Is It Rude To Take Off Your Shoes In Public? Why You Should Never Do This

It is time that we discuss the disgusting truth. If you are looking for the answer to this question, we are going to let you know up front that the answer is an absolute and overwhelming yes in our opinion.

Now, in some places this might be normal, but when we think about public we’re thinking about transit systems, office spaces, and restaurants.

So, yes, it is absolutely rude to take your shoes off in public, and we are going to give you an extensive list of reasons why you should never do this.

People will judge you, and you will without question end up as a Twitter post or Instagram story. Just do not ever do it. Or else.

The smell

The first thing to consider here is without question the smell factor. Now, you might think that your feet don’t smell.

That’s completely fine, just as long as you know that you are wrong. It is that simple.

You are human being alive who has been walking in previously worn shoes, and the absolute truth is that your feet smell.

In fact, your feet probably smell pretty freaking bad by most people’s standards. 

This is not us criticizing your hygiene. However, if you are feeling personally attacked by that, you might also want to step up your cleanliness game.

Some people think that they can get away with certain hygiene related things, but your shoes will sell you out.

Even if you’re a completely clean person, your feet will have an odor when walking, and while it might not mean much to you, you can bet your life that the general public will disagree. A lot.

Related: Best Fabrics For Socks For Everyday Activities

The sight

No one wants to see your feet. It is a universal truth that the only kind of people who want to see your feet outside of your shoes are possibly not the kind of people you would want to show them to.

The general public does not have any interest in seeing your stinky feet.

This not only applies to your dry and gnarled feet that are in desperate need of a pedicure, but the general feet aspect as a whole.

No one wants to see the tragic hole in your sock. No one wants to see your lent ball covered socks.

No one wants to recognize the fact that you once put bleach in with a color load.

shoes taken off

And more importantly, no one wants to see you doing the weird thing that people do when they pull their foot out and make weird motions with their toes to stretch it out.

We all do it, but we all agree not to do it in public. Do not make us watch your toe aerobics in a public space ever.

The sweat

The only thing worse than seeing someone’s foot outside of their shoe is seeing them pull out a slightly damp sock.

First of all, the sweat factor makes the already potent stink factor even more extreme. It smells awful.

Worse, it smells moist, and under no circumstances should your toe moisture be filling another person’s air space.

Second, people think that they don’t sweat that much because their socks take the load. As a fun fact, feet actually sweat a lot. Like, horrifying amounts. That is why we all wear cotton socks.

You have no idea how much sweat is soaking into your socks and your shoes any time you take a scenic little stroll around the city.

It is notable, and while you may overlook it, the people around you will not. Something about a sweaty foot just permeates into the air, and once you let it loose, there is literally no escaping.

If you do this in a confined space, you run the very real risk of possibly being murdered on principle.

The awkwardness of being overly comfortable

In general, there are few things more uncomfortable that people do than get too comfortable in a public space.

We all know the guy who sits down on the train and spreads out with his legs on each side of him, dangerously encroaching on the space of those around them.

It’s the same issue that we have when someone trims their nails at their desk. In public spaces, some demonstrations of comfort are merely too awkward for all of us to endure.

It’s one thing to make yourself at home, but it’s an entirely different thing to make a public space your home.

We all agree that in public spaces, we will not do certain things because they should be reserved for a different setting. Taking off your shoes in public is just one of those things. 

man on bus

Of course, this is not a standard across the board.

If you are walking and realize that you have a rock in your shoe, no one is going to have a fit when you pull it off really quickly just to get the sharp thing out.

The issue lies in someone taking off their shoes for the sake of their own comfort. It is just a weird thing to do, and the public believes in the “no shoes, no service” way of thinking.

Getting cozy is something that you should do at home, not at your local doctor’s office because your tootsies are steaming. 


The bottom line is that it’s honestly just an act of consideration that we all keep our shoes on. Something about feet is just inherently kind of gross, be it the sweat, smell, or potential infections.

If you ever feel like you have a reason to take your shoe off in public, be quick about it and do us all the service of offering up a quick apologetic smile so we know to excuse your weird and gross decision.

While it is likely that you could take your shoes off on the train everyday and never have anyone say anything to your face, the reality is that it is just plain rude and gross.

None of us want to deal with your foot odor, and the last thing that we want is for this to become some kind of trend.

Yes, it is rude. No, you should not do it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.