Even today, most Indians take off their shoes or slippers before entering their home. It is customary to remove our shoes before going to someone’s house or even our own house. We all have been trained from our childhood to follow this practice.
Moreover, there is a tradition of taking off shoes while entering religious places like Temples and Churches. As India is a country of religious beliefs, many believe it to be related to religion.
We regard feet as being unclean. So, it is preferred to remove the shoes as we enter into the presence of the divine of our homes or any religious places. Moreover, we cannot touch our books with our feet, even by mistake. It is considered an insult or sacrilegious to touch books with one’s feet.
We Indians think our home as a temple. Like we keep our Temples clean, we should also keep our homes clean. Shoes and slippers carry dirt from outside. Hence it is advised to take off the shoes before entering a house.
It is also an expression of respect and humbleness. Guests might think you are rude if you do not remove your shoes while going to someone’s house. Our home is like a Temple. And, there was a time when leather was against Hindu provision of ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence.
Though many of us eat meat today, people won’t disrespect a place of worship by wearing something made of leather.
While we might take it as a gesture of respect or belief, scientists believe that it is a hygienic practice. Shoes are covered in more bacteria than a toilet seat. There is a fear of spreading the bacteria around our homes if we do not take them off before entering our houses.
So, it is better to take off our shoes and follow our ancient traditions as taught by our parents.