A Russian Custom to Take off Your Shoes at Home


Mend your socks if you are invited to visit a Russian home! On peculiarities of visiting private homes in Russia.

If you are invited to visit someone’s home in Russia, it is a very encouraging sign foryour relationship. But you must be prepared to take off your shoes when you enter a house.

Of course, this is required not in every home and every family, but it happens a lot.

Climate, Dirt and Salt

In most parts of Russia, a season when it’s warm and dry doesn’t last very long.

Furthermore, a large part of Russia has clay soil or black soil.

In London, you can spend a week wearing clean shoes. And in Moscow, despite the asphalt, which covers every inch of the city, and regular cleanings of the streets, the omnipresent dust (if it’s dry) or dirt (if it’s wet) in a couple of hours will leave a mark on your shoes.

Also, in the winter sidewalks in Russia are often sprinkled with salt, so it isn’tslippery.

It’s Convenient

Imagine that it’s freezing outside, and you are wearing an appropriate pair of warm boots. Are you sure that when entering a warm room, you wouldn’t want to take them off? At a minimum, it is a matter of comfort.

Respect for the Hosts

Many Russian homes have parquet floors, sometimes quite beautiful. It is at least impolite to walk on such a wonderful floor wearing dirty shoes, leaving a trace.


Russian hosts usually offer slippers for their guests when they come to visit. Also, if they have wood flooring, for example, then you can safely stay in your socks even if you don’t have a pair of changing shoes.

And, of course, you can bring a pair of changing shoes according to the occasion, that’s what many Russians do, or just get there bytaxi.


Many Russians wear slippers or flip flops at home. Russians believe that their feet rest in such shoes.

Do They Always Take off Their Shoes?

No, not always. In some homes people wear their shoes. But they will have some process of cleaning them upon entering a house.

See what other guests do, or clarify this matter in advance.

To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev


4 responses to “A Russian Custom to Take off Your Shoes at Home”

  1. Alex says:

    Great article. It’s a good custom to take your shoes off at the door.We are in the Uk and where we live just about everyone takes their shoes off. We were brought up to take shoes off at the door and to put slippers on. Our slippers are kept by the door and we change into them straight away. When visiting we take our slippers.

  2. Dylan says:

    This article was helpful and interesting to read. I have a Bulgarian friend and a Russian friend and I was kinda confused when I went the Bulgarian girl’s house one time and she offered us slippers (I said ‘no thanks’ because I didn’t want to wear her family’s shoes – so now, after reading this article – I feel bad). So, I think this is custom is true for other parts of East Europe as well.

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