When you arrive in Hawaii, one of the first things you’ll notice is that many people are barefoot. This is because it is a common custom to remove your shoes before entering homes and businesses in Hawaii.
There are a few reasons for this custom.
- Cleanliness: Shoes can track dirt and debris into homes, so removing them helps to keep floors clean.
- Respect: In Hawaiian culture, the home is considered to be a sacred space. Removing your shoes shows respect for the home and its occupants.
- Relaxation: Hawaii is a laid-back place, and going barefoot is a way to relax and enjoy the warm weather.
Of course, you are not required to remove your shoes if you do not want to. However, it is a good idea to respect the local custom and take your shoes off if you are asked to.
Neat rows of slippers and shoes outside of the front door or a rack lined with them can be telling signs for any newcomer unfamiliar with the custom. And if that’s not enough, a pretty ceramic sign hanging eye-level (which have become popular items sold at local craft fairs) spell it out: “Please remove your shoes. Mahalo!”
For locals, it’s become as natural as pointing and laughing at those who forget to take off their footwear. It shows respect to the host by keeping their home clean and not tracking germs inside. We often consider our floor a comfy place to sit or lie down, and if there’s a baby crawling around, this rule gets heavily enforced. Funny and probably only in Hawaii, but even the repair man knows to take off his shoes!
The custom came from the Japanese during the plantation days, when immigrants brought customs to Hawaii from their home country – no matter how weird people perceived them to be. The tradition caught on and today, slippers and shoes outside of a front door not only serve as respectful reminders but as a telling sign as to whether the party’s rocking or not. More pairs means more fun to be had! Any Hawaii get-together may have rows upon rows of footwear, each guest quickly kicking them off to join in on the action.
Here are some additional tips for removing your shoes in Hawaii:
- Look for a designated shoe removal area. Many homes and businesses will have a mat or sign indicating where to remove your shoes.
- Remove your shoes carefully. Don’t just throw them off; take your time and remove them neatly.
- Store your shoes in a designated area. This will help to keep them clean and prevent them from getting lost.
- Put your shoes back on before you leave. This will help to keep the floors clean.
Additional benefits of going barefoot in Hawaii:
- Improved circulation: Going barefoot can help to improve circulation in your feet and legs.
- Reduced stress: Studies have shown that going barefoot can help to reduce stress levels.
- Increased sensory awareness: Going barefoot can help you to become more aware of your surroundings.
- Stronger feet: Going barefoot can help to strengthen the muscles in your feet.
So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, consider going barefoot more often. And if you’re ever in Hawaii, be sure to kick off your shoes and enjoy the sand between your toes!
Removing your shoes in Hawaii is a simple way to show respect for the local culture and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the islands. So next time you’re in Hawaii, kick off your shoes and relax!
Just be sure to follow the number one rule of the slipper rule: go home in the same pair you came in!