle flexibility, and prevent the development of the arch you want.

The foot muscles are strengthened by lifting the big toe off the floor while relaxing the other four, then lifting the four toes off the floor while relaxing the big toe. This increases strength and also enhances the brain/foot communication a lot.

Another exercise is like playing the piano with your toes, starting with the big toe, and then starting with the little toe.

Choosing and consistently practicing exercises for your daily routines will help you achieve realistic goals in dance pointe shoes.

Public Health Seattle & King County: Soil Safety (PDF file)

Public Health Seattle & King County: Soil Safety (PDF file)

Recommends removing shoes at the door. Has a sign for you to print out and hang up.

Smelly Feet


The issue of 'smelly feet' is often raised as an argument against the Shoes-Off rule.

In Western society there seems to be a lot of paranoia about the phenomena of 'smelly feet'. I think this is simply a result of people not removing their shoes very often. Your feet will actually smell a lot less if you remove your shoes regularly. It is unfortunate that we in Britain have not yet reached the civilised heights of Finland, where it is acceptable to remove shoes in business meetings and on trains (not that people do not do so in Britain, but it is frowned upon somewhat).

Nevertheless, I think most people worry too much about this issue. People imagine their feet smell far more than they actually do. I have met very few people who let off much of an aroma after removing their shoes, and most of them were people who did not wash and change their socks regularly.

If people know in advance that they need to remove their shoes, they can make sure they wear clean socks, or even better, bring slippers with them. If they are especially worried about it, they can use some of those fancy foot deoderents.

Feet wil smell a lot less if people wear sandals. Sneakers are best avoided in favour of leather shoes.

Some people will say 'I would rather put up with a dirty floor than people's smelly feet.' Well, I guess people decide on their own priorities. However, stinking feet will leave with the guests. A dirty floor will not. Nor will the dust they brought in on their shoes, and that is very bad for your health.